Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Homemade Bagels

1 1/4 cups warm WATER
1 1/2 tablespoons SUGAR
1 1/2 teaspoons SALT
1 EGG plus 1 tablespoon WATER for egg wash (optional)
OLIVE OIL for brushing (optional)
KOSHER SALT for sprinkling (optional)
Pour the water into a large bowl, and add the packet of yeast and the sugar. Add the flour and mix well to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding additional flour as necessary, for about 10 minutes. You should have a firm and "springy" dough at this point.
Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Punch down the dough and form it into a log; cut the log into 8 pieces. In a large pot, bring 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil, adding a tablespoon of salt to the water once it begins to bubble. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
In the meantime, you may form the bagels. Poke a thumb, dusted with flour, through the center of each piece of dough and stretch the hole with your fingers to make the traditional shape. Set aside on a lightly floured surface, and repeat the steps for the remaining pieces of dough. Cover the bagels with a cloth, to prevent the dough from drying, until the water is ready.
Drop the bagels into the boiling water, 2 or 3 at a time, and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove the bagels to a wire rack and drain briefly.
When all the bagels have been boiled, place them on baking sheets (1 inch apart), brush lightly with olive oil or an egg wash, and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Many other toppings are suitable as well, such as sesame seeds, sauteed minced onions or garlic, and poppy seeds. For a sweet option, add a tablespoon of sugar to the boiling water instead of salt, and dust the bagels with a cinnamon and sugar mixture after brushing with an egg wash.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes (time is based on baking in a convection oven; adjust accordingly to your needs). Remove from the baking sheets and cool on racks.
The girls and I made these bagels for the farmers market last weekend. They were a hit, so I thought I would share the recipe here. They are not that difficult to make, I always thought that they would be, but they turned out perfect and this is only the 2nd time I have ever made them...

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