Never would I have ever attempted to make bagels, except for the extra time I am now finding. This is not exactly a simple, quick meal but given the fact that “everything” bagels are something I do enjoy, I felt it deserved a bit of my time.
There is a history behind this wonderful, round bread. While a bagel is accurately a “round bread” with a hole in the middle, it actually is more than that. When there is a history linked to food, you know I’m there diving right in the center of its secrets. According to Maria Balinska, author of “The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread, “bagels are mentioned in written records from Krakow as early as 1610, and a similar-looking Polish bread called obwarzanek dates back to 1394. Ring-shaped breads have a long history in other countries, too: Italy has taralli and ciambelle, and China has girde.” Though this wasn’t new to some countries, in the United States, bagels didn’t arrive until the late 19th century; but bagels didn’t become widespread until the mostly niche Jewish market pushed its deliciousness out in the 1970s.
Of course, for me, I don’t recall ever laying eyes on one until much later. With its lengthy steps in baking, I can understand fully why it’s been an obscure, mostly store-bought bread most would elect to purchase rather than home bake. As with any homemade baked good, making it at home lends to the authenticity and deepens the fresh and unmistakable delicious flavor. And for your tasting pleasure, I am here to offer a very simplified and doable recipe that might entice you to dive right into this endeavor.
Fierce and loyal critics all conclude the same spirit when it comes to the texture of an authentic bagel. It must be cool and chewy and subject your jaw muscles to a healthy workout.
Traditionally, bagels are boiled before they’re baked and that gives it a tougher, but sturdy and delicious texture experienced bagel eaters have come to expect. However you enjoy your favorite bagel, here is a blueberry bagel I’ve made for your save-the-recipe experience.
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet active dry yeast (21/4 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons sugar
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
1 cup blueberries
Grease a large bowl with cooking spray. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, add water and sugar and sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, salt, malt syrup, blueberries and yeast mixture. Mix on medium speed until dough is smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in prepared bowl and cover with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. Place dough on a floured surface and divide dough into 10 equally sized portions. Roll each portion into a smooth ball, then poke your index finger through the middle and stretch dough with your finger to create a ring. Place bagels on prepared baking sheet. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 425 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and grease well with cooking spray. Unwrap bagels, cover with a kitchen towel, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Working in batches of 2 to 3 at a time, add bagels to boiling water. Boil for 1 minute then flip and boil on other side for 1 minute more. Remove from water and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake until deeply golden, about 25 minutes.