When I started this blog my first post was going to be about bagels. A few years later I went to culinary school and lived in New York, and have written about anything but bagels. Now I have moved to the west coast and I am finally going to talk about them…and how much I miss New York. Perhaps it the homesickness but for the past few weeks I have been craving bagels and on the west coast they really are not as good. Is it the water? Maybe…but since I did not use this same recipe in New York and I did not bring water from New York (regretting this) I have no good answer as to why there is a difference.
As far as recipes go, I have tried quite a few and have found so far that my favorite actually comes from The Joy of Cooking. These bagels are chewier and denser–qualities I look for in a bagel. I stuck with plain and sesame for this round but you can easily add any topping of your choice.
Additional tips for bagel making:
- Bagels require a well developed gluten structure. While the recipe will work with all purpose flour, bread flour has a higher protein content and will provide a better product.
- Make sure to employ the ‘window pane’ test with your dough to test the gluten development. Take a small piece of the dough and slowly pull apart. There should be a thin membrane of dough. If dough is easy to pull apart or the membrane has holes, continue to knead a few minutes more. A photo example and more information about the window pane test can be found here.
- Add 2 Tbsp molasses or barley malt syrup to your boiling water for more flavor
Bagels from The Joy of Cooking
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 4 tsp plus 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- 1 ¾ tsp plus ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup plus 3 to 3 ½ cups bread flour
- 4 quarts boiling water
- Combine the water, yeast, and 2 1/2 tsp sugar. Let the yeast dissolve, about 5 minutes.
- Add in butter, 1 3/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, and 1 cup flour and knead for about 10 minutes. Gradually add in 3 cups flour. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each into a rope about 10 inches long. Pinch the ends together into a ring and wet to seal. Let rest for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bring water to boil and add in remaining sugar and salt.
- Boil each ring, about 4 at a time in the water for 45 seconds.
- Sprinkle with choice toppings and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. Bake until golden brown.