I remember the first time I tried to make bagels…I was a senior in college and lived in a house that we kept very cold. At the time I knew nothing about the relationship between warmth, yeast and rising time. So, I made some very tasty bagel crackers.
I have avoided attempting bagels ever since.
Until now. I happened to come across several intriguing bagel recipes over the past few months. Combined with my increased comfort in baking breads, I decided to give it a go. And I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
They looked like bagels! Even up close.
But even better… When cut open they had bagel texture. Perfect for some cream cheese.
This is not a recipe for those avoiding gluten. To the contrary, I used a high-gluten dough, which is part of why the texture came out so “bagelly.”
Montreal Bagels by Marcy Goldman-Posluns in NY Times Cooking
1 ½ cups water, room temperature
2 packages dry quick-rising yeast (or 1 1/2 ounces fresh yeast)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1 whole egg (from Farmer Kim)
1 egg yolk (from Farmer Kim)
¼ cup oil
½ cup honey (local)
5 cups or more flour (I used high-gluten flour)
3 quarts water for boiling
⅓ cup honey or malt syrup (I used the honey)
Sesame or poppy seeds for sprinkling on top (I used sesame)
Punch it down, and divide into 18 equal portions.
Pour the water into a Dutch oven, along with the remaining 1/3 cup honey or malt syrup, and heat to boiling. Cover, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer while preparing the bagels.
Shape the dough portions into bagels or doughnutlike rings by elongating each portion into an 8- to 10-inch coil that is 3/4 inch thick. Fold the ends over each other, pressing with the palm of one hand and rolling back and forth gently to seal. This locks the ends together and must be done properly or the bagels will open while being boiled. Let the bagels rest 15 minutes on a towel-lined baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring the water back to a boil and remove the lid. Have bowls of poppy seeds and sesame seeds nearby.
When the water is boiling, use a slotted spoon, and add three bagels to the water. As they rise to the surface, turn them over, and let them boil an additional minute before removing them and quickly dipping them in either bowl of the seeds. Continue boiling the bagels in batches of three until all have been boiled and seeded.
Arrange the boiled bagels on a baking sheet.
Bake on the lowest rack of oven until they are medium brown, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Once cooled, the bagels can be placed in a plastic bag, sealed and frozen. Or eaten and enjoyed!
If not using the dough immediately, refrigerate it after it has been kneaded. Bagel making can be resumed up to a day later. Allow the dough to return to room temperature, and continue with punching it down.