I’ve tried a few recipes to unlock the secrets of a yummy, soft on the inside bagel and I think I’ve finally found it! It’s a pretty efficient little recipe, maybe a couple hours long. No fermenting in the fridge over night like others I have tried, just a couple rises/rests and you are ready to go.
I think it all started with a delicious bagel and cup of coffee at a little coffee shop near the University of Washington called The Bean and Bagel (1410 NE 40th St Seattle, WA 98105 (206) 547-5649). They have somewhat erratic hours of operation which is why I’ve included the phone number. I don’t want others to arrive dreaming of a delicious toasted bagel with a variety of spreads to choose from only to find a closed shop window like I have on numerous occasions! Meh!
So, my hubby ordered a toasted bagel with cream cheese, lettuce, cucumber, and sprouts.And it sounded pretty good, so l did the same. Which turned out to be a good move, as it was refreshing and satisfying. A hearty “salad” for breakfast.
Ever since then I have been dreaming of making my own yummy bagels. Who wants grocery store bagels when you can make them at home with better ingredients and with love ? Especially when you don’t live in or near NYC…
So, after a few failed attempts in the kitchen, I desperately typed in “soft and delicious bagel recipe” into my search engine, smearing flour over my keys, and found this delightful posting, an answer to my bagel-shaped dreams. I have made a few amendments in the spirit of flavor, accessible measuring increments and added a recipe for a killer green onion cream cheese for a spread.
First, the list of ingredients:
(note: I have included the original measurements, plus conversion into cups and “spoons” in case you don’t have a scale)
630 grams (or appx. 4 cups minus 2 tablespoons) bread flour
12 grams (or 3 teaspoons) instant yeast
100 mL and then 260 mL of lukewarm water
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
sunflower (or vegetable) oil
2 teaspoons baking soda (or 1 tablespoon golden syrup)
For bagel glaze:
1 tablespoon water
whatever floats your boat!
oats, sesame seeds, garlic bits, onions, herbs, the sky’s the limit.
And lastly, but not leastly, Green Onion and Garlic Cream cheese:
Cream Cheese (duh!)
(First-first: take the cream cheese out of the fridge..you’ll be glad you did!)
First, we must get those little yeast bits producing! Get 100ml of lukewarm water and add it to a medium bowl. Next, and this is because I find it easier to add the powdery and light yeast to the water and not the other way round, pour in your 3 tsp. (or 12 g) of yeast.
Set bowl aside, preferably in a warmer part of the kitchen. In our case, that means on top of an oven at 200 degrees. Our kitchen is NOT warm.
Next, you’ll want to get your dry ingredients ready. Unfortunately, this calls for “serious” measuring. I say “serious” because while there are times that it doesn’t matter if you leave a little on the top of your measuring cup, there are also times like THESE, you know, “serious” times. Somewhere, my husband is smiling..or his ears are burning. In either case, the smile is probably smug, since my reputation in the kitchen is NOT one of precision!
I did some weighing..and some light calculating..both things that make my head hurt, but in the end I found that King Arthur’s Bread flour is about 168 grams/cup. My rough conversion from the 630 grams called for is 3 full cups and one with two tablespoons removed. Kinda weird, but it works, and if you don’t have a scale or time..this should work for you.
Sieve or sift (interchangeable words for separating particles of different size) your flour and granulated sugar. I should mention here that the original recipe calls for 60 grams of castor sugar, a very fine ground sugar used in mousse and sorbet. I have tried it a couple different ways, and I found that five tablespoons of granulated sugar is a good amount of sweetness and something most people have in their baking cabinet! For sifting, I use our strainer because it works just fine (I gently bounce it from side to side inside the bowl, keeping it below the edge of the bowl so I don’t end up with flour on the counter). I add the salt separately, otherwise it just gets caught in the mesh.
If you don’t have a mixer, sift into a bowl.
After the five minutes have passed since the water was added to the yeast, add the remaining 260mL of lukewarm water. I fill the measuring cup a hair above 250mL and it has worked out fine so far!
Give the liquid another couple swirls with the fork to make sure all the yeast bits are dissolving.
Then it’s time to add them all together!
If you are working in a bowl, mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together. In both cases you want to knead for about ten minutes. You may need to add a bit more bread flour at this time. Knead until you get a soft and springy dough.
Next, you’ll want to prep another mixing bowl by greasing its sides with oil. I used sunflower oil, but vegetable oil would work too. Olive oil might be interesting to try as it may impart a little more of its flavor than the others. In any case, once the dough has come together in a ball I detach my bowl from the mixer. Then I sprinkle a little oil around it’s circumference.
I have a little trick that works with the electric mixing bowl because the sides are higher and angle straight up as opposed to out. But I just shake the whole bowl in a circle until the dough lets go of the sides and rolls around the base of the bowl, getting coated in oil. This may work in metal mixing bowls, because of the stick factor, and maybe also with ceramic ones, but I would be careful to not use too much oil in this case, as I could imagine a scenario with sloshing oil and dough that won’t roll. No good.
Plop that baby into your oiled mixing bowl and cover in plastic wrap until it has doubled in size. For the original recipe the time was estimated at fifteen minutes. However, in OUR kitchen, which is sort of like the arctic tundra, it takes a little more like twenty minutes to half an hour. Just look for the doubling. Sometimes I use the oven turned to 200 degrees to give everyone a boost, including me!
Of course, if you don’t see ANY action happening with the first fifteen minutes, you may have added something closer to “hot water” instead of ” lukewarm.” It happens. Just start over! I promise it’s worth it.
So, now you’re dough is rising. And you’re thinking: what delicious spreads will I alight upon my delicate and scrumptious bagel? My answer? Green Onion and Garlic cream cheese.
I’m not sure where this idea came from. It was one of those things where you just start DOING something, chopping the onions, sprinkling the garlic powder in, and a second later you wake up, and sitting before you is something that could be really good …or really bad. In this case, it turned out pretty well, although I should warn that if you don’t like an onion-y flavor, then you may want to use half the bundle instead of the whole thing. I went a little green onion crazy.
Then add the chopped onions to a tupperware with 8 oz. of cream cheese inside (1 pack). Toss 1 teaspoon of garlic powder on top. Using the back of a metal spoon, squish the mixture until it is blended. It takes a few minutes to really work it in there. But the better you work it in, the better it will taste!
That’s going to be GOOOD on a bagel:
Ok, snap on the top of the tupperware and pop it into the fridge. Let those flavors marinate. Your dough should be about ready by now, and if not, hey! maybe it’s time to make another kind of cream cheese! Sauteed onion? Red bell pepper and thyme?!
Ok, now comes the hard part. You’re going to have to punch it. You have to punch your pretty dough. Good news is, it’ll be pretty again! Especially when you smother it in green onion – ok, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Once you punch the dough, lift it and place onto a floured surface. Using the palm of your hand, knead until the air bubbles have released and then an additional five minutes. You want to think “soft” and “springy.” And the exterior should be smooth and whole.
After the dough has rested five minutes, there will be another session of weighing, in honor of my dear husband, whose heart skips a beat every time I use the scale!
Note: If you don’t have a kitchen scale, my word of advice is this: if you are eyeballing the segments of dough, err on the side of too many, say 11 pieces, instead of too few, 9 pieces. I’ve done this once on the side of too few and they just end up taking too long to bake all the way through. Sigh.They just won’t be the same after that. So aim for 11 and just keep an eye on them in the oven.
For those of us with scales, it’s back to the drawing books! Get your bowl positioned, “zero out,” and lay your dough inside. If I recall correctly mine weighed around 1080 grams, so divided by 10 pieces, each should weigh 108 grams. I know, I know, I’m SUCH a math whiz.
Here is another revision to the bagel shaping called for in the original recipe, via my mom. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and then flatten slightly into a small, even disc.
Take your thumb and place it in the center of the disc, and press through, pinching with your other fingers in back. Thanks, mom!:
You will have to do a little ripping through the dough, and a little squishing around to seal the edges. I also found that swinging the dough around my two first fingers, like a mini pizza dough tosser, helped even out the seam. While it does not a perfect bagel make, I find it to be a lot less hassle than rolling each dough ball into an even strip and then squishing the ends together. But to each his own, if you are a roll-squisher, by all means, be my guest!
Next, cover with a kitchen towel and let these little dough rings rest for 20-25 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Preferably a large soup pot, with a wide opening.
Turn your oven to 350F degrees (200C). Make sure the rack is in the middle.
Prepare the last baking sheet with a second sheet of parchment and a sprinkling of cornmeal. Place near the boiling water, as you will be transferring the bagels to this sheet for baking. You will also want to crack your egg into a bowl and mix it with a tablespoon of water. Get a brush out to apply the glaze. Get any toppings you have decided on nearby and ready for use! The time is nigh!
Once your bagels have rested, and your water is boiling, get your two teaspoons of baking soda. I add them one at a time, because well, it foams up a bit, kind of like those fake volcanoes you used to to make in science class. But it falls back down immediately and then you are ready!
We use a clam spoon ( with the wire basket on one end?). But you can easily use a slotted spoon or a wooden spoon. Let them cook a minute and half on each side. I was surprised to see how much they grew during this part.
In our pot, three or four bagels at a time is a good fit. However, it might be different in yours! You just want the bagel to have a little “floating” room, and a bit to grow. So eyeball it!
Once your first set is down on the baking sheet and the next set is in the pot boiling away, get your brush and start covering the bagel tops and sides with the glaze.
Add the toppings of your choice. We usually do a combination of sesame seed bagels and oat bagels.
Place the bagels in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. I have generally found, in our oven, that it takes a bit longer than that to get a nice brown. You just want to keep an eye on them towards the end of the baking time. However, as we discovered last night, you can’t go too wrong!
We had about a zillion different cooking projects going on at once, good plan! My hubby was trying out his first Dashi, a Japanese soup stock. We were preparing dinner. And OF COURSE the bagels got left in the dust. What we learned, though, is that, well, they’re still great!
After 25 minutes of baking:
Both batches were delicious, and none of us had trouble scarfing them down.
When they are nicely browned, remove from oven and place onto wire rack to cool.
Then you’ll start to notice a bizarre and unrelenting pattern begin to develop.You’ll start with this:
Which will turn into this:
You may even spontaneously start speaking French. Though I’m not really sure why. But the pattern is not yet complete. You will be, sadly, left with this:
Store in a tupperware if you can, but allow to dry a bit before sealing them in. If they aren’t dry enough and placed in a sealed container they can become chewy! Not after all that hard work! We have them out over night and then placed them into tupperware the next morning. You can also store then in a paper bag.
So this is me, signing off, hope you enjoyed the post and were inspired to give them a try. It puts a little pep in your step knowing how to make your own GOOD bagels!