Greetings from blizzard hell.
Okay okay, it's not that bad. 19+ inches in one day. But nobody has bothered to plow our neighborhood yet, so commuting to and fro is a little treacherous and gross. And it was super great to trudge through knee deep snow to get to work. So, so fun. [insert poop emoji here.]
Being snowed in has it's benefits, though. Plenty of time to bake yeasty things. I made bagels and pretzel dogs (we'll get to those later this week). And guess what I learned? Bagels are insanely easy to make. I mean, really...it's shocking how little effort is involved.
I can't say these are "traditional" New York style bagels. I don't even know how those differ from normal people bagels. I've had many a NY-style bagel, and yes, they are absolutely delicious. Don't worry, New Yorkers, I'm not here to fight about that. I just don't know precisely how they differ from these. That's all. Either way, these are really tasty. And they probably cost less to make than it does to buy a bag of generic grocery store bagels. And you actually can pronounce all of the ingredients in these. And when was the last time you got to eat a fresh, just-out-of-the-oven bagel?
recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated
22 ounces (about 4 cups) bread flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 TB honey
1 1/2 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water (85 degrees-ish)
3 TB cornmeal
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (and trust me when I tell you, you NEED to use a stand mixer for this recipe), combine flour, salt, and honey.
- Add yeast and water. Mix at lowest speed until dough looks scrappy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Increase speed to medium-low, and mix until dough is cohesive, smooth, and stiff, about 10 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto counter, and divide into 8 equal portions.
- Roll each piece into a smooth ball, cover dough balls with plastic wrap, and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Form bagels: Roll each dough ball into a rope about 11 inches long (try not to taper the ends of the rope). Shape rope into a circle, overlapping ends about 1 1/2 inches. Pinch overlapped ends firmly together, dampening slightly with water if ends won't stick (I didn't have that problem, though). Place ring of dough around your hand at the base of your fingers and, with overlap under your palm, roll dough ring on the counter several times, applying firm pressure to seal the seam. Dough ring should be the same thickness all the way around.
- Alternatively...I tried a few where I totally cheated. I poked a hole through the middle of a dough ball, and rolled/stretched to get the desired shape. This is cheating because you're breaking the gluten strands when you do it, but...Both ways work just fine. I didn't notice any huge difference, aside from shape.
- Dust a rimmed baking sheet with cornmeal, and place dough rings on the sheet. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight (or 12-18 hours).
- Remove dough from refrigerator about 1 hour before baking.
- Heat oven to 425F, with the rack placed in the middle.
- Boil water in a large pot.
- Working with 2 bagels at a time, drop dough rings into boiling water, stirring and submerging with a spoon/skimmer for 35 seconds.
- Remove dough rings from water and place onto a wire rack, bottom side down, to drain.
- Optional: Dip tops of bagels in desired topping (or sprinkle topping over bagels, gently pressing into the top of the bagel with your fingers). I used dried, minced onion, black sesame, and poppy seeds for mine.
- Transfer boiled, drained rings to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp, about 13-18 minutes. Rotate sheet halfway through baking.
- Transfer bagels to a wire rack to cool.
- Can be stored at room temp for up to 3 days, or you can slice them, wrap well in plastic and foil, and freeze them for up to a month.
- Enjoy toasted or untoasted with your favorite toppings!