A busy personal life gets in the way of cooking sometimes, but like a bad drug you eventually get sucked back into the kitchen. This time I am making bagels because of a wonderful breakfast enjoyed last week, a good bagel must be chewy and a very tight crumb making them ideal for filling. There are a multitude of recipes out there, but the common element is a high gluten development and boiling before baking (which is actually a lot easier than it seems) I use vegetable shortening in my recipe to make the crumb a little softer and chewier but it can be omitted at the expense of shelf life and a softer crumb.
- 650g Strong (bakers) flour, don't use plain flour as it doesn't have the necessary proteins for gluten development.
- 360g Water
- 14g Dried Yeast
- 40g Sugar (raw)
- 10g Salt
- 40g Vegetable Shortening
Step 1: Begin by adding the yeast and sugar to the water, make sure the sugar and yeast dissolve and the yeast activates by forming a light foam on the top of the water.
Step 2: Add the salt and vegetable shortening to the flour, and in the mixer quickly combine them together.
Step 3: With the dough hook, but the mixer onto a slow to medium speed and add the yeast/sugar/water and let it mix for at least 10 minutes. It will be a "tight" dough, not as soft as what you may be used to.
Step 4: Once the dough has mixed for at least 10 minutes, let the dough relax for 15 minutes for the gluten to fully develop. Then divide the dough into 12 portions and ball the doughs. Let the balls relax for 5 mins. You should get a final dough weight of 1100g which when you scale at 90-93g you will get exactly 1 dozen.
Step 5: Using your finger or thumb, press the center of the ball through to the bench then carefully while spinning the bagel with your fingers, stretch the bagel out so it is approximately 8-10cm in diameter (5cm hole roughly).
Step 6: Place the rings on grease proof paper and allow them to proof for 1/2 hour.
Step 7: Bring a large pot of water to the boil (approx 7-10L) and add a tablespoon of baking soda. At the same time, turn your oven on to 200C
Step 8: As many bagels as you can fit into the pot safely, boil them 2 mins per side flipping them over with a a skewer. Then place them on paper towel to drain a little, then put them onto baking trays with greaseproof paper and straight into the oven. You can add poppy/sesame/onion flakes or whatever you like to the top of the bagels before putting them in the oven if you would like a little something something extra. Also, using a squeeze bottle of water, a few sprays in the oven when you add the bagels will help crisp up the crust.
Step 9: Bake for 25 mins or until nice and golden.
Enjoy traditionally with cream cheese and shaved smoked salmon, or any other multitude of variations. For something special, if you have a deli slicer (I don't yet) you can slice them thin and deep fry them to make bagel chips, which you then spray with some garlic infused oil and a sprinkle of that dried parmesan cheese after they come out and while draining. However when you don't have anything special, vegemite always works
Pictured in the opening is a lazy dinner that night, ham, egg, cheese on bagel toasted under the griller (broiler).