Homemade bagels

A few months before I moved to Tonga the Brisbane CBD got a bagel shop. They made excellent bagels and every time I went into the city I got a bagel. I miss their yummy bagels so I thought I’d try making my own.

I found this recipe, which seemed relatively simple if a little time-consuming. So I put the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a big mixing bowl and stirred them together a little making sure I broke up any big chunks of brown sugar.

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Then I added the warm water and stirred everything together until it formed a loose dough.

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Then comes the hardest part: kneading the dough. It’s a really stiff dough so you have to knead it for about ten minutes. Then put it back in the bowl and cover it with a tea towel. Leave the dough to proof for about an hour-an-a-half. It won’t rise much but that’s fine.

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After the dough has finished proofing, break it up into eight roughly even pieces (I used a sharp bread knife to cut it into segments). Then roll each piece into a ball. If you want your bagels to be perfectly round, make your balls perfectly round, but if you don’t mind close enough if good enough.

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Now cover them with a tea towel and leave them to proof for another thirty minutes. While it’s proofing (again) you can prepare your water bath (the water you’re going to boil the bagels in). Put the water, brown sugar (not tightly packed), and raw sugar into a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves then adjust the heat so it comes to a gentle boil.  Once your thirty minutes is done it’s time to make the hole in the bagel. Poke your finger into the middle of the bagel to make a small hole, then spin it around your finger until the hole is about three or four centimeters across. Don’t worry if your hole isn’t quite in the middle. Put all your bagels on a lined baking tray and get ready to boil them. Preheat the oven to 220°C.

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The four at the back are uncooked, the two at the front have just come out of the water bath.

We have a really big pot so I could put four bagels in at a time. Whatever size your pot is just make sure your bagels aren’t touching when you first put them in and you’ll be fine. I used tongs to put the bagels in, and turn them. When you first put them in, leave them to cook for two minutes, then turn them over and let them cook for another minute. They were too slippery to take out of the pot with tongs so I used a slotted spoon. When you take them out put them back on the lined baking tray. After the first batch is done do the same with the rest of the bagels. Now they’re ready to go in the oven. Pop them in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until they’re slightly brown. If you want to top them with seeds cook them for about ten minutes then pull them out, brush them with some water, sprinkle the seeds on top and put them back in for 10-15 minutes. You can also make a huge variation of types of bagel by changing the type of flour you use (wholemeal, gluten-free etc.), or adding in flavours to the dough mixture (onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, herbs and spices etc.).

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My dad couldn’t even wait for them to cool.

Once they’ve cooled down a little they’re good to go. We had some with my cream cheese and capsicum chutney.

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Ingredients

 Dough:

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Water Bath:

  • 2L water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (not packed)
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar

Method

  1. Put the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a big mixing bowl and stir them together making sure you break up any big chunks of brown sugar.
  2. Add the warm water and stir everything together until it forms a loose dough.
  3. Knead the dough for about ten minutes. Then put it back in the bowl and cover it with a tea towel. Leave the dough to proof for about an hour-an-a-half.
  4. After the dough has finished proofing, break it up into eight roughly even pieces (I used a sharp bread knife to cut it into segments).
  5. Roll each piece into a ball. If you want your bagels to be perfectly round, make your balls perfectly round, but if you don’t mind close enough if good enough.
  6. Cover the dough balls with a tea towel and leave them to proof for another thirty minutes. While it’s proofing (again) you can prepare your water bath (the water you’re going to boil the bagels in).
  7. Put the water, brown sugar (not tightly packed), and raw sugar into a large saucepan over a medium heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves then adjust the heat so it comes to a gentle boil.
  8. Once your thirty minutes is done it’s time to make the hole in the bagel. Poke your finger into the middle of the bagel to make a small hole, then spin it around your finger until the hole is about three or four centimeters across. Don’t worry if your hole isn’t quite in the middle.
  9. Put all your bagels on a lined baking tray and get ready to boil them.
  10. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  11. Whatever size your pot is just make sure your bagels aren’t touching when you first put them in.
  12.  When you first put them in, leave them to cook for two minutes, then turn them over and let them cook for another minute. When you take them out put them back on the lined baking tray. After the first batch is done do the same with the rest of the bagels.
  13. Pop them in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until they’re slightly brown.
  14. Once they’ve cooled down a little they’re good to go
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