This past Sunday was my youngest daughter's birthday and she requested bagels and salmon for her birthday breakfast treat-- good choice. Since I have already shared my seasonal spiced pumpkin bagel recipe, it's time to share the plain version. Don't let the moniker fool you; these are anything but plain in taste and texture.
If you are a regular reader, you may know that I enjoy baking my own bread, like white bread, pita, and country bread. There are several reasons why I put in the time and effort required. One taste and it is hard to go back to the store-bought. Besides the obvious better taste and texture, homemade bread has far fewer ingredients and--- I can pronounce them all:)
Many people are intimidated by making bread (or in this case, bagels) from scratch, but really all it takes is a little practice and getting to know the unbaked feel and look of the dough. Unlike some bagel recipes that require a sponge, a "float test", and overnight refrigeration (I can see why such a recipe would be intimidating), this one is hands down easy peasy for homemade bagels in under 2 hours-- really. I have included a few step-by-steps to help you along visually.
Once the dough has been kneaded and allowed to rise, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently de-gas the dough and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough equally into 8 pieces (about 3 1/4-ounces each). Roll each piece into a ball.
Using a floured finger, poke a hole through each ball and gently stretch the opening about 1/3 of the bagel's diameter.
Place the shaped bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or in this case, a silpat; cover and let them rise for another 10 minutes.
Poach the bagels in a large pot of water for 1 minute on each side.
Remove the bagels from the water; drain and return to the baking sheet. Optional toppings, like poppy seeds and sesame seeds are added at this time. Bake in a 425º F oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
We enjoy them plain, with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, and some with both. They have a perfect light texture and a good pull. The only hard part about these bagels is trying to decide what you are going to top or sandwich them with. Will it be cream cheese, butter-n-jam, peanut butter, Nutella (oh yeah), cheese, eggs, salmon...?!
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Poppy seeds (optional)
Sesame seeds (optional)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the water. Continue to mix until the dough comes together in a mass, about 4-6 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and knead for another 8-10 minutes until soft and smooth. Put the dough in a bowl sprayed lightly with non-stick baking spray. Cover with a towel or lightly oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Gently de-gas the dough and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425º F and bring a large pot of water to a boil; then reduce to a simmer.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Press each piece down to get rid of air bubbles. Form into balls and roll the balls between your palm and the work surface, rotating to form a smooth ball. Coat a finger in flour and press it through each ball to form a ring. Twirl the ring around the index of one hand and the thumb of the other, stretching the dough and widening the hole to about 1/3 of the bagel’s diameter. Place the bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat and cover with a towel. Let rest for another 10 minutes.
Gently lower the bagels into the water in batches, 2-3 bagels at a time. Boil uncovered for about 1 minute. Turn them over once and boil for another minute. Using a perforated skimmer, remove the bagels from the pot, letting the water drain; return to the baking sheet. (Optional: sprinkle the top of the bagel with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or both). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Bread by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno