Sunday, May 13, 2012

Carl's Homemade Bagels

As my first guest post on this blog it was voted that I make bagels. Being an avid distance runner there is really nothing more fitting than the bagel. Carbohydrates are my friend. I eat a bagel every morning as a mid morning snack. It's a great source of calories and energy before my lunch time run.

Although I usually opt for the store bought bagels, there is nothing better than freshly baked bread. I started making bread a few years ago when Nicole got me all the necessary tools for Christmas.  I find the more bread you make the better you get at it. I have gotten pretty good at judging the dough by feel but I definitely still have a lot of room for improvement.

The basic recipe for these bagels comes from the book  "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart.  I have modified some of the measurements over the years to perfect what I consider a pretty darn good bagel.  This book really is great and I consider it to be the authority when it comes to bread making.  I have made a lot of recipes from this book and highly recommend adding it to your personal library.

First - let's start with the ingredients:
  • 7 cups flour (4 cups for first step and 3 cups later on in the recipe)
  • water (room temperature)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 and 2/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • yellow cornmeal
  • Kosher salt, poppy seeds, dehydrated onion/garlic etc. (toppings)
Start by mixing 4 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of yeast in a large bowl. Add 2 and ½ cups of water and mix until all ingredients are hydrated. The consistency should be like that of pancake batter. You really have to feel the consistency to know when it is right - my mixture was too dry so I added more water. 

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 2 hours. The mixture should nearly double in size and be bubbly.

After 2 hours have passed the recipe says to add 3 and ¾ cups of flour, 2 and ¾ teaspoons of salt, ½ teaspoon of yeast and 1 tablespoon of honey. Mix these ingredients together until they form a smooth ball. I only added 3 cups of flour and my dough was much too dry so I had to add more water. Add water very sparingly as a little moisture goes a long way. Once the dough is formed into a smooth ball take it out of the bowl and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough becomes stiff. If it is dry and starts cracking sprinkle water on it. If the dough is sticky add more flour.

Divide the dough into 4.5 ounce pieces or 12 equal size pieces. I weigh out each piece so that the size of my bagels are consistent. I ended up with 14 bagels. 

Roll each piece into a ball and cover with a damp paper towel. Let the dough sit for 20 minutes.

Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper and spray with oil. Take one of the balls and stick your thumb through the middle to form a hole and then work the dough into a bagel shape. 

Place the bagels on the baking pan, mist with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap for 20 minutes. 

To test whether the bagels are ready to go into the fridge drop one into a bowl of water. If the bagel floats within 10 seconds they are all ready to go in the fridge. 

If not try every 10 minutes until it floats. Place the bagels in the fridge overnight. Note: The bagels can stay in the fridge for up to 3 days but I always make them the next day.

The next morning bring a pot of water to a boil and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to the pot. Place 3 or 4 bagels into the water allowing them to boil for 1 minute on each side. Sprinkle the parchment paper with corn meal and return the bagels to the baking pans. Once all the bagels have been boiled top with desired toppings. I used poppy seeds, kosher salt and left some plain.

Put the pans in on middle racks in the oven.  After 5 minutes rotate the pans to ensure even cooking. Let them cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven once the bagels have started turning light brown.

So what's with the heart shaped bagel in this picture? A few years ago I made Nicole heart shaped bagels for Valentine's day. Now I've made it into a little tradition. And for some odd reason she always says that bagel tastes the best. 

Using a spatula transfer the bagels to cooling racks. 15 minutes later your bagels are ready.

Slather with butter, jam/jelly, cream cheese, lox or whatever your heart desires.

Do a celebratory dance...

and/or push up...

and/or jumping jacks...

Thank you to my wife for letting me share this post with you and thank you all for voting for this post on the Baking it on My Own Facebook page! If you have any questions about homemade bagels please leave a comment below and I'd be happy to try to answer them.

Until next time...
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  1. So awesome! Jeff and I can't wait to try these homemade bagels of deliciousness. Thanks a bunches for sharing! ^_^

  2. Carl - you are a stich and a good bagel baker!!!! Enjoyed your guest appearance!!

  3. I was just talking about how I wanted to make bagels, but had no idea how to go about making them. I am definitely giving this recipe a go! xo


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