"the bagel experiment"

Monday, February 18, 2013

I have always loved bagels but they're just so scarce in Malaysia. But just the other day, I found this place called Cham Bagel Bakery. I bought a garlic bagel with tuna, and it was just so heavenly, I had to have more.

Looks delicious, doesn't it?

So I decided to try my hand at making bagels. I searched for a few decent recipes and adapted a few here and there. Seeing this is purely an experiment, I would say that the bagels turned out pretty good. They tasted just like any plain bagel out there, chewy too, but the shape is a little odd because it was challenging indeed to boil them bagels.

I bet not many of you know that bagels need to be boiled before being baked. It helps with the elasticity and chewiness.

2 tsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour (I substituted with 1 3/4 for both plain flour & wheat flour)
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups warm water

* For toppings you can choose options from oats, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc. This is a recipe for plain bagels.

First you add in the yeast and sugar into the warm water. Don't stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and then stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Slowly incorporate the water, yeast and sugar mixture into the flour and mix everything together with your hands. If needed, you can add more water, teaspoon by teaspoon.

Once everything has formed into a ball of dough, transfer it onto a lightly floured board. Use more flour if mixture is too wet/sticky.

Start kneading the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. This will take up to 10 minutes or so.
When you're done, transfer the dough into an oiled bowl.

Let the dough sit in the bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Leave it in a warm place to sit for one hour.

You will notice that the dough has doubled up in size. Start cutting it into a few small, equal pieces. This recipe makes about 8 bagels.

Start rolling each piece into a ball, then place it onto a baking sheet or a non-stick tray. Dip a finger into flour to make the dents in the middle, or you can make a donut-like hole. I made two versions - the dough with dents turned out to look like buns in the end, which makes it easier for you to slice open and add in some stuffings.

Preheat your oven to 220ºC (425ºF)

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. When the water has started bubbling, reduce the heat and pop in as many bagels as you can into the water. They should start to float within seconds.

Cook them for about 1 minute on each side. (Two minutes per side if you prefer chewier bagels) Use a ladle that has holes to handle your bagels so that the water can drain out easily.

Transfer the boiled bagels back to your baking sheet or tray. If you want toppings on your bagel, this is the time to add it in. Brush the tops with some egg wash and sprinkle your toppings.

If you prefer plain bagels, just proceed to placing your bagels into the oven. Leave it to bake for about 20 minutes.

Once it's browned, you can pop them out and leave them on the rack to cool. Or like me, you can slice one open right away, slather some butter on it and scorch your mouth with some yummy goodness. ;)

Enjoy your homemade bagels! :)

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