In re: Bagels at home

For whatever reason bagels, those delicious, chewy, simple, standard, but  yet hard to get perfect, breakfast item is something that many don’t make at home.  (Don’t know what a bagel is? or want to know more about their history see “A short history of the bagel”).   I think a lot of us think they are a bit more difficult to make than they really are due to boiling as well as occasionally requiring ingredients we don’t have on hand such as “Non-Diastatic Malt Powder“?  Really the strange ingredients aren’t too hard to find and really bagels aren’t that hard.  So I set out to make some great bagels this weekend.  The basics of bagel baking are start by making a starter with yeast, flour and water and let it sit overnight to develop some flavor, use this to make a dough with more flour, water, salt and I added some barley malt syrup as well (a sweetener, you can also use your Non-Diastatic Malt Powder (King Arthur Link)).  Its important to use a high protein bread flour, the higher the better to get that chewy bagel that is the gold standard (I used King Arthur Bread Flour, I plan to make my next batch with this).  The dough should be very stiff and difficult to work with and then let it rise.

Once risen, divide into balls, let rest again, then its time to make the hole, just pinch a hole for your finger and then expand it.  After a brief rest its time to boil for 1-2 minutes on the first 1 on the second side and onto a baking sheet for a trip to the oven for baking.  The water you boil in should be supplemented and depending on who you ask you can put in more barley malt into the water, or others using baking soda to make an alkyd bath.  Both are to develop the bagels exterior which should crisp up and brown.

Amazingly after doing all this, tossing the boiled bagels on a baking sheet with a bit of cornmeal on it, the results look like this:

 

Bagels that I made at home, pretty simple really.

The bagels that I made at home, pretty simple really.

For a simple recipe for bagels, which I didn’t follow exactly, but is a good starting point see this one and for good step by step directions with photos (why I didn’t repeat it) see here.  Now all you need is some cream cheese and your set.

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