Friday, July 26, 2013


I like bagels.  I buy them at the grocery store on every "big" shopping day.  In between, I fill my bagel need by spending the additional $2.99 when I grab my morning "Medium Carmel Mocha Iced Coffee with Cream and Sugar please" at Dunkin Donuts.  Bagels are tasty.  They scream comfort. 

I can totally make bagels that taste as good at home, right?  RIGHT???

Yes.  Yes, I can.  And, I did.  And you can too!

The first thing you will need are muscles.  Make a fist and bring it up to your ear.  Feel your bicep?  Good.  You have the necessary muscles needed to make great homemade bagels.  Time to get down to it....

Homemade Bagels

2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups of warm water (you may need up to a 1/2 cup more, depending on climate)
3 ½ cups of bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
¼ cup cornmeal (for dusting)

In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Stir the yeast and sugar mixture until it all dissolves in the water.

Mix the flour and salt in the bowl of stand up mixer.  Pour in the warm yeast/water. Mix and stir in additional water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup of water. Your dough should be moist and firm after you have mixed it.

From here, you can keep the dough in the mixer with a dough hook and have the machine knead it, but I feel it's better to hand-knead the dough.  Playing with your food makes the end result more rewarding.  On a well floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Work in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.

Large, raw well-kneaded dough ball.

Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel, or piece of plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.

Divide your dough into 8 pieces, using a sharp knife.  (For GIANT bagels, cut into 6 pieces, or smaller bagels, 10 pieces.  I recommend being consistant with the size for more thorough baking.)  Shape each piece into a ball.  Take your dough ball and knead it gently against the countertop by moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion until a perfect little dough ball forms.  Repeat with each piece.

Gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, or a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Repeat with each remaining dough ball.  Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow for a 3rd and final rise, approximately 10 minutes.

Post boil, pre bake.  Like large dumplings!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and start a large stock pot of water to a low boil.  Use a slotted spoon or lower the bagels into the water. Do not overcrowd!  The bagels will float to the top either immediately, or in a couple of seconds.  Let them boil for a minute on each side, for lighter bagels...2 minutes for chewier bagels.  (I went with the 2 minutes!)  Remove from water and place on a baking sheet dusted with 1/4 cup'ish of cornmeal.  If you would like to top your bagels, do it now!  Optional toppings include: caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh/dried garlic, minced fresh/dried onion, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or all of the above. Or none. It's your call.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack, then enjoy! 

Smother those bad boys with sweet cream butter, or tangy cream cheese, or peanut butter, or jam. 

I ate my first homemade bagel, split, toasted and smeared with regular full-fat cream cheese.  And, I loved every second of it.  I also paired it with Banana Bread Muffins, using this recipe.  But seriously, the bagel would've been enough.  At this point, I was so gosh-darn hungry that I went a little overboard.  :-)

If you are afraid of yeast...don't be.  I use the dry active yeast jars located near the flour in the supermarket.  You can also purchase packets.  Something of note...there is about 2 1/4 tsp of yeast in a single packet.  I've googled that about 30 times over the years because I always forget. 

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