Sunday, March 02, 2014
Homemade Bagels-The Quick Version
You Will Need:
2 1/2 cups water (room temp is fine)
4 cups Strong (bread) flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
Mix together, cover with cling film, and let soak 30 minutes, to an hour.
Stir into the sponge:
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2-3 or more) cups bread flour to make a very stiff dough.
Knead by hand (because this will kill the gears in a stand mixer-learn from my experience) until smooth. I won't lie-this is work. Divide the dough into about 16 pieces for normal sized bagels. You can go bigger or smaller as you please. Mini-bagels are fun for parties.
Roll into balls as you would for rolls (smoothing as you pull the dough under) and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Cover them with a damp (not wet) towel, and let rest 30 minutes.
Generously oil a baking sheet (or two if need be). Begin shaping your bagels by pushing your thumbs through the centre, then shaping around your fingers as you stretch it into bagel shape. I find this works better than rolling them into a tube shape, and pinching shut, but that's a matter of style. Your bagels-your rules.
Place bagels on baking sheet, and cover lightly with a cloth. Let rise until very light-about an hour, but as long as two depending on the temperature of your kitchen. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cover a baking sheet generously with corn meal, or semolina (polenta-not corn flour, or "starch").
When ready to bake, add 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda to the boiling water. You may need to reduce the heat a bit to keep it from boiling over. Add the bagels a few at a time, bottom side up to the water. After 30 seconds, turn them, and let boil another 30. Remove with a slotted spoon, draining well so that the bagels aren't soaking as they go on the pan. At this point, add any toppings you may like.
When you have completed a tray, bake 5 minutes, then rotate the pan, reduce the heat to 450 degrees F. and bake another 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove to a rack and cool. Some will stick to the pan (that's a given) so have a heavy metal spatula handy to dislodge them. The cornmeal does help, as does getting the water drained.
*If you are a morning person, you can cover the shaped bagels with cling film, and set the trays in the fridge overnight. I would reduce the yeast in the second part of the recipe to a scant teaspoon as well.