Here’s a fun one, bagels! ‘oh nooooo they must be super hard’ I hear you cry, but fear not! this recipe is beyond simple :)
So, bread. I know bread, you know bread… it’s nice. The basic bread recipe is so unbelievably versatile, the same ingredients that go to make delicious pizza bases also create such delicacies as bagels. Who’d a thunk it? Certainly not my Physics Boy ‘Hey, you know, this recipe is totally like those pizza bases I made’.
It’s all in how you handle the stuff, how much you get the gluten pumped and how you go about baking. Bread science is epic fun!
Onto the bagels (not beagles, which my fingers seem determined to type). Contrary to popular belief, bagels aren’t just a generic bread dough shaped into a ring, no no, they’re a different entity entirely! They should be chewy and soft and squidgy, with a thick consistency (no fluffy white buns here, hell no!). They should also go perfectly with lashings of cream cheese. Unguguhg.
You want them now, right? That image of a toasted bagel with an inch of cream cheese just set your saliva glands going? Ok…
See how simple? I bet you have most of these things in your cupboards already!!
1kg Strong white bread flour (please don’t just use generic plain flour, this doesn’t have the right gluten content and your bagels will end up pathetic and lame)
1x 7g sachet of Easy bake Yeast
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Salt
300-350ml Warm Water
Someone with bigger muscles than you OR a food mixer with dough attachments.
The dough mixture is the simple part, seriously simple. Sieve all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. I’m using my most favourite batter bowl, she’s pretty.
Give them a good mix through. Create a well in the middle of the dry stuffs, you know, just part the dry stuff a bit. Done that? Good, I’d worry if you found that hard…
Righto, the wet stuff. In your measuring jug you need 300ml of luke warm water (luke warm, tepid, not hot… you’ll kill the yeast babies!). In the same jug just add 1tbsp of vegetable oil and 1tbsp of sugar, stir it around a bit.
Dump this whole wet mixture into the dry stuff well, and then get your hand in. AGH sticky! It’s ok, it’ll get better. Just work it baby! Mix it all up good until you have some weird half-dough half-flour monster.
Flour a surface with some of the strong white flour and dump the dough-monster on there, this is where it gets tough. You see that nasty looking dough-monster, with the flaky dry bits and flour falling all from it? Yeah, you need to get that to look like a beautiful smooth doughy lump. KNEAD! KNEAD IT! you really, really have to go for it with this dough. I tried, oh god I tried, but my weak arms were pathetic. I passed it over to the boy after about 5 minutes (this thing needs at least 15 minutes of manual kneading, less if you’re using a machine).
Want me to make it harder for you? Yeaaaaah. You need to add more flour to that dough now. Ouch, sorry. But you do. We did this by just putting more on the surface and continuing to knead it in. This will be this thickest, most elastic dough you’ve ever made. Seriously.
TADA! You should now have a wonderful dough baby. Make it into a ball and then put it into an oiled bowl for an hour for the yeast to work it’s wonders, it should double in size. Go have a beer, play scrabble, I dunno.. something fun.
Oooo see, doubled in size. Poke it, go on… poke it. Did it leave a dimple? Yeah? It’s ready for the next step. Otherwise, leave it longer.
You now need to flatten all that air out of it. Punch it, Chewy!
Now we need to separate the dough into 15 lovely balls, you can do this however you want, but going through a series of fractions will probably work in your favour (split into 3, then split each 3 into 5). You’ll need to use a knife to cut the dough, it’s just way too stiff to pull apart. GLUTEN POWER! Lovely little dough balls, roll them into bagels! like this…
Sausage, wrap and pinch. Repeat this for the whole 15, laying them on a greased baking sheet when you’re done. Preheat your oven to it’s maximum temperature.
Leave your raw bagels for 20 or so minutes to swell up a little, cover them with some kitchen towels to keep them snug. Meanwhile, get a big pan of water on the boil.
This is the fun part, we need to boil the bagels. So, we did this two at a time, which is a good number if you’re only just starting out. They need about 1 minutes worth of boiling on each side. This gives them the lovely shiny appearance of a bagel. Nice. When they’re done, lay them back on the baking trays.
Put the trays into your preheated oven, and after 10 minutes (or when they’re golden brown) you’ll have 15 deliciously homemade bagels!
Oh, if you wanted to add any toppings to them (like sesame seeds, sunflower seeds etc) then do so just after they come out of the boil. Just have a plate with the topping on and kinda plonk it on in there!
Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it? ENJOY!
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