The other week I decided that I wanted to try making bagels. Right that minute. I raided the pantry for anything that I could use in them. I didn’t have quite enough bread flour so I topped it up with whole-wheat flour and I only had a slightly paltry selection of seeds to use as toppings. This was in no way detrimental though… even the worst homemade bagel will taste better than your standard supermarket offering. Especially when I remember the ones that you get in U.K shops.
Bagels are also way easier to make than you might think. It’s just a simple bread dough that you boil before baking to give them that classic chewy crust. These were really good with a schmear of cream cheese and dollop of blueberry jam. It’s definitely worth trying to make them yourself.
350ml warm water (you might not need the full amount)
350g bread flour
150g whole-wheat flour
1 sachet dried yeast
5 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
various seeds and the like for topping
Mix two teaspoons of the sugar and the yeast with 100ml of the water and set aside for a few minutes.
Combine the flours and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the yeasty water and stir well. Add enough of the remaining water to form a soft but not sticky dough.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy.
Wash the mixing bowl to get it nice and warm and then lightly oil it. Pop the dough in the bowl and then loosely cover it with oiled cling film. Leave the dough in a warm place for 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.
Gently knock back the dough and take it out of the bowl. Divide it into eight even pieces and roll each one into a ball. Poke you finger through the centre of each ball and then swing it around your finger, a bit like a bagel hula hoop, to stretch it out a bit. Put the bagels on a large baking tray and cover them with a damp tea towel. Let them rest for 10-15 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c. Bring a large pan of water to boil and add the remaining sugar to it. Carefully put the bagels, two at a time, into the boiling water. Let them sit for about a minute (the longer you boil them, the chewier the crust) before flipping them over and letting them sit on the other side for a minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bagels and put them back on the baking tray. Sprinkle over any topping you want to use whilst the bagels are still wet and sticky. If you’re using quite chunky toppings then you might need to use an egg wash to get them to stick properly (my pumpkin seeds fell off quite easily). Repeat this until you have poached all eight of the bagels.
Bake them for 25 minutes, they should be nice and golden and a little bit crisp on the outside.