Who doesn’t love a good bagel. Whether laced with cream cheese, topped with smoked salmon or just toasted with butter, a bagel always seems to hit the spot.
By most accounts, bagels originated in the Jewish communities of Poland, as early as the 17th century. In the Early 1900’s Jewish Polish immigrants, brought their trade of hand formed bagels to New York City and around the 1960’s, the Lenders family invented the machine process of producing bagels and helped usher the frozen mass produced bagel to most of the United States. To this day, my visit to Manhattan is not complete without a New York style bagel.
A few factors to a great bagel. Resting and boiling. Traditionally bagels are allowed to proof a couple times. Once, when you’ve just created the dough and the yeast is doing its magic and the other after its formed into its traditional ring shape. The other key factor is the boil. Boiling the bagel briefly, will help create a crispy crust when baking and a chewy center when finished. Bagel toppings are added just after the boiling process. You can create the everything bagel, just poppy seed, onion flake and pepper or leave plain. Get creative with your spice toppings both savory and sweet.
I’ve adapted my recipe from several different styles of bagel making. At the core, there’s the New York Style – which usually contains malt syrup, boiled and then baked, Montreal – malt syrup, sugar, boiled in sweetened water and wood fired baked and East Coast which normally has a characteristic of a sourdough. My recipe represents a blend of both New York and Montreal, as I add honey to my boiled water.
Supplies & Ingredients
Now, with most, if not all of my baking, I scale all the ingredients. My Pastry Chef friends will appreciate these steps. Scaling allows true measurements of ingredients and adds consistency in final results. Small kitchen scales are very inexpensive and should become a staple in your kitchen. Silicone baking mats are awesome. Parchment paper still plays a role in my kitchen as the most common use is lining pans for cakes and cheesecakes but for sheet pans and general baking, silicone mats reign supreme. No waste, easy clean up, reusable and no curling of corners. Stainless steel or heat proof glass mixing bowls and good measuring equipment round out my core baking supplies. You’ll find uses for most of these, during this recipe.
Bread flour is the flour of choice. You’ll need the extra protein in bread flour, that gives bagels their strength and chewiness. I use a good quality Dry Active Yeast. Its easy to work with, store and widely available. I also use Kosher style salt for all salt applications. Iodize table salt comes across a little “briny” to me. Several recipes and professional bagel makers will use Malt syrup. I substitute light brown sugar, that I always have on hand and have found it to work just as good.
- 12oz of warm water (105-110 degrees-f)
- 7 grams Dry Active Yeast
- 480 grams Bread Flour
- 12 grams Light Brown Sugar
- 5.9 grams salt (I used kosher style)
- 3oz Honey or Agave Syrup
- 80 oz water (2.5 quarts)
- 1 egg white – whisked until fluffy
- Small scale
- Mixing bowl for proofing
- Half size baking sheet
- Parchment paper or Silicone baking mat
- Large Pot for boiling bagels
- Pastry brush
- Vegetable oil
- Slotted spoon or Tongs
In small bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Agitate slightly, cover and let sit for 5 minutes
In stand mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Lightly whisk to combine.
After yeast has “bloomed” for 5 minutes, add to the flour mixture
Using dough hook attachment, just mix until dough forms and just begins to pull away from side of bowl. The dough will still look dry.
Remove from bowl onto to working surface with a dusting of flour. Keep about ¼ cup of flour on standby as you knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes. The dough should become easier to work and start look somewhat elastic.
After 5 minutes of working the dough, place in lightly oiled bowl, turn the dough to make sure all gets coated with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 hour or a little longer until the dough has doubled in size. Make sure you place away from any drafts in the house or direct sunlight.
Near completion of proofing; Pre-heat oven to 425-F degrees. Also prepare a pot filled with water and the honey. Mix to dilute and have ready at a low simmer.
Have baking sheet ready lined with parchment paper or silicone mat.
Portion dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll in round shapes and using finger or round handle of a wooden spoon, punch a center hole in each dough ball and begin to form into round bagel shapes. Use your thumbs to help shape bagels and retain the center hole. I make sure the hole is a little larger at first, as it will shrink slightly as it sits.
Place each formed bagel dough onto the sheet pan, cover loosely with clean towel and let rest an additional 3-5 minutes.
Increase temperature of water bath just to a medium boil and then place 2-3 bagels at a time into water. Gently turn each bagel and let boil for 1 ½ minutes each side. Carefully remove and place back onto the same baking sheet.
- I purchased an Everything Bagel topping for ease of ingredients
- You can use only poppy seed or sesame seeds
- I’ve also topped with just Sea salt and Cracker Blacked Pepper
- Just use egg wash only for plain bagels
Remove and let cool on baking rack.