Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New York Style Bagels

Ever since I tackled homemade pretzels, I've been toying with the idea of making bagels.  Pretzels turned out to be a breeze, and bagels are basically the same process.  Once again, this is the sort of recipe that makes you look like an expert in the kitchen, when in actuality anyone could do this.  The bagels were absolutely delicious.  Having never eaten an actual New York bagel, I can't tell you if it tastes like a New York bagel, but it tastes pretty damn good.

I used this recipe.  However, my bagles didn't turn out as beautiful as his did.  I think they could have used another five minutes or so in the oven to get that nice golden brown, but I was way to eager to eat one.

New York Style Bagels

2 teaspoons active dry yeast (notice this measurement!  It's not a full packet!)
1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
1 1/4 cups of warm water 
3 1/2 cups of bread flour (sift it, then remeasure it)
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

Add sugar and yeast to 1/2 cup of the water.  Do not mix.  Let sit for five minutes and then mix.  
 Mix flour and salt in a large bowl or into a KitchenAid mixer.  Make a well in the center.  Add sugar and yeast mixture.  Add half of the remaining water and mix.  Mix in the rest of the water as needed.  You may need to add up to 1/4 cup more water.  You want a moist but firm dough.  This is what mine looked like before I kneaded it:
 Knead for 10 minutes.  Try to work in as much flour as possible into the dough as you knead.  Kneading isn't hard, so if you don't have a KitchenAid mixer you can totally do it.  However, start saving your pennies for a KitchenAid cuz they rock.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for an hour until doubled in size.  Then punch down the dough and let rise for another ten minutes.

Break or cut dough into 8 equal pieces.  Now you need to shape them into a perfect ball.  I didn't really do this part how the recipe said to do it.  I cradled the dough in my hands.  Then I pulled the dough down the sides so that the top tightened.  Then I turned the dough and repeated the process (this is how you shape a round loaf of bread).  This made the tops nice and taught, but didn't give me the perfect ball that I wanted.  However, my bagels were still delicious so I don't think I messed up too terribly.

Now you need to make the hole.  Press your finger into the center of the ball.  Then pull the hole out to be about an inch in diameter.  This really doesn't need to be exact.  The hole is more of an aesthetic thing.  
 Place bagels on an oiled baking sheet, cover and let rise for ten minutes.  As you are waiting, go ahead and preheat your oven to 425 degrees and get a big pot of water up to a boil.  Once the ten minutes have passed, reduce the heat on your water and add bagels a few at a time to boil.  Boil for 1 minute on each side or for 2 minutes on each side if you like a chewier bagel (who doesn't?).  Place bagels back on baking sheet.  Cook for 20 (maybe 25?) minutes in the oven.  Let cool.  Or don't.  I didn't.
 Cream cheese and ham on a fresh bagel.  A little bit of heaven on a boring weekday.

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