Authentic Bagels

 

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Repeat after me, “Bagels are not hard to make.”

Good.  Now, keep that in mind as you read on.  There are several steps, but they are NOT hard.  You can do this!

Authentic bagels are always boiled before they are baked, which lends their distinctive chewy texture.  Legitimate bagels also make use of a long fermentation process to increase the depth and quality of the final flavor.

There are three steps:

  1. Make the dough
  2. Poach each bagel for 1-2 minutes (you can do several at a time in a large stock pot)
  3. Bake the par-boiled breads until chewy

 

1-DOUGH
makes 12-16 bagels
Recipe adapted from a Peter Reinhart version found here.

2 Tbsp honey (substitute barley malt syrup if you have it)
2 tsp instant yeast
1 Tbsp salt
18 oz lukewarm water
7 cups bread flour

In a BOSCH mixer, or by hand, mix 6 1/2 cups flour, yeast, and salt.  Dissolve honey (or malt syrup) in water and add to the bowl of the mixer.  Mix on low speed 2-3 minutes.

Check dough.  It should be tacky, but not sticky.  Add remaining flour if necessary.

Mix another 3 minutes on low speed.

Let rise 1 hour at room temperature.

Shape into bagels and place onto a sheet pan that has been either greased or lined with a silicone baking mat. I actually love these that have a permanent silicone coating. To shape, form 4 oz balls and use one of two methods:

  • form rolls and poke a hole in the center, widening the hole to desired size
  • roll dough into a snake and using your palm, roll the ends together to form a circle

Spray surface of bagels with oil, cover pans loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.

Alternatively, you can proof entire batch of dough and shape 1 – 1 1/2 hours prior to baking time.

2-POACHING

Remove bagels from fridge 1 hour before you want to bake them. Prepare the poaching liquid:

  • Fill a stock pot with at least 5 inches of water (around 3 quarts).
  • Add 1 Tbsp baking soda, 1 1/2 Tbsp honey (or barley malt syrup) and 1 tsp salt.
  • Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low if bagels are not ready quite yet.
  • Preheat oven to 450° F

To check for readiness:

  • Fill a small bowl with cold water.
  • Drop a bagel into the cold water.
  • If it floats, they are ready.  If not, recheck in 15 minutes.

To poach:

  • Gently add a few bagels to the boiling liquid (don’t overcrowd-they should fit in a single layer).
  • Poach for one minute and then flip with a slotted spoon.
  • Poach second side for an additional 30-60 seconds.
  • Remove to a greased or silicone-lined baking sheet

Now is the time to add toppings such as garlic, cheese, salt, cinnamon & sugar, etc.

3-BAKING

Put trays of bagels into oven and check after 8 minutes.  If they are browning too quickly on the bottom, lower heat to 425° F or add another baking sheet under the pan for insulation.

Rotate pan and bake another 8-10 minutes, or until bagels are golden brown.

Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

30 Day Eat-In Challenge Evaluation

Here are some lessons and ideas I came away with from our challenge to eat strictly from home for the whole month of November:

  • Having a meal plan is imperative if you intend to eat more home-cooked meals. Look over the calendar and make arrangements for each day (I usually just plan dinner as breakfast is oatmeal, smoothie etc. and lunch is leftovers or something quick). If you have a busy night upcoming, plan for a freezer or slow cooker meal.
  • Leftovers are worth their weight in gold. Making several extra portions can save time and hassle during the following days. Who doesn’t want to open the fridge to an already-made lunch or dinner staring back at them?
  • Involving your kids in meal-planning and preparation usually means they will happily consume what is served.  A definite win-win!
  • Grocery-shopping with a menu and list means you really do save a few dollars!

I enjoyed tracking what I ate each day (through my Instagram posts).  I liked the feeling of self-reliance that came from planning and preparing all our meals and I can say with certainty that we will take this challenge again at least once in 2016.  Hopefully you’ll join us!

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