"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Alright, folks.  Today's recipe is a serious treat.  One that I wish I'd discovered years ago...because just think of all the time I've done without this one.  The very thought fills me with sadness.

Okay, kidding.  Little flair for the dramatic there.

Here's what we're making today:

Homemade Bagels.  With our trusty bread machine.  And Oh.  My.  Word.  These are actually bagels. These are not glorified rolls with holes in the center, that we're optimistically dubbing bagels. The texture is spot-on.  Just the perfect density; lovely and chewy on the inside, crusty on the outside.  I am beside myself about these bagels, truly.

I can't help but lament the fact that I didn't discover this recipe years ago, back when we lived in New Zealand.  There I was, heavily pregnant, and I mean heavily, largely, huuuuugely pregnant, overcome by an obscene craving for bagels.  And no bagels to be had.  That's rough, people.  I tried to make my own, with a recipe or two, with no success.  Those fetal cravings went unmet.  Tragic, I know.  But now, I've got it.  And if any of you are experiencing similarly overwhelming bagel lust, and dwelling in a bagel-free zone, have no fear.  I'm here to help.

This recipe comes from Rustic European Breads from your Bread Machine.  A massive find I happened upon at the library, and now absolutely must own.  Every recipe I've tried from this book has turned out great.  That doesn't usually happen with breadmaking books.  At least not in my twisted little world.

Bagels - adapted from Rustic European Breads
 - makes 8 bagels

1 1/3 cups warm water
3 tsp kosher salt
3 Tbs sugar
4 tsp bread machine yeast (I use Red Star Active Dry Yeast, not bread machine, and it's perfect)
3 1/2 cups bread flour

2 quarts boiling water
2 Tbs malt syrup *

* The recipe states, emphatically, to use malt syrup, no substitutions.  I, however, tend to chafe at rigid instruction, so of course I substituted...because of course, I had no malt syrup.  I used 1 Tbs maple syrup, and they were lovely.  Do what you feel is right.  Follow the rules.  Or rebel a little.  Your choice.*

Place the ingredients (except boiling water, and malt syrup) in your bread machine pan according to your machine's instructions.  Set for the dough cycle, if you have it.  Otherwise, just let the machine do the kneading work for you, stop the cycle, and leave the dough to rise for one hour.

Toward the end of the rising time, bring a large pot of water, with the syrup, to a boil, and preheat the oven to 425 deg F.  Lightly grease a large cookie sheet, and sprinkle with cornmeal.

When the dough is finished rising, turn it out onto a lightly floured board, and knead a couple of times to deflate any air bubbles.  Evenly divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.  (I use my dough scraper and cut the dough in half, then each half in half again, etc.  Equal parts, easy peasy.)  Roll each piece of dough into a ball, and flatten slightly.  With your thumb, or fingers, poke a hole through the middle of the ball.  Pull and stretch the dough until it's roughly donut-sized.  The dough will pull back in a bit, so stretch it a little larger than you'd like the final product to be.

Adjust the heat under the boiling water to a low boil.  Gently drop 4 bagels into the water, and allow to boil for 30 seconds.  Using a skimmer, or slotted spoon, flip them over and boil for another 30 seconds.  Remove and drain on a clean towel, while you boil the other 4 bagels.

Place the drained bagels on the baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for 11 minutes.  Working quickly, remove the sheet from the oven, flip the bagels over, and bake for another 11 minutes.  This is key to the crust-to-chew ratio, as the recipe states.  And I did listen on this one.

After 22 minutes, the bagels will be lightly browned and shiny.  If not, continue baking for another minute or so, but watch carefully so they don't burn.  Cool for at least 10 minutes on a rack.

Gorgeous, aren't they?  These are best eaten the day they're made (obviously), but will keep in a plastic bag for a day or two.  Keep it simple and serve with some cream cheese, or make it more of a meal with some smoked salmon, or fresh veggies.  Yum.

I'm looking forward to trying a few adaptations on this recipe this weekend, for brunch.  And I'm going to be testing my claim of authenticity on East Coasters...New Yorkers, in fact.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Go make some bagels!

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