Monday, January 10, 2011

Homemade Bagels

I was never a fan of bagels until I had a go at making them myself. Homemade bagels are nothing like the stale frisbees that are sold in most supermarkets. They are dense, chewy and utterly delicious, fresh from the oven, or toasted, a few days later. They keep better than most homemade bread, and very rarely make it into the freezer at our house, as they all get eaten before I have a chance!

I use the bread maker to make the dough, and then shape, boil and bake by hand. Despite all the steps, bagels aren't actually that time consuming, and the reward of eating them fresh out of the oven is worth any effort!

This is the recipe for basic, white bagels but they can be made wholemeal or even rye, with a few variations to the basic recipe.

Basic White Bagels
1 1/8 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/3 cups white flour
2 tsp yeast

Combine all ingredients in bread maker and set to dough.
Once dough is made, there are three key steps:
1. Shape your bagels
There are many methods to do this, and probably lots of tutorials on the internet to show you how. I am not fancy, or fussy that mine turn out perfect, so I will share my easy method. First, I cut the dough into 8-12 pieces (depending on how big you want your bagels to be). Then, I roll the dough into a fat patty, making sure at least one side is smooth (the other side goes on the tray so it doesn't matter if it is a bit rough looking). To make the hole, I poke my finger through the middle of the 'good' side, then slowly twist the bagel around, shaping the hole until it is as big as desired and smooth. This creates a bagel with no seam. Cover with a tea towel and rise the shaped bagels until they double in size.

2. Boil your bagels
Bagels get their delicious, dense texture by boiling them before cooking. To do this, bring a large pot of water to the boil, and turn your oven on to preheat to 200 degrees celcious. Once the water is at a rolling boil, gently lower bagels in, a few at a time, with the 'good' side down to the water. Boil for about a minute, then gently flip the bagel over and boil the other side. Gently place the boiled bagels on a greased oven tray and keep going until they are all boiled.

3. Glaze and cook your bagels
Bagels can be glazed with all types of toppings, but I tend to use milk or an egg yolk. I also scatter some sesame, poppy or pumpkin seeds on top before cooking, but they are just as good plain. Bake bagels in your preheated oven until the are golden; around 20-25 minutes.

Everyone has their favourite toppings for bagels; mine is homemade cream cheese - keep an eye out for that easy recipe this week! However, today we had them for breakfast, decadently, with bacon, fried portobello mushrooms, poached eggs and hollandaise. Yummy!

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