BAGELS!

10:00:00 AM

I've always wanted to try to make these small, circular, non-doughnut bread treats but have always feared their complexity.

Man was I ever WRONG.

Of course, I prefer my bagel to be soft and fluffy on the inside and chewy on the outside - like an Einsten's Asiago Bagel... so that really is the texture I'm going for here.

Before you start, know this - you cannot mix these by hand.  I'm not sure how they did it in the beginning, you know, before KA and Bosch, but I am pretty sure I would not have wanted to get into a fight with a bagel maker back in the day.  Kneading the dough definitely takes a piece of really good machinery, or an army of good looking muscle champs.  Since I didn't have the latter available to me, I went ahead and just put good old Speedy, my Kitchen Aid to work.

Ingredients:
3 cups Allpurpose flour
1 cup of vital wheat gluten.
2 teaspoons of salt
3 teaspoons of yeast
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water

In one cup of lukewarm water, grow the 3 teaspoons of yeast.  Set aside while gathering/combining the other ingredients.

Put the flour (and gluten) and salt into the bowl of your mixer and fit the blade with a dough hook.  Turn the mixer on the SLOWEST SPEED possible, and combine the ingredients (about 30 seconds). 

Add the yeast and one cup of water.  Keep the mixer on the lowest speed until the dough forms and is all one one rough ball.  You may need to add a little more water, but do it one tablespoon at the time. You want the dough to clear the sides of the bowl, and form a consistency much like playdough - the store bought kind.

Once all the dough incorporates, turn the mixer on to SLOW.  (On a Kitchen Aid, this would be one dot above "mix" or 2)

Beat the dough on slow for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Separate the dough into 12 equally sized balls - much like making rolls.  I use two sheet pans lined with silpat and put six on each pan.  Cover with saran wrap and let sit until double in size.  Don't touch.  Walk away...slowly...

Once doubled, return to the balls of dough, and shape each one into about a 10" roll (or snake, whatever makes you happy).  I do this by squeezing them until they form long ropes. Don't pull or roll, just ... squeeze.

Bring the ends of the snake together  around your four fingers to form a ring and then press together...then slide it off of your hand like you would a stretchy bracelet.

Place dough rings back on the silpat (or parchment), cover again with plastic wrap, and in a deep skillet pan boil 2" of water.  Bagels will start to rise at this point - you do NOT want them to over rise.  If they get too fluffy they deflate when you boil them  When they are at about 1 1/2 their size, they are perfect to boil.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Put each bagel in the water one at a time until they puff up a little.  (Boil them for about 30-45 seconds) and remove to a wire rack to drain.  I use a deep skillet, and can do about 3 at a time.  I also do flip them over, although I've been told this isn't totally required.  The longer you boil them, the thicker their "chewy" skin is, and the less they will rise in the oven.

If you want to add toppings - cheese, poppyseed, onion, cheese, cinnamon sugar... - etc - do this right after you remove them from the boiling water, and before you drain them and bake them. It makes the toppings stick a lot better.

Put drained bagels on prepared baking sheet (again, no PAM, just flour or cornmeal or parchment, or our good friend SILPAT, or a baking stone...you get the picture) and bake until crisp and golden brown (about 12-15 minutes.)

Allow to cool enough that you won't burn yourself while eating, and ENJOY!

Variations:

CINNAMON RAISIN -
If you want to make your bagels Cinnamon Raisin... in the mixing stage add 1/4 cup of cinnamon to the flour, and knead in 1 cup of raisins before separating into dough balls. It will take a little more water - so increase potentially by 1/4 cup.

CHEESE -
Top each bagel with 1/8 to 1/4 cup shredded cheese.  We use Parmasean/Romano blend, or Parmesean and cheddar.  I've also topped with a slice of Muenster to hold all the shredded cheese down during baking :)

PRETZEL -
Add 2 tbsp of baking soda to the boiling water and boil the bagels as normal. Coat each with an egg wash of 1 egg and 1 tbsp milk and dust with kosher salt before baking. Bake as usual




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