Saturday, January 9, 2016

Easy Homemade Bagels

I love bagels. I especially love freshly baked bagels.  I don't buy them at my supermarket, because I don't know how old they are-- and I don't think they taste all that great.  To me, they have a spongy texture and taste stale.

There are only two bagel bakeries in the area where they live. Both bakeries do a great job producing the kind of bagels I like-- crispy on the outside, and chewy in the middle. So good!
Learning how to make my own bagels has been on my recipe bucket list for a very long time.  I've bookmarked several versions of bagel  recipes on King Arthur Flour.  I even bought the non diastatic malt powder (per King Arthur Flour:  A sweet derivative of roasted barley. Add it to the dough, then again to the boiling water to give bagels their distinctive shiny crust.).  Had I known how fast and easy it is to make this recipe, I would have accomplished that a long time ago!

Sometimes, necessity is the mother of invention. In my case, I had made a Citrus-Cured Salmon from a beautiful piece of Irish salmon that I couldn't resist (at $20.00 a pound. Ahem. NOTE: recipe for this will be my next post.

I made a delicious canap√© with the salmon, and loved them. Still, I wanted one of my favorite ways to enjoy a bagel-- with cream cheese and gravlax (or smoked salmon). The only problem was, I didn't have any bagels in the house, and it was New Year's Day.  It was time to commit to baking my own bagels.

At first, I was put off by making bagels, because the recipes that I found required a dough starter that I needed to make the day before.  Nooooooooo! I wanted them NOW. It was 11:00am and I wanted these for lunch. I was determined to find a quicker way.

Fortunately, I found another trusted recipe source "Mel's Kitchen Cafe" who made a King Arthur Flour bagel recipe and she had success without making the starter.  Hurray! That's all it took. I plugged in my stand mixer, gathered my King Arthur Flour bread flour and other ingredients, and got to work. (Actually, my stand mixer did all the hard work for me.

The ingredients list is short-- bread flour (has more gluten than all-purpose flour), brown sugar, instant yeast (I use SAF instant yeast), salt and warm water.

TIP: For the longest time, I used to panic when my dough wouldn't come together. It would look shaggy and dry.  I finally learned that I needed to be patient and allow the gluten to form.  The end result, an elastic, pliable dough that is easy to work with.

I use my oven as my "proofing drawer" by turning it to WARM for one minute. Then I turn it off. I do this while the dough is mixing.  I oiled my new acrylic measuring cup, smoothed the dough into a ball and covered the container. I placed it into my pre-warmed oven. I was surprised that in less than an hour (50 minutes, to be exact) my dough had risen beautifully!

I cut the dough into eight pieces, then rolled them into a smooth, round ball. I set them on parchment paper (or a silicone mat, or a lightly greased baking sheet).  Cover the dough, loosely, and allow to rest for 30 minutes.  
NOTE: Um, I forgot to cover the dough, and they developed a bit of a crust. This caused the bagels to wrinkle (purely cosmetic) when I poked a hole to shape the bagels.

Shaping the bagels worked best for me, by simply poking a hole in the middle, then twirling the dough until the hole enlarged to where I wanted it.

I decided not to use the non diastatic malt powder, because I couldn't remember where I stored it  I wanted to use brown sugar instead. Just this time. I have to admit that the water bath part of bagel making is kind of fun!

It's also very quick! The bagels take on a spongy look, once removed from the water bath.

You can add any of your favorite toppings, by gently brushing the bagels with an egg white wash.  I chose a variety of poppy seed and sesame seeds.  My faves!

The bagels baked to a beautiful golden brown in less than 20 minutes. My bagels were placed on a baking stoneI keep my baking stone in my oven, at all times. I no longer have soggy pizza crusts, and my bread rolls turn out crispy on the bottom.  I absolutely love it.  I also use my pizza peel to side the bagels onto the baking stone (that I always preheat).  These two products have improved my bread baking results, and I highly recommend investing in them. You won't regret it.

I started making the bagels at 11:00am.  At 12:30pm, this is what I had on my kitchen counter. A warm, homemade bagel-- by me!  They felt firm and crisp on the outside...

The moment I've been waiting for. I sliced one open.  Nice crumb.  But, will it be as good as our local bakery?

I slathered on some whipped cream cheese, and layered it with this beautiful homemade gravlax.  (You can find how to make this by click here.)  I debated adding sliced red onion, capers and fresh tomatoes.  But, it's winter, and I don't particular enjoy anemic out-of-season hot house raised tomatoes. So, plain and simple it is.

My cup of tea is ready, and it's time for lunch.  I take a bite...

TASTING NOTES:  How can a warm and fresh bagel, with cream cheese and salmon not taste good?  I had to slow down, to savor the flavor.  There is nothing more gratifying than biting into home baked bread, that you made all by yourself.  I was ecstatic that I now know how to make bagels.  The interior texture was soft, but not spongy. That's good.  I didn't quite achieve that dense, chewy texture that my local bakeries do-- but I would guess it's because I didn't make the sponge 24 hours in advance. (I plan to try that version, and will report back.) Still, I was very happy with this recipe. It's super simple, you don't need to buy any fancy ingredients-- and it works!  By the way, these bagels are very good when lightly toasted.

If I was to change anything in the directions, it would be to make the bagels smaller. I could easily cut the dough into 12 pieces and cut back on my carbs.  This recipe is definitely a keeper, and I hope that you try making your own bagels.  It's fun, and so rewarding.

I have plans to make my #1 favorite bagel... Cinnamon Raisin!

Here is the printable recipe.  NOTE: I store all of my recipes on Key Ingredient. Unfortunately, they have recently reverted back to requiring a free membership to log in and view my recipes. I'm hoping that they'll change their mind, but in the meantime, I'll post a second site that doesn't require a membership. If you have any problems printing the recipe, please write to me

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Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Oh my, these bagels would certainly make my husband happy…especially with the salmon.

Dominica Sygula said...

Wow amazing! Would love one of those with Philadelphia cheese!
Thank you for sharing! :)
Visit my blog whenever you have time, Kisses !!

Anonymous said...

Heck yes and what a wonderful idea. Yes! (Although the formula and method card is not easy to access, once one gets there, it works.)
We've tried bagels before, perhaps with too many compromises. Nuts. A nice weekend is coming, we've got everything and we too enjoy a fresh one. If we happen to end up with a dimple or an imperfect surface, we 'll never mention it.
If it matters, the bagels that we pass are those that arrive frozen, are thawed a little, proofed and baked. Most have never seen a boiling water bath, yet most darn sure need the complete method. Thank you for the wonderful idea. This is not Rocket Science, but a great bread with one additional step. +Craig (the other one.)

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

You inspired me to try making bagels, Debby. A good bagel is hard to come by in my area and I'm usually disappointed when I buy them. Bagels, cream cheese and good lox are one of my favorite meals. I would really be proud of myself if I made the bagels and prepared the salmon myself. Now you've made me hungry.

Nena said...

Hi - I can't find the recipe - please help - my mouth is watering! Thanks.

Debby Foodiewife said...

I can see the recipe card! If you read the last paragraph, I provide my email address to I can send it to you. Please email me, and I'm happy to send it. Unfortunately Key Ingredient has changed the viewing to require a free membership. So sorry.