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Bagels

Bagels

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Makes 8.
By Dennis W. Viau; from a recipe I had in college.

You can find bagels almost everywhere. The warehouse store down the street, within walking distance, sells good, fresh bagels. Making them yourself is fun and you can use potato water (see below), something few bakers use when making bagels. This recipe makes 8, but you can multiply the portions for more bagels.

Ingredients:

1½ cups (300ml) potato water, warmed to 105-115°F (41-46°C); warm tap water is okay
2 teaspoons active dry yeast; instant yeast is okay
1½ tablespoons sugar
3½ cups (1 pound plus 1½ ounces/500g) bread flour or all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
Optional
2 tablespoons salt or sugar for the boiling water
Garnish, such as sesame seeds or poppy seeds
1 egg to make an egg wash

Directions:

Warm the potato water to 105-115°F (41-46°C) and sprinkle the yeast on top. Sprinkle the sugar over the yeast and set aside. (This is why you can use either active dry or instant yeast; the yeast gets “proofed” in this step.) After a minute or two a layer of foam will form on the surface if the yeast is alive. (If no foam forms after several minutes, discard the yeast and purchase new yeast.)

Put about half the flour in a large bowl and add the activated yeast. Stir to mix well. Combine the remaining flour and salt. Add the flour, a little at a time, to the wet mixture and combine to form a dough dry enough to knead. Either knead by hand or in a stand mixer for 5 to 6 minutes. The dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl in the mixer. If kneading by hand, it should feel moist but not sticky.

Place the dough in a buttered bowl and cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place 45 minutes to an hour. It should double in bulk. The rising time could be longer if your kitchen is cool.

Bring a large pot of water (several quarts) to a boil.

Press the dough down, deflating it, and cut into 8 pieces roughly similar in size. Shape each piece into a ball by pulling up the edges and pinching together. Turn over and press into a disk. Flour one finger to push through the dough, forming the hole. With your fingers, pull gently around the hole, stretching the dough and enlarging the hole. Let rest 10 minutes.

Heat your oven to 425°F (~220°C).

Supposedly genuine New York bagels are boiled in either salted water or water sweetened with sugar. You can add 2 tablespoons of salt or sugar to the boiling water. Boil the bagels, 2 or 3 at a time, for 1 minute, then turn over and boil an additional minute. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack. To garnish (optional): Mix the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush on the surface of the boiled bagels. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or your preferred garnish.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool thoroughly.