First and foremost, I should explain my absence. Basically, study got in the way. Nine till Nine doesnt leave much time for blogging so I took a break, And, well I’m back for now but I don’t see study going any time soon so I won’t make any promises of ‘being back’. However I do have plans for a big change to the blog, a new Gourmet Dough which will start in the new year. So basically, apart from maybe one or two new recipes, all will be quite around here until then. Anyway back to the what’s important, these beautiful bagels.
Bagels are a gorgeous bread that are quite honestly very easy to make. This particular recipe, an adaption of one from Richard Berinet’s bread book called ‘Crust’, is a great recipe and uses just flour, water, salt, a small amount of honey and also a ferment. Don’t let the ferment scare you either, it couldn’t be simpler to make . I simply mix flour, water and yeast together in a bowl and then just leave for a couple of hours to develop flavour.
To make the bread, all of the ingredients, including the ferment, are mixed together in a bowl and then kneaded for about ten minutes or until the dough is as smooth as the one pictured above.
I divide the dough into eleven even sized balls, each ball weighing in and around 100 grams each. It is best to weigh out your dough to make even sized bagels that will bake more evenly, however some people like odd shaped balls. Who am I to judge?
The bagels then need their characteristic hole. Many people, and bakers, make this hole by rolling the dough into a sausage shape and then connecting the two ends together. However Bertinet’s method is quicker, easier and gives a better shaped bagel without a crease where the two ends were joined together. All I do is poke my finger through the centre of the dough and then widen it a small bit and that’s it.
The bagels are then snuggled under a light cloth or sheet of lightly oiled cling film to rise for about 30 minutes in a warm spot.
And next comes the fun part of making bagels, the plunge in boiling water. It might seem strange to boil bread but it is essential for the bagel. The 1 minute boiling is what gives the bagels their characteristic chewy texture. The addition of baking powder gives a great colour and shine to the bagels and I would definitely recommend it, even if it makes for a rather cloudy looking photograph.
After the quick plunge, the bagels get scooped out of the water and then given a layer of either sesame or poppy seeds. The bagels are then given a quick bake in a hot oven no different to any other yeast bread.
For the Ferment
200g Strong white flour
5 g fresh yeast
120 g water
550 g strong white flour
10 g salt
20 g honey
250 g water
poppy seeds and/or sesame seeds for topping (optional)
a little oil
- To make the ferment, mix together all of the ingredients and leave to ferment for at least two hours at room temperature.
- For the bagels, mix together the ferment, flour, salt, honey and water in a large bowl.
- Knead the dough for about ten minutes or until it is smooth and elastic.
- Form the dough into a ball and place back into your lightly floured mixing bowl. Cover with either a baking cloth or clingfilm and rest for 20 minutes.
- Lightly flour your work surface, turn out the dough and divide into around 11 x 100 g pieces.
- Form each piece into a ball, make a hole in the centre and then open the hole up slightly by rotating it around your fingers.
- Lay the bagels onto either lightly oiled baking trays or else an oiled work surface and cover with a cloth. Leave to prove for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add 1 teaspoon baking powder (if using) to every litre of water.
- Plunge the bagels into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then turn over with tongs and cook for another 30 seconds on the other side.
- Drain, dip one side into seeds and then lay seed side up on lightly oiled baking trays.
- Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.