A suggestion had been made to me a while back about making my own bagels. I had thought about it before and it always seemed like there was a lot of work involved in doing it so I never really gave it much thought until recently. I did some looking around for bagel recipes, trying to find one that would not be difficult to make and could be done in my small kitchen without a lot of fuss. After doing some searching, I came upon this recipe from The Sophisticated Gourmet and it seemed basic enough and easy enough that it would be worth my first shot, even if it is 95 degrees outside. Who doesn’t love a nice bagel for breakfast or as a substitute for your bread on a sandwich?
New York-Style Bagels
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (you may need 1/4 cup more, I used a little more than this)
3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
In 1/2 cup of warm water, pour in the yeast and the sugar. Do not stir. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture until it all dissolves in the water.
Mix the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
Pour half of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the warm water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple of tablespoons to 1/4 cup of water. You want your final results to be a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
On a floured countertop, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (you can use a scale for this if you have one and want to be exact; I just eyeballed it to try to get equal portions). Shape each piece into a round. Take a dough ball and press it gently against the countertop or other flat surface you are working on, moving your hand and the ball of dough in a circular motion, pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until you form a perfect dough ball. Repeat the process with the other 7 dough rounds.
Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about 1/3 the diameter of the bagel and place the bagel on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover them with a damp kitchen towel and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or spider skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with at first without overcrowding. Once the bagels are in, they will begin to float to the top within seconds. Let the bagels sit in the water undisturbed for 1 minute, then flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling time to 2 minutes per side if you would prefer a chewier, more New York-style bagel.
Once all the bagels have boiled, transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
I only made plain bagels this time out since it was the first time I was trying them, but you could certainly add a wide variety of toppings to the bagels. Things like sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds, minced onion, minced garlic or anything else can be used. You want to add your toppings after you remove the bagels from the boiling water and apply an egg wash to the bagels before you put the toppings on and then put them in the oven. The work time wasn’t bad even though it involved kneading dough in the summer heat for me, which wasn’t a lot of fun, but it was certainly worth it. I was very happy with the final results and the bagels tasted delicious. All said, I think it was pretty easy to do for a great result and a lot cheaper than buying a bagel from the bagel store or deli.
We used the bagels with dinner last night to make chicken salad sandwiches and they were delicious. I also tried Alton Brown’s coleslaw recipe to go along with dinner last night. There are a few nice ingredients in this one that give some great extra flavor.
Alton Brown’s Coleslaw
1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 ounces plain yogurt
2 ounces mayonnaise
1 tablespoon pickle juice
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
Kosher salt, as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Generously salt the cabbage and drain in a colander for 3 hours. Rinse thoroughly and dry. In a separate bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the cabbage and carrot. Whisk to combine evenly. Toss the cabbage and carrot with the dressing.
Salting the cabbage first helps to pull out a lot of the moisture from the cabbage. You could just as easily use a bag of coleslaw mix if you have one hand and get the same results. I love the added flavor that the yogurt, buttermilk, pickle juice and mustard give to the slaw. It has a nice, tangy flavor and a little bite to it that is very enjoyable.
That’s all there is for today. Check back next time to see some other new recipes I will be trying in the next few days. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!