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Homemade Bagels Recipe & Video

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Bagels are a doughnut shaped white yeast bread. They have a wonderfully chewy outside crust and a dense yet soft interior. They are unique in that, like pretzels, they are first boiled and then baked. It is the boiling that gives the outside of the Bagel its beautiful color and that uniquely crisp and chewy texture

 

I never thought about making my own Bagels until I took a one day Bagel and Pretzel class at the San Francisco Baking Institute (this recipe is an adaptation of their recipe). What I especially like about making my own Bagels is that I can make them Montreal-style. That is, I boil the Bagels in a mixture of water and honey. I love how the honey adds flavor, color, and texture to the bagels.

As far as ingredients go, we are using unbleached all purpose flour and unbleached bread flour. Bread flour has a higher protein content than all purpose flour which helps to give the Bagels their chewy texture. For the yeast, I like to use SAF Red instant yeast #ad. This type of yeast gives a good rise, especially when making breads with long fermentation periods. An added bonus is that since the grain particles are so small, it doesn't need to be proofed. However, if you want to substitute active dry yeast for instant yeast you need to first activate the yeast in warm water. To do this, remove about 1/4 cup (60 grams) water from the total amount called for in the recipe and heat it to lukewarm. Stir in the yeast. Let stand about 5-10 minutes or until the mixture becomes frothy. We also add some dry malt (diastatic) powder #ad which helps with browning and also breaks down the starch and gives sugar for the yeast to feed on. This is especially good for a dough like this that has a long fermentation period. For the salt I like to use kosher salt.

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Pre-Ferment: In a medium sized bowl, stir the flour with the yeast. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water. With a metal scraper or wooden spoon, work the flour into the liquid, until all the flour has been moistened. Place into a medium sized container that has been lightly oiled, cover, and let it sit (ferment) at room temperature (about 70 degree F - 21 degree C) for 12 - 18 hours. (It will rise and become nice and spongy.)

Bagel Dough: In a large bowl, stir together the flours, yeast, malt powder, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, place the water, Pre-Ferment, and flour mixture. Knead the dough on 1st speed for five minutes. Increase your mixer speed to 2nd speed and continue to knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes or until the dough cleans the bowl and is smooth and elastic. To check to see if the dough is fully kneaded, use the 'windowpane' test. (See video for demonstration.) To do this, start with a small fistful of dough, and with moistened hands, gently stretch it. For a fully kneaded dough you should be able to stretch the dough quite thin, without it tearing. If the dough tears easily, knead for another minute or two. 

Place your dough in a large bowl that has been lightly oiled. Turn the dough once so the top of the dough has a light coating of oil (this prevents a crust from forming on the top of the dough). Cover with plastic wrap and let proof (ferment) at room temperature (about 75 degree F) (24 degree C) for 30 minutes.

Next, turn out your dough onto a lightly floured surface. You want the top of the dough to now be on the bottom. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces (about 97 grams each). When you divide the dough use a pastry scraper or knife and cut, don't pull or stretch, the dough.

Take one piece of the dough and, on a lightly floured surface, pat into a rectangle. Fold over the top third of dough and gently seal. Then take the top of the dough and fold it another third and gently seal. Then take the top of the dough and fold it to the bottom edge of the dough and seal. (See video for demonstration.) On an unfloured surface, place the palms of your hand on the top of the dough (seam side down) and gently roll it back and forth to seal the edges of the dough. Place the log of dough (seam side down) onto a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat this process with the other pieces of dough. Then cover with plastic wrap and let proof (ferment) for about 30 minutes at room temperature.

You will need 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Lightly oil or spray the parchment paper with a non stick vegetable cooking spray.

After 30 minutes, working with one portion of dough at a time, on a unfloured surface, roll the dough back and forth, using both hands with even pressure (working from the center outwards), until you have a 10 inch (25 cm) long rope. (Lift the rope periodically as you roll to make sure it's not sticking to the counter.) Then form the rope into a circle, looping it around your hand. Take the two ends and seal. Roll the ends on the counter to seal. (See video for demonstration.) Place 6 bagels onto each lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been lightly oiled or sprayed with a non stick vegetable spray. Let sit at room temperature about 20 minutes then place the baking sheets, with the bagels, in the refrigerator to chill overnight (adds flavor).

Next morning, preheat your oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Have your oven rack in the bottom third of your oven. Place a pizza stone on the oven rack. Also, place a cast iron frying pan on the floor of your oven (we will be placing ice cubes in the frying pan to create steam).

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, place 8 cups (2 liters) water. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Then add 3 tablespoons (60 grams) of honey.

Next, gently place 3 bagels into the boiling water. Boil for about 45 seconds, then turn the bagels over, with a spoon, and boil for an additional 45 seconds. Remove the bagels from the water using your wire skimmer, drain, and place the bagels onto a pizza paddle (can also use the back of a baking sheet) that has been sprinkled with fine cornmeal or semolina. If desired, sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds. Repeat the process with another 3 bagels.

Transfer 6 bagels onto the hot pizza stone, spacing several inches apart. Quickly place about 8 ice cubes into the hot cast iron frying pan (this creates steam). Bake the bagels for about 14 minutes or until golden brown. (If you tap the bottom of the bagel it will sound hollow.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

While the 6 Bagels are baking, boil the remaining 6 bagels. Again, place on the pizza paddle that has been sprinkled with fine cornmeal or semolina. If desired, sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds and bake. The Bagels are best the day they are made but can be covered and stored for a few days at room temperature or they can be frozen.

Makes 12 Bagels.

View comments on this recipe on YouTube

Pre-Ferment:

1 3/4 cups (230 grams) unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1/8 teaspoon SAF Red Instant Yeast

1/2 cup minus 1 teaspoon (115 grams) cold filtered water

Bagel Dough:

1 cup (130 grams) unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 3/4 cups (360 grams) unbleached Bread Flour

1 1/4 teaspoons (4 grams) SAF Red  instant yeast Available on Amazon #ad

1 tablespoon (11 grams) dry malt (diastatic) powder (Available on Amazon #ad)

1 tablespoon (14 grams) kosher salt

1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon (310 grams) cold filtered water

To Boil the Bagels:

8 cups (2 liters) water

3 tablespoons (60 grams) honey

Sesame Seeds (optional)

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