Hello! I've been on a bit of a bread making kick lately (you will see more of this shortly), and recently tried something for the first time ever - making bagels!
This baking project was really fun actually and a bit quicker than full out loaves of bread, and the end results were impeccable. You really need to try your hand at bagel making yourself!
I got the recipe for these bagels from that $4 bread recipe book I purchased from Chapters not too long ago. However, as I was waiting for the dough to rise and flipping through more recipes to see what I was going to make next, I realized something depressing about my favorite little bread book. First of all, I realized it was laden with spelling errors. I don't know how it was even published with so many! I swear I'm not a spelling/grammar nazi, but these little errors made me seriously question the quality of the recipes within! Secondly I flipped to the "traditional" section of my book to check out the "whole wheat bread" recipe to see if I felt like baking up a loaf of that after my bagels. I read the ingredients first, as I always do, and then scrolled down to the instructions. The first line of instructions said to "Mix the yeast, water, sugar and cottage cheese together". As the cottage cheese art of that line sounded a bit odd to me...I quickly scrolled back up to the ingredients list to see if it was there. Well guess what? It wasn't!
I knew from here on I was going to have to do a lil' improvising with my bagels and play everything by ear...
So here's the recipe I ended up using:
2 teaspoon active drive yeast
1 cup warm milk
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk
2 cups all purpose flour
In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk.
Add the softened butter, salt, sugar and egg yolk to the mixture and stir in well.
Add the flour a bit at a time until you have a nice soft dough that is "kneadable".
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Place your kneaded dough into a greased bowl, turning the dough ball once to grease the top also.
Cover with saran wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size!
When your dough has doubled (this will take an hour or two), punch it down and shape it into 12 balls.
Push your thumb through the center of each dough ball to form a 1-inch hole.
If you are in search of perfect little bagel shapes at this point in the game, think again! I tried so hard to make perfectly shaped balls and "bagels"...it's just not possible! I was kind of disappointed in how my bagels looked at this point, but it gets better after the boiling and baking, I promise!
Place your shaped dough onto a floured surface and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, flatten your bagels down a bit.
Now bring a large stock-pot of water to a rolling boil.
Drop your bagels into the pot (not too many, or they'll stick), and let them boil for about 3 minutes before removing with a slotted spoon.
Place your bagels on a greased baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
Also, preheat your oven now to 350 degrees F!
This is the stage where you can add whatever you like to the top of some or all of your bagels!
I sprinkled half of my bagels with the only bagel-ish topper I could find - poppy seeds!
Bake your bagels at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until nicely golden brown.
You can "knock" on your bagels if they're browned but you aren't sure if they're cooked in the middle.
If your bagels sound slightly hollow, they're done!
They turned out! I was so happy, I struggled past some very, very bad instructions...and was rewarded with fresh, delicious, warm bagels to smother in butter. Mmm.
These bagels did turn out, but I think I want to try a different recipe sometime, just to see what it's like! In the meantime though, these were a wonderful and rewarding batch of my first shot at making bagels. Enjoy!