Plain ‘ol Bagels

I feel like being able to whip up a batch of bagels is something I should have in my back pocket.  I like a good bagel, but it is one of those items I always talk myself out of purchasing at the grocery store (“Jenny…you don’t need to eat those.  Put them back.”)  BUT, if I make them I can sample one, then give the rest away…this is how I reason with myself.  Don’t judge me.  Or do.  I don’t care (much).

So, here we are on a lovely Saturday (it’s zero degrees outside) and I’m making bagels.  I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen (printable link here).  Feel free to jazz up with whatever flavorings you choose…I’m simply passing on the ‘canvas’ for you to start with.  If you’re intimidated by the idea of making bagels: don’t be.  It’s easy!  And these are delicious…doughy inside and crunchy outside.  Plus, this recipe only yields a half dozen…so if you mess them up, it’s easy to forget about it and try again (I feed botched breads to the ducks on our pond…they appreciate it)!

*Note* The printable link will take you to the original recipe that doesn’t have a few of the tips I’m including here.  When you print it out, take note of the differences in bagel shaping and cooking techniques.  If anyone can give me advice on how to make my own printable links for recipes, I’d greatly appreciate it!! I’m such a WordPress novice…..

And now, we bake!!

Ingredients for Plain Bagels (nothin’ fancy here!)

  • ⅔ cups Warm Water
  • ½ Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1-½ teaspoon Yeast
  • 2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • ¾ teaspoons Salt
  • cornmeal (for sprinkling on the baking stone)

Start by combining the yeast, water and sugar in the bowl of your mixer.  Let it set up for 5-10 minutes; until the yeast is foamy.  Then add the flour, oil and salt.  Mix thoroughly with the dough hook or knead by hand.

The dough should look like this after being pushed around for a while (or kneaded by hand).  Let it rise for 20-30 minutes (although longer won’t hurt it…I let mine sit for an hour).

After the dough has risen for a spell, take it out and – to make things easy – shape it into a log.

Then cut it into 5 or 6 pieces (depending on how big you want your bagels).

To shape the bagels, don’t try to roll it into a snake and then squish the ends together.  I couldn’t get that to work.  Instead, form into a ball and poke your finger in the middle.  Then gently pull it into an even ring, using the widest part of your hand as a measure.  These puff quite a bit, so you want to leave plenty of room in the middle for them to grow.

Shadow puppets anyone??

Let them rise on a lightly floured surface for at least 30 minutes.  However, an hour makes them even better.

Preheat the oven to 425 and place your baking stone inside.  On the lowest rack of the oven, place a pan containing about 1/2 inch of water.

Grab a heavy bottomed pot and start 6 cups of water boiling.  I once heard that boiling food in plain water makes them taste like…plain water.  So it’s best to boil things with some flavor.  Based on this, I’ve added a solid 2 tablespoons of salt to my water.  Add the bagels and boil for one minute on each side, removing them to paper towels when done for water to drip away.  Be careful, though, as these stick to the paper towels slightly.  I suggest not letting them sit there for more than a minute or two.

Once your bagels are boiled, pull the stone out of the oven and sprinkle it with corn meal.  

Place the bagels on the stone and bake for 18-20 minutes.

These save really well…one of the few homemade bread that I’ve mastered which doesn’t require eating immediately.  Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Plain ‘ol Bagels

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