Everything Bagels from Scratch
July 14, 2014 § 2 Comments
My friends Sami and Dave are the best kind of friends. Every month or so, they invite us over for homemade bagels. They have been on a quest to perfect their bagels, and each time we are greeted with the result of a new technique or recipe on a weekend morning. This is especially welcome because there is a dearth of good, New York-style bagels in DC and Arlington. (Case in point: there is an article on DCist titled “The Most Adequate Bagels in D.C.”)
Last Saturday, I got to get in on the action. I headed over to their place early to get started, because it takes some time and babysitting of the dough.
Picking a recipe can be a bit overwhelming, and there are lots of different techniques and terms (sponges, hydration, the list goes on). We chose this King Arthur Flour recipe for this test round (King Arthur Flour actually has a baker’s hotline! If a recipe didn’t turn out right, you can call, email, or chat with them to get advice). Sami and Dave had made this recipe before, but had found the dough a bit stringy. We decided to try kneading it by hand instead of using a stand mixer, so we could really control developing the gluten, and therefore the flavor and texture.
I got my morning workout by kneading the dough for fifteen minutes. Then we let it for an hour and a half in a greased bowl.
In the meantime, we took a walk to get the necessary fixins–lox, red onion, tomatoes, and cream cheese. When we returned the dough had risen significantly. In fact, Sami and Dave were pretty sure this was the most successful rise of all their bagel attempts.
While we waited, we did some more bagel research. Turns out our culinary fairy godmother, Deb from Smitten Kitchen, had made bagels twice, based off of Peter Reinhart’s recipe. That led us to to this review and test of Peter Reinhart’s bagels on National Geographic’s The Plate. We know what we’re doing next Saturday!
Next, we mixed up the everything seasoning: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and minced, dried onion.
To form the bagels, we punched holes in the dough balls and stretched the holes. Sami and Dave have found that this works much better than trying to roll out the dough into a snake shape and connecting the ends to make a bagel. Serious Eats covers both methods of shaping bagels here.
After 25 minutes in the oven, we waited 15 excruciating minutes to eat them, because they had to cool.
Finally, finally, it was time to eat. We topped them with tomato, red onion, lox, cream cheese, capers, and extra everything seasoning (this was killer).
And I’m not saying Dr. Brown’s Diet Black Cherry Soda is a requirement, but it certainly sweetens the deal.
These bagels are the real deal. We (by which I mean Sami and I) kept exclaiming, “these are so bagel-y!” The only thing we wanted to tweak for next time was to get a bit more flavor into the dough. We think adding more malt might do the trick.
Everything Bagels from Scratch
From King Arthur Flour
For the Dough:
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 cups (17 oz) unbleached bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder (this gives bagels their shiny crust)
1 1/2 cups (12 oz) water, lukewarm
For the Water Bath:
2 quarts (8 cups) water
2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
For the Seasoning:
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1/2 tablespoon each (or more, depending on how seasoned you like your bagels) of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and minced dried onion
- Combine all the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon to gently combine the ingredients; it will be sticky.
- Dampen your counter with a paper towel, and lay down a piece of parchment paper. Flour the parchment paper, and roll out the dough onto the parchment paper.
- Flour your hands, and knead by hand for 15 minutes. If you get tired enlist the help of a friend. The dough will be fairly tough while kneading, because the bread flour is high in gluten. Power through!
- Spray the bowl with cooking spray, and return the dough ball to the bowl. Allow to rise for an hour and half. The dough will not quite double, but the dough level will definitely increase noticeably. Do excessive research on making homemade bagels while you wait.
- Turn the dough back out onto the parchment paper, and divide into 8 pieces. Using your hands, shape the 8 pieces into balls, place on parchment paper, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for another 30 minutes. The dough balls will continue to rise.
- While the dough is rising, make the water bath. Bring the water, sugar, and malt powder to a gentle boil in a wide pan (deep enough that you can boil the water and wide enough that you can fit four bagels at a time across the top).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- When the 30 minutes of resting has passed, form the bagels. Using your index finger, poke a hole in the bagel, and then use your hands to stretch the bagel so the hole is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place each bagel on the parchment lined baking sheet.
- Put four of the bagels into the water bath, and increase the heat so the water is gently boiling. After 2 minutes, flip the bagels, and boil for an additional minute.
- Scoop the bagels out using a slotted spatula or strainer, and return to the baking sheet.
- Repeat the process with the last four bagels.
- Make an egg wash by whisking the egg white and a tablespoon of water vigorously, until you see froth on the top.
- Glaze the tops of the bagels with the egg wash.
- Combine the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and minced dried onion in a shallow bowl or on a plate, and sprinkle across the tops of the bagels. You can also use your hands to press some of the seasoning onto the sides of the bagels.
- Bake the bagels for 15 minutes.
- Remove the bagels from the oven and flip each bagel over. Brush the (unseasoned) top with the egg wash and season, so the entire bagel is covered in everything seasoning.
- Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. The bagels should have a nice brown color to them. If not, bake a few additional minutes.
- Allow the bagels to cool on a wire cooling rack for 15 excruciating minutes.
- Top with your favorite fixins (lox, cream cheese, red onion, tomatoes, capers, and extra sprinkles of everything seasoning come highly recommended), and serve with a Dr. Brown’s soda.