Original Bagels

Original Bagels

Time for a confession…

Original Bagels
Plain Bagels

For years, I wanted to make bagels, but the first recipe I found when I Googled them said I needed to boil them in lye. I was (I think justifiably) terrified and ditched the idea.

A while ago, my buddy James sent me pics of bagels he’d made at home and they loooked GREAT! Well, of course I asked for his recipe and guess what? No dangerously caustic chemicals were involved!

I made a batch, and Annette and I were thrilled.

Then another, and Annette and I and the family we shared them with were thrilled.

Then six batches, and the familly and friends and co-workers we shared them with were thrilled.

Then more, and everybody loved them!

And more… And more… And…

Here’s the current base recipe that they all start with.

Get out a big bowl and dump in :

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast

Mix everything together, cover with a towel and set aside in a warm place for five minutes. When the mix looks foamy and you’re sure the yeast is active, start adding :

3 to 4 cups of flour

Keep mixing in the flour and kneading it until you have a moist, elastic dough. Cover it again and set it back in that warm place to rise for fifteen or twenty minutes. When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on a floured surface, knead it to form a large ball, adding flour as needed to get a very elastic, slightly sticky dough.

Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls. Poke your finger through each one to form the iconic bagel shape. Cover them all with a towel and let them rest while you preheat the oven to 350 and put a large pot on a big burner on the stove. Fill that pot two thirds full of water and add

2 tablespoons of brown sugar, honey or corn syrup

And bring it to a boil.

When the water is boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and gently put 2 or 3 bagels at a time into the water. The bagels will swell up so don’t crowd them. They will float too, so turn them over after a couple of minutes.

Boiling bagels
Boiling bagels

Once they’ve been in the water for 4 or 5 minutes total, scoop them out with a skimmer or slotted spoon and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. If you want poppy seeds, sesame seeds or other toppings, brush each bagel with egg wash and sprinkle that stuff on now.

When you have a full sheet, place it in the oven and bake your bagels for 20 to 25 minutes or until they’re golden brown. I find they turn out way more uniform if I turn the sheet about halfway through.

Original Bagels Baking
Original Bagels Baking

Play with them! Add stuff and let me know what tastes good!