Home-made bagels…are they worth the time it takes to make them from scratch? We get pretty good bagels from our local independent bagel shop, sometimes warm from the oven. At first I thought the home-made ones were good, but not significantly better than the ones we buy. But then…they were still very good on day two…and after freezing and defrosting and toasting. And I think they have more of a bread-y flavor, that warm fermented yeasty goodness. The recipe is from Baking With Julia, pages 87-90 (yes, it’s a four-page recipe), and you can find the the recipe on Heather’s blog at Heather’s Bytes.
It is a lengthy process, beginning with a dough that is kneaded, left to rise, and then chilled. Removed from the refrigerator, the dough is divided and shaped into rings…
…which are boiled in a large pot of water…
…then drained and transferred to a cornmeal dusted peel.
The pale wrinkled bagels, reminiscent of pruney skin after a long warm bath, were brushed with eggwhite and sprinkled with toppings, sesame and poppy seeds (although IF I make them again I want to try topping them with sauteed onions and garlic along with the seeds.) I slid them from the peel onto baking tiles where they baked for 25 minutes (first batch) and 20 minutes (second batch, because I thought the first batch came out a little overdone.) They then rested in the oven for 5 minutes with the oven turned off and another 5 minutes with the oven door open.
The baking and resting allowed plenty of time to shape, boil, glaze, and top the second batch for baking. Out of the oven, they looked stunningly like normal bagels, chubby and shiny under their seeds.
Will I bake them again? Maybe…they were very time-consuming, but that’s always the trade-off with home baked goods.
“Nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.”
-Julia Child, My Life in France
Note: While the recipe calls for high-gluten flour, I used bread flour, with no discernible ill results.