Homemade Bagels, New York Style
I love a good bagel, and they are getting harder and harder to find, even in New York- and they are almost impossible to find in Seattle. I like it when they have been boiled and then baked so that they have that hard, crusty outside and chewy inside. I also prefer that they not be the size of my head! So when one of my oldest friends Ramey and her family came to breakfast this last weekend I thought I would try my hand at making a great bagel at home. Ramey’s husband is from New York and is constantly lamenting (in chorus with the rest of us) that there is no great Jewish deli here. (If I have missed one- PLEASE let me know!!). I thought that homemade bagels might remind him of home!
(Necessary caffeine before starting this early morning project)
I found a lot of recipes for this, and I had to use my baking common sense and come up with my own hybrid version. It was easier than I expected, and they turned out great. I think that the trick is all in getting the dough to rise enough (just like making doughnuts). There also seem to be a lot of little “secret” ingredient type things, like great bread flour.
Another one is Malt Syrup.
Supposedly this is hard to find, and some people will even have to order it on line. But if you live in Seattle, you are in serious luck. When I showed up at my local grocery store, (Uptown Metropolitan Market) bleary eyed, at 6:30 in the morning on Sunday, I thought I was probably going to have to forgo the malt syrup. But low and behold, they totally had it in stock (God I love that store!!). So, I have no idea, maybe this is something more common in stores that carry other types of specialty products. I found it in the baking section with the alternative natural sweeteners (like agave syrup, etc.).
I served the bagels on this great two tiered galvanized tin serving stand (pictures under “tablescapes” in “inspiration” section.) I piled the bagels fresh from the oven on the bottom tier with a bowl of fluffy cream cheese. The top had beautiful, buttery lox and layers of freshly sliced cucumber, tomato and purple shallots(sometimes the traditional raw red onion is a little much for me in the morning). I also added fresh lemon wedges and you could add capers and chives if desired.
Homemade Bagels, New York Style, makes 12
1 ½ cups warm water (this must be between 105-115 or the yeast will not bloom)
1 packet instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs malt syrup
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
4 Quarts water
¼ cup brown sugar
1 egg white
1 Tbs water
Everything Bagel Topping:
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1 Tbs fennel seeds
1 tsp kosher salt
Toasted sesame seeds or poppy seeds
In a small bowl, combine the warm water and the yeast. Make sure that the bowl you pour the water and yeast into is not cold, because the water must be between 105-115 degrees when the yeast hits it to get the yeast to bloom. Mix the yeast into the water and set it aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, add the bread four, sugar, malt syrup and salt. Mix with a dough hook until just combined.
After the yeast and water has adequate time to rise, (about 10 minutes), add the mixture to the bowl. Mix with the dough hook on medium for about 2 minutes. The dough will actually look kind of shredded at this point.
Keep mixing on high until the dough is smooth. By the way- this is not easy! The dough is really stiff and it will really rock a standing mixer. You need to stay with it or the mixer could easily jump right off the counter (it has happened to me before and left a huge gouge in the floor!) This should take about 8 minutes total from the time you add the yeast and water.
Remove the dough and place it in an oiled bowl, also lightly coating the top of the dough with the oil. Cover the bowl with a dish rag and place the bowl somewhere warm to rise. I let the dough rise an hour.
When the dough is ready, it will be very smooth and fluffy, but it will not have doubled in size, (more like 50%).
(top of the dough)
(bottom of the dough)
Cut the dough into 12 pieces and using your hands, roll them into 8-9 inch ropes.
(My daughter Pia is doing an example of the rope rolling!)
Pull the ropes into a bagel shape, and using a little water press the ends together to make a circle.
Place all of these bagels on a sheet pan covered in a piece of parchment. Let them sit and rest, about another 20-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Meanwhile, prepare a huge pot, and fill with about 3 quarts water, plus ¼ cup brown sugar. Bring the water to a light boil. Also, place a cooling rack inside another sheet pan.
Prepare the egg wash by beating together 1 egg white and 1 Tbs water.
Prepare the Everything Bagel Toppings by combining all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
When the bagels have finished resting and the water has come to a light boil, (not rolling boil) you are ready to begin!
Place 3-4 bagels at a time, (depending how big your pot is) gently into the boiling water. The bagels should be nice and light and float right to the top. Boil the bagels about 30-60 seconds on each side, and then gently flip the bagels.
I used a Chinese spider strainer for this, but you could always use a slotted spoon. Then gently remove the bagels and put them on the cooling rack.
When you have boiled all of the bagels and they are all on the cooling rack you are ready for your egg wash.
Brush each bagel with egg wash, (top and bottom) and sprinkle 6 of them with the everything bagel mixture. You can double the seed mixture if you want all everything, or sprinkle with plain sesame seeds or poppy seeds. We kept 3 completely plain for the baby.
Transfer the bagels to the parchment lined sheet pan and place in the oven. Bake until deep golden brown, 15-20 minutes, rotate the sheet pan at the 10 minute mark. In my convection oven, they took 17 minutes. Every oven is different, so pay close attention to the color that you want.
Serve right away (fresh from the oven or toasted) with cream cheese, or for a full meal, add tomato, shallot or red onion, cucumber and lox! They are best fresh that day, but they will last for a few days in an airtight container- just toast before serving.