Bagels are so great. There's just something about them that I love, and have been missing for the past few years, since they don't sell them where I live. When I saw this recipe on Sophisticated Gourmet, I knew the only option was for me to make them. I've never made any type of bread, and it was the first time I made anything using yeast, so it was all a new experience for me.
The bagels turned out delicious! I love bagels with cream cheese and salmon, like you can find in the pictures below, but actually... They're great with almost anything!
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 313ml (1 1/4 cups) of warm water (it's possible that you might need more)
- 450g (3 1/2 cups) of bread flour or high gluten flour (more will be needed for kneading)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 egg (if adding toppings)
- Sesame seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Caraway seeds
- Coarse salt
- Minced fresh garlic
- Minced fresh onion
1. Take a small bowl and pour in 125ml (1/2 cup) of warm water. Pour in the sugar and yeast, but do not stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes, and then stir in the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
3. Pour about half of the remaining water (around 95ml) on top of the mixture, inside the well. Mix well, and stir in more water if needed. You want to result in a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough. (I had never kneaded dough in my life, so I needed some external help for this. This YouTube link was very helpful in explaining how to knead dough).
5. Lightly brush a bowl with oil and place the dough inside. Turn it around in the bowl, in order to coat it.
6. Cover the dough with a damp dish towel. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Then, punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
7. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (you can use a scale if you'd like to be extra precise, but I didn't).
8. Take each dough ball and press it gently against the countertop, moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion, pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms.
9. Coat a finger in flour and gently press your finger into the centre of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about 1/3 of the diameter of the bagel, and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough balls.
10. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220ºC (425ºF).
11. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Then, reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling at once. Once the bagels are in, they should float to the top in a couple of seconds. Let them sit there for 1 minute, and then flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you'd prefer a chewier bagel. (I did it for 1 minute and 30 seconds, just to have mine somewhere in between).
12. If you want to top your bagels, this must be done when they are taken out of the water. Pat each bagel down slightly with a kitchen towel, to remove the excess water. Beat an egg in a bowl, to create an egg wash, so the toppings stay in place. Using an egg wash brush, slightly coat the top of each bagel with the egg wash, then sprinkle the desired topping on top. (I used caraway seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds)
13. Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings, if using), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
14. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. I took mine out of the oven at 15 minutes, just to check. I realised they needed the full time, so I put them back in the oven for another 5 minutes. (I was afraid of burning them, but they're supposed to be brownish on the top).
15. Cool on a wire rack, then serve when cooled.
I suggest serving them with cream cheese (so good!!!). On top, you can add salmon, a squeeze of lemon juice and salt & pepper.
I'm so glad that I decided to try making these, because they turned out great. The recipe wasn't too complicated, and the outcome was just completely worth it. I have never made anything to do with bread, so this was a really big learning experience for me. My parents absolutely loved them... They've missed bagels almost as much as I have, so it was great. They said that I definitely have to make these again sometime, and I definitely will!