Bagels are worth the effort!
Maybe not perfectly shaped - - but tasty!
The best and most authentic bagels are made in the Kosher bakeries on America’s east coast. These are not the puffy sort found in supermarket bakery sections these days. While we are pretty sure that the traditional Jewish bagel owes part of its character to being baked at or near sea level, Carol has had excellent success with this recipe baked in our kitchen at about 6500 feet elevation in the mountains of New Mexico. The result is crisp and chewy and reminds us of the those we’ve bought in New York Jewish neighborhoods.
She usually makes four dozen at a time because it is quite a lengthy process and a larger batch doesn’t take all that much longer than a small one. This recipe is for about 1 dozen, but you can easily adjust for a larger batch. We have found that they freeze very well. They may be popped in the microwave for about 20 seconds to warm or taken out of the freezer and allowed to thaw overnight for breakfast.
Making them is a two-step process: first they are boiled and then they are baked. Aside from that, they are pretty much like baking any yeast rolls.
3-1/2 cups flour (all purpose or bread flour are both fine to use).
You may add more flour as needed to get the consistency you want.
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons molasses (you may use malt or maple syrup or sugar)
1-1/4 cups of water (more if needed)
Canola oil as needed
Parchment paper (or lightly grease your baking sheet)
First, dump the flour into your mixer bowl with dough hook attached. Then add the yeast, and salt and mix briefly at medium speed. Add the molasses to the water, and pour the water in with mixer running and run for about one half minute. You should now have a slightly sticky and well formed dough ball that is easily handled. If the dough seems too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time and mix for about 20 seconds. If the dough seems too moist, add one or two tablespoons of flour and mix briefly. Run mixer on slow speed until you have a smooth and elastic ball of dough. Or you can mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth and elastic.
Now it’s time to let the dough rise over night (or a minimum of two hours) to double in size. So just place it in a fairly large bowl and cover with plastic wrap and place it in a cool place (refrigerate if it is overly warm). The long rising time enhances the flavor of the bagels.
On a lightly floured surface, punch the dough down and let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut the dough into 8 to 12 equal sized pieces and roll them into balls. Now you are ready to form the pieces into bagel shape, roll out the balls into a 6 to 8 inch rope shape and pull and press into doughnut shapes. Or Flatten the ball into a flat disk. Punch a hole in the center with your thumb, and stretch the dough into a bagel shape. Bagel dough can be hard to stretch, so shape a few and then go back and reshape the first ones you made. The dough will "relax" and be easier to shape. Cover and let rise for half an hour.
Now comes the weird stuff… Bring a large pot of water to a boil, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and lightly grease a cooling rack. Drop the formed bagels into the boiling water two or three at a time. Make sure the water keeps boiling and don't crowd them because they’ll stick together. The bagels will sink and then rise to the top. Boil for a minute, turn them over and boil for another minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on the cooling rack to drain and cool slightly.
If you wish to make them a bit more interesting, you may dip the tops in poppy, sesame and caraway seeds and/or sea or Kosher salt and then go on to the next and final step.
Place on a parchment paper lined or lightly greased baking sheet so the bagels don’t touch. Spray water in the oven to make steam. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Those we don’t plan to eat fresh, we place in a plastic bag and freeze. We don’t know how long they will keep in the freezer because they are much too yummy to keep for long. You can take them out to thaw before you go to bed or pop them in the microwave for about 20 seconds to thaw and heat for breakfast.
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