Hi, all! I’ve been away for a bit. With family here for Thanksgiving and dealing with a few other things that have arisen during this holiday season, I have neglected the blog. Shame on me. But, I’m back, and I bring my first bagel making experience to share.
So, in our household, we do a “12 Days Til Christmas” countdown that includes small gifts. On the 12th day til Christmas, you give 12 gifts, on the 11th, you give 11, and so on until the day of Christmas. We try to gift small thoughtful (read: inexpensive) things during this time because it’s really just about showing some extra love during the holiday season, a time that can often be stressful and seem to just fly by. My husband and I both love bagels. In each new city that we live in, I have hunted down bagel places for us to try. We have luckily found the most authentic Jewish deli and bagel shop in Greenville, SC, and this makes me oh-so-happy. But, I thought as part of this year’s 12 days, I would try my hand at making bagels for the husband. His favorite bagel= the Everything Bagel. I read several other sources on making bagels, but I ended up using a recipe from allrecipes.com. It’s really my go-to resource for many things. I may end up modifying recipes or blending a recipe from allrecipes and somewhere else, but it’s a great resource to make use of. Just as an fyi, the reviews on the site are often very helpful! I made biscotti the other day, and several reviewers recommended halving the baking soda, and I’m sure glad I did, as they would have been too crumbly otherwise.
The recipe from allrecipes.com is called “Bagels II” (creative, I know). I think this will be a great go-to recipe moving forward! The bagels are dense and chewy on the inside while maintaining a nice crisp outside. They took some time, but they were quite easy to make. And the husband raved about them, so that was fun!
2 cups warm water
¾ tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
7 cups bread flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp white sugar (I replaced this with honey per recommendation I saw elsewhere. Honey helps in color development on outside of bagel.)
1 tsp baking soda
dried onion flakes
garlic flakes (I used garlic powder because I didn’t have flakes on hand)
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve. Add the sugar, oil, 6 cups of flour, and salt. Mix thoroughly, turn out onto floured board, and knead, adding remaining cup of flour as needed.
This is the tough part—you need to knead for 12-15 minutes. I was legit sweating by the end of it, but I could tell that the dough was ready, and that’s always a really happy feeling! Work out any frustrations you might have on that dough ;).
Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, and turn it to coat. This prevents the dough from becoming tough in places. Cover with a towel and let rise for about an hour.
Punch the dough down (I wasn’t able to punch it down by much, fyi). Cut the dough into thirds and cut the thirds into fourths (should have 12 equal pieces at this point).
Roll the pieces into balls, and pierce the center with your finger. If you are looking at the recipe on allrecipes, I deviated at this point. That recipe tells you to roll out the dough and form the bagels that way, but the way I did it is much easier. After you pierce the center, you simply shape into bagel form. Place them onto two non-stick pans, cover with towels, and let proof for 30 minutes.
While the bagels are proofing, fill a dutch oven or a large saucepan 2/3 full with water. Add in the honey and let boil. Once it boils, add in the teaspoon of baking soda. I saw this recommendation elsewhere, and I’m not entirely sure what it does, but I will keep doing it since the bagels came out well. Preheat the oven to 500 at this time.
Now we come to the part of the recipe that gave me the most anxiety… the boiling of the bagels. It was really quite easy! You can do it! I boiled four bagels at a time, but you should decide how many you can fit depending on the size of the pot you are using. I dropped them in with a skimmer, and I let them boil on one side for 1 minute before flipping and boiling the other side for 1 more minute. Drain for a second before placing them down on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. I sprinkled cornmeal onto my parchment paper in an effort to make these seem like proper deli bagels. While they are still wet from coming out of the boiling water, sprinkle as much topping mixture on each bagel as you like. My husband likes a lot of this mix, so I didn’t use anything sparingly. Repeat this process until all of your bagels are boiled. I forgot pics here, sorry!
Place the two sheets of bagels into the oven in the middle rack. I altered the instructions for baking a bit. I baked for 5 minutes on 500, and then I turned down to 450 and baked for an additional 15 minutes, turning the sheets about halfway through to ensure even browning. I would suggest baking at a similarly high temp. Our oven tends to run high, and I didn’t want to scorch the topping. Hence, the lowered temp.
The bagels weren’t formed perfectly, but they were pretty darn good. I gave this as the 11th day, so I could taste the twelfth bagel, haha. The husband said they tasted as good as our favorite bagels back home in Houston, and I actually kind of agree! They were so easy to make, and we already had everything on hand to make them, that I think these bagels might become a regular baking occurrence in our household. Happy baking and happy holidays, all!