Homemade Bagels

Everyone lovesa hot, freshly cooked bagels. The only problem is that usually to get one you need to be up early in the morning. If you do manage to get one right out of the oven count yourself lucky because that is when a bagel at it's peak.  It is crispy and crunchy on the outside, perfectly soft and doughy on the inside.  We wish we could get bagels like this everyday. While we do not plan to get up at 3 am every morning to make batches of bagels, we did want to see how to go about making bagels.  We present to you our attempt at Bagels.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour 
  • 1/4 ounce instant dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons; or 1 envelope active dry) 
  • 2 tbsp sugar  
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water ( 120°–130°F) 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons malt syrup (for the boiling water; alternatively, you can use 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar)
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water (optional, for toppings)

Directions:

  1. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or mixer until well incorporated, about 5 seconds. With processor/mixer running, slowly add the water; process until dough comes together and rides up over the blade, about 30 seconds. Continue processing until dough becomes satiny and elastic, about 30 seconds more.
  2. Transfer dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. After dough has risen but before you divide and shape it, prepare your water bath: Add the malt syrup to 6 quarts of water over high heat and let it come to a boil as you continue with the following steps. Also: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  4. After dough has doubled in bulk, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and press down with your fingers to expel the gases. Divide dough into 10 equal portions.
  5. Ball a portion of dough, then roll it into a "rope" about 7 inches long and about 1 inch thick. 
  6. Wrap the dough around the back of your hand, overlapping the ends in your palm. Place your hand, along with the dough, palm-down on the work surface and roll dough back and forth until ends crimp and seal together. Place dough ring under a span of plastic wrap while you repeat rope-and-loop process with remaining dough portions.
  7. At this point, your malt syrup–water should be boiling. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to carefully add bagels, one at a time, to the water. (Note: no more in the pot than 3 at a time.) Bagels should sink but then rise again after a few seconds. Simmer for 1 minute, flipping bagels at the 30-second mark.
  8. Remove bagels from water with skimmer or slotted spoon to a clean kitchen towel. 
  9. For bagel toppings: Place bagels on wire cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Brush bagel tops with egg-water mixture. Shake on desired toppings. Sesame seed, poppy seed, kosher salt, minced onion, and minced garlic are classic
  10. The baking sheet will collect excess dry toppings (such as sesame or poppy seeds). Simply pour them back into their containers for reuse.
  11. Place bagels on prepared baking sheet. Bake until light brown and shiny, 15 to 20 minutes. Flip, and bake until reverse side is golden-brown and shiny, about 10 minutes more.

This is the dough after it has been allowed to rise (step #2):

Here is the dough after it has been removed form the bowl ready to be rolled out and divided:

Below will help explain how to roll the dough out:

Take the ball and roll it out into a "rope"

Take rope and wrap around your hand, then press down to connect both ends:

Below is the water bath for the bagels:

Results:

As you can see the bagels came out looking like bagels, which is always a good sign. They had good coloring, but could have staying in few more minutes for darker browning.  When we cut into the bagels, they were perfectly cooked all the way through.  They had the same consistency that you would get from any bagel store. Up until this point we thought we had a major victory on our hands.  The problem came when we took our first bite.  Unfortunately this dough had no flavor to it. This recipe is lacking either salt or sugar in the dough, which resulted in a flavorless bagel.  

A bagel should have some flavor even without butter or cream cheese.  We were a bit disappointed with the lack of flavor but everything else was right.  Since the rest of the recipe works, it will only require some tweaking.  Once we topped these guys with some butter and cream cheese all was forgiven.  This recipe provides a nice base for making bagels.  With some extra salt and or sugar in the dough mixture these bagels should come out just right.  

To see how bagels were made in Brooklyn in the 70's check out this video (Thanks Nick, Happy Birthday):