– by Kelsey
Is bread considered a hobby? Because I spend collectively at least a few hours a week thinking about it, and you guys, ALL THE BREAD.
I love bagels more than I will ever be able to adequately express. Most of the time, I’ll head down to the local bagel shop in Kingsport which, spoiler alert, has pretty amazing bagels (The Bagel Exchange – I suggest the sesame). But sometimes, I want to make my own.
I followed the instructions from the Sophisticated Gourmet’s link to bagel-making (adapted below):
1 packet of active dry yeast
1 ½ TB of granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups of warm water (more may be added, if needed)
3 ½ cups of bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
1. Take 1/2 cup of the warm water and add in the sugar and yeast, allow to sit for five minutes before stirring. (ALSO, please don’t be a dumb, like yours truly, and overheat the water. Overheated water = dead yeast. If the yeast mixture is foaming, your yeast is happy and not dead.)
2. Sift the flour and salt and pour in your yeast/sugar combo, mixing to combine. Add in the remaining water (3/4 C) as you mix. More water may need to be added (The Sophisticated Gourmet says somewhere from a few TBs to 1/4 C, depending on where you live). This dough should not be dry and will hold its shape well.
4. The original author suggests kneading the dough for ten minutes, adding flour until very solid. Or, if you are a laze such as myself, I popped this in my Kitchenaid with a dough hook and mixed on medium speed (adding flour if needed to prevent over-stickiness) for about 3 minutes or so.
5. In an oiled bowl, let the dough rise (covered with a damp dish towel/paper towel) for an hour until doubled in size. PUNCH IT DOWN. Then let it hang out for another 10 minutes.
6. The recipe suggests dividing the dough into eight equal pieces with the help of a kitchen scale, which makes my neurotic heart purr. However, seeing as I don’t have one of these contraptions, divide the dough as best as you can into eight pieces. Original suggestions are to roll the dough pieces against the counter, making an even ball, then pressing a floured finger in middle to create the bagel shape. Or I’ve also found that rolling out the shape into a log and creating a bagel circle also works well.
7. Let these kittens hang out on an oiled cookie sheet for ~10 minutes, covering with a dampened towel. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
8. In a large pot of simmering water, lower your bagels into their bath with a slotted tool (I use a mint julep spoon), as many as will fit comfortably into the pot. Let boil 1 minute on each side before flipping over (boil for 2 minutes on each side for a chewier “New York Style” bagel.) After bobbing for bagels, place them back on the oiled cookie sheet for baking.
9. Add toppings to your bagels, if desired. I like to add sesame or sea salt. But the options are endless.
10. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.