Food cravings can come at inopportune times...such as Rebecca's craving for fresh-from-the-oven bagels while living 1,500 miles from a New York deli in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Homemade bagels are a rewarding DIY project with easy to find ingredients that will yield bagels more delicious and toothsome than you can buy at your local deli (assuming you have one). A great Saturday project to keep you cozy in the winter months (or even toastier in the tropics), invite your friends over for a homemade bagel brunch with a smorgasbord of creamy toppings. This recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour.
Yield: 12 bagels
- 2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons dry yeast
- 6 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 quarts water
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- In a small bowl, whisk together yeast and water. Allow to stand while gathering your dry ingredients. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine all bagel ingredients (yeast-water, flour, sugar, and salt). If using a stand mixer, start on low speed for 2-3 minutes to fully combine the ingredients, before switching to medium-low for an additional 8-10 minutes to fully knead the dough. If mixing by hand, thoroughly mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon before transferring to a lightly floured surface to knead by hand. Hand kneading will take a little longer (about 15 minutes). Check out this link for a quick video tutorial on hand kneading. With either kneading method, you are looking for a very stiff springy dough to develop (unlike a traditional bread dough), with a somewhat satiny sheen.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours. The dough will rise significantly, but given its stiffness may not achieve a full doubling (this is fine).
- On a lightly oiled work surface, dump out the dough and divide into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball. Cover the dough balls loosely, and allow to rest for 30 - 45 minutes. They will rise again significantly during this time.
- Near the end of the second rise, preheat your oven to 425 and bring the water bath (water and sugar) to simmer in a wide shallow pan.
- To make a hole in the center of each bagel, gently press your two index fingers from either side of the ball, through the center until your finger touch in the middle. Slide your index fingers past each other and slowly spread them apart as your rotate your index fingers. You are looking to create a hole roughly 1 1/2 inches wide in the center of each ball, without tearing or deflating the dough. This process can take practice...so don't worry if your first ones look a bit ragged.
- Gently set the bagels into the simmering water bath. Depending on the size of your pot, you can probably do 3-4 at a time. You'll simmer the bagels on the first side for 2 minutes, flip gently with a slotted spoon, and simmer on the second side for 1 minute more.
- When finished cooking in the water bath, transfer the bagels to baking sheets (you'll likely need two). For best results prepare the baking sheets with silicon baking mats, parchment paper, or a light coating of oil.
- When all the bagels are out of the water bath, bake the bagels for 20 minutes, or until they have achieved a rich golden brown coloring. If you want to add a topping (sesame seeds, everything mix, etc.) create a simple egg wash (1 tablespoon water whisked with 1 egg white), brush the bagels, sprinkle on the topping, and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes more.
- Remove bagels from the baking sheets and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before eating.