This week, our assignment is to bake bagels. I’ve done this before, though not from this recipe.
I have used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe a few times, which came from Peter Reinhardt (the bread baker’s apprentice, I think). Like this recipe, it’s also a two day affair, but it uses a sponge, then you make the dough, then rise, then make the bagels and let them chill out in the fridge until the next morning.
This recipe is simpler. There’s no sponge, and it is nice to eliminate a step. I put the dough together before making dinner on Saturday night. It only took a few minutes and I didn’t take any pictures because you’ve all seen me make bread dough before.
I decided that I’d finish the bagels before lunch on Sunday. I divided the dough in half and left one half in the fridge while I produced bagels from the other half. I divided that half into 5 roughly equal pieces, and made a ‘purse’ before making a hole in the middle and then shaping them into bagels:
I placed the unboiled and unrisen bagels on a floured towel
before boiling them off, a few at a time. I let them boil for about 30 seconds on each side once they floated to the surface
Then they rested and drained for a moment on a non-floured towel and then onto the parchment-lined baking sheet they went to be brushed with egg and then topped (or not)
They went into a 500 degree oven with some ice cubes and water to produce steam, the temperature was immediately turned down to 450, and they baked for 25 minutes. Then the oven was turned off and they sat for 5 minutes. And then the oven door was opened and they sat, still in the oven, for another 5 minutes.
And then I began the process again with the second set of bagels that were still to be shaped.
Then I had to re-heat the oven for the 2nd batch. Really, my biggest problem with the recipe is the part where I had to keep the oven door open for 5 minutes. Its still summer here in Florida and that really heated the kitchen up. Clearly, the next time I do this, it will be the dead of winter, when I don’t mind extra heat in the kitchen. But on a 90 degree (or more) day, I really don’t want to be heating my kitchen up like that.
Other than that complaint, its a good recipe. The next time I make them, I’ll add whole wheat flour into the mix.
I sliced the un-eaten bagels and put them in the freezer the same day I baked them. Since then I’ve been taking one half of a bagel out every morning, letting it defrost slightly and then toasting it a little. Then I butter it, cut it in half and put it in Dorothy’s lunch box. I ate half an onion bagel the other morning for breakfast, toasted with cream cheese. It was still delicious.
If you like bagels (and lets face it, who doesn’t?) you should try to make your own at least once, and this is a good recipe to start with. I’ve baked bagels at least 3 times now, and my kids and husband get a huge kick out of it. You can find the recipe on page 87 of Baking With Julia, and check out our host for the week, Heather, who blogs at Heather’s Bytes. She’ll have the recipe posted as well. There will be lots of delicious bagely posts at our home base, Tuesday’s with Dorie.