I’ve been talking about making bagels using the dough setting of my bread machine for years. I have several cookbooks with recipes for bagels but settled on the excellent The Best Bagels Are Made at Home by Dona Z. Meilach from the Nitty Gritty cookbook series.
I’ve been doing more baking and have been trying more new recipes lately because it has been such a long cold spring and because I finally have most of my books in one place where I can see and get my hands on them!
Here is half of the new (to me) library that my husband is now putting the finishing touches on. I found the pallet of dismantled floor-to-ceiling book shelves at one of our local Habitat Restores for $85. We do most of our remodeling with materials from the Restores in our area. This summer’s big project will be denailing and installing a reclaimed oak floor in our living room. Always something to look forward to, right?
Back to bagels! I’m not claiming they turned out to be the most perfect bagels. But I think they are a pretty good first attempt. As my husband often says, “You’ll just have to keep making more of them until you get it right.” (He enthusiastically gobbles up ALL of my attempts!)
The bagel recipe I attempted was the Basic Egg Bagels on page 50. (You can buy this book on-line for as little as the cost of shipping, so I am not going to plagiarise her recipe.) The bread machine turned out a very nice dough that was easy to work with. Bagel dough is sticky, so I did coat my hands with flour before handling it. I let it rest a bit after turning it out and kneading it enough to get it into shape.
Forming a half-way uniform bagel took a little practice. The 1 1/2 pound recipe, makes 12 bagels. First, I cut the dough in half and then in half again and each resulting piece into three more pieces. (I could have weighed the dough and divided by 12, but I’m not that obsessed with accuracy.)
The book outlined a couple of ways of forming the bagels. I found that working each portion of dough into a smooth ball, putting it on the counter and poking my index finger through the middle, and picking it up and gently stretch-kneading it into a donut shape worked the best.
I preheated my electric oven briefly and then turned on the oven light to create a nice warm environment for raising the newly formed bagels. The pans are greased so that the bagels won’t stick after they double in size.
I brought a big pot of water to boiling while the bagels were rising. When they had doubled in size, I gently put them, four at a time, into the boiling water and cooked them for too long on each side! Next time, I will boil them for only one minute on each side and drain them on a towel and not a rack so they don’t lose their shape and or stay too wet. I chose to keep it simple and not glaze or add toppings. . . there is always next time.
They bake in a hot oven (400F) for 20 minutes on cornmeal-sprinkled cookie sheets. (Several other ways of baking are outlined in the book.) I tried to bake all my bagels at once which turned out to be a bad idea. Next time, I will bake them one pan at a time on the center rack of the oven for more even results.
Even if a little uneven, the results were pretty tasty! Begonia