SiC Blog - January 2012

Make a batch of Bagels

I recently baked up the most delicious homemade loaf ever and upon feeling inspired & proud of the miracle before me from using 4 simple ingredients I decided to look into other forms of bread & baking.

Of course I cannot beat the Monsieur Boulangerie  down the road on baguettes, but what he cannot create is a bagel! The French don’t really have bagels down. So, as a lover of the round and holy buns of savory delights, I decided to have a bash. Don’t be misled into thinking this is going to be difficult…it was very easy!

I have documented the process below but I must admit I am looking forward to round 2, this time with less kneading and less punching down as by day 3 you could have used them in battle.

First half fill a cup with warm water and add 1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of active dried yeast. Leave it to bubble for five minutes and then stir until it is dissolved.

Whilst you’re waiting for the yeast to activate, Mix 500g of bread flour (I used plain flour & it worked fine) into a bowl with 1 ½ teaspoons of salt. Then make a well and pop the yeast mix in and begin to work it in.

Add another half a cup of warm water and mix in. Use an electric mixer with a plastic attachment for this process or get involved with your hands! You need to bind it into a dough that is moist and firm – you may need a drop more water, just judge it as you go.

Then get busy with kneading. Flour a surface and get stuck in, knead until you have a firm, smooth and elastic dough, use as much flour as you want to get the right consistency.

Very lightly oil a bowl and place the ball of dough into it, turn it once and then layer the top of the bowl with a damp tea towel. Store it in a warm room for an hour until it has doubled in size.

Then punch it down, but not too much! Let it rest for another 10 minutes.

from top right anti clockwise - before boiling, during (with 2 floating and 2 on the bottom) and after - before baking.
Cut into 8 equal pieces; press each one into a countertop gently molding each into a smooth ball. With a lightly floured finger push a hole into each centre and stretch out the hole ever so slightly. They want to be puffy and round!

Place them on a very lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth again somewhere warm for 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 7/425ºF / 220ºC .

Now the crazy weird bit! Bring a large pot of water to the boil and take each bagel and place it in the water…it will sink so be prepared to scoop the bottom of each bagel to make sure it doesn’t stick. Suddenly – they will rise to the top of the water, let it sit there for a minute then turn it and leave for another minute. Scoop each one out and place onto the lightly greased baking sheet.

The bagels are now ready for the oven! Bake for 20 minutes turning half way through baking.

That’s it! Let them rest for 10 minutes and then get that cream cheese and salmon ready!!

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