Thursday, May 6, 2010


I have a deep and true love of carbs. My mom talks about how having protein for breakfast is so wonderful and filling, but for me, if there is no bread type item involved then it isn't breakfast. Which is where these bagels come in, they are delicious for breakfast, or really any time of day, they also make wonderful sandwiches (especially if you toss them on Georgie and they get nice and toasty and melty). The recipe is one of Nigella's (I love her, if my kitchen had a patron saint it would probably be her with a little bit of Pioneer Woman thrown in for good measure), and while I have done some minor tweaking (for example I replaced some of the regular flour with whole wheat and have tried a few different toppings), I haven't messed about with it much yet, but one day I think I will try to knead various things into the dough and see how it turns out. These bagels aren't difficult to make, but the dough does take some muscle when you are kneading it, so don't get discouraged, just keep working at it, and it will come together eventually, I promise. It is worth all the muscle though, these are nothing like the grocery store bagels, which I now call soulless much to the amusement of my mother.

Start by mixing your dry ingredients together. I replaced 2 1/3 cups white bread flour with whole wheat, but you could leave it all white if you wanted. And I have used all purpose flour in the past, when we didn't have bread flour, and it worked just fine.

Then combine the warm water, oil, and sugar.

Mix the wet stuff with the dry stuff. I always end up adding a bit more water, especially when I use whole wheat flour. The dough looks like a shaggy mess at this point, but it will come together when you knead it.

See? It turned into a lovely, elastic, cohesive ball after about 10 minutes of intensive kneading. You could always knead it in a stand mixer, however, in my mixer the bowl has a tendency to get stuck when you knead dough in it for that long, and I figure it is about the same amount of effort to wrestle the bowl off the stand as it is to knead it by hand. After kneading, let the dough rise.

When it has risen properly, divide it into 3 equal pieces (or as equal as you can get them, which in my case is generally not very).

Then divide each third into five equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a ball, then a rope and then pinch the ends together to make a ring. Make sure to really pinch the ends, the first time I made these I ended up with horseshoe shaped bagels because the ends came unpinched. I lay the ends on top of one another and sort of fold them in half and seal it up as well as I can, which seems to work for me. Let them rest/rise for about 20 minutes.

Next is the poaching step, you just drop the bagels into boiling water, a few at a time.

I actually have no idea what purpose the poaching serves, as far as I can tell, it makes the bagels look funny and lumpy, although I am sure there is more going on than that. Anyways, at this point, after the poaching, I sometimes add toppings, like sesame seeds or poppy seeds or grated cheese, but this time I just wanted plain bagels.

Bake until nice and golden and gorgeous.

Bagels, from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

4 1/3 cup white bread flour, plus more as necessary for kneading
2 1/2 whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 package rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
2 1/4 cups warm water, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons malt or sugar, for poaching the bagels
2-3 baking sheets, greased

Combine flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Mix the sugar, oil, and water. Make a well in the flour and add the water mixture, mix it all together.

Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, you want to add as much flour as you can during the kneading process. Form the dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for about an hour, it should be well risen and when you poke it with your finger the indent should remain.

Punch the dough down and give it a good knead. Divide it into three pieces. Roll each one into a rope and then cut each rope into five pieces. Roll each piece into a ball then a rope and then pinch the ends together to form a loop.

Let the bagels rise for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile put a large pot of water on to boil. When it boils add the sugar/malt. Preheat the oven to 500. Then when the water is boiling, poach the bagels a few at a time. Boil for about a minute, turning them once.

After poaching put the bagels on the greased baking sheets, add whatever toppings you want, sesame seeds, cheese, whatever you want. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until shiny and golden brown.

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