Having moved to Chennai, one of the foods I miss the most are bagels. Indians seem to be able to make many many kinds of different breads, but have yet to try their hands at bagels. The few I have been able to get my hands on have tasted more like bread and less like bagels.
I found this recipe on Cafe Fernando, who in turn had tried it from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. That book is definitely on my must-buy list after trying this recipe. The bagels turned out chewy on the inside and exactly how I remembered a bagel!
(recipe originally from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart)
Makes 12 large bagels
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour (I used all purpose)
- 2 1/2 cups water at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 3 3/4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour (I used all purpose)
- 2 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon malt syrup OR honey OR brown sugar (I used brown sugar)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting the pan
- Toppings for the bagels such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, dried minced garlic or onions
Combine all the ingredients for the sponge. Cover and let it rise for 2 hours. It will become frothy and light. When you shake it, it should collapse.
Add the ingredients for the dough to the sponge and stir to combine. The dough will be drier than bread dough but should not have any dry flour. Empty the dough onto a kneading surface and knead for about 10 minutes. The dough should pass the window pane test.
The window pane test can be done by cutting off a small portion of the dough. Keep stretching and pulling the dough so that just a small membrane is left in the center - and basically when held up to the light, the dough should be able to be thin enough that the light shows through. The dough should not tear - if it does, continue kneading for a few more minutes and perform the test again.
Divide the kneaded dough into 12 equal sized balls and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rest for 20 minutes. They would've risen slightly by then.
To shape the bagels, there are two methods. I followed the second. Make a hole in the center by poking your thumb through and then spin the dough around your thumb until you get a pretty uniform size.
Place the shaped dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 20 minutes. Next the dough will "retard" in the refrigerator overnight. To know when the dough is ready to retard, drop one of them into a bowl of cool water - if it floats or swims up to the surface in 2 seconds, then it's ready. If it doesn't, allow it to rest for a further 10 minutes. Store them in the refrigerator for the night, covered in plastic wrap.
This is an easier day! And you get to eat those bagels!
Take the bagels out and let them rest on the counter. Preheat the oven to 250 deg C. Put a large stock pot of water to boil. Add the baking soda to the water. I'm not really sure how the baking soda helps and I felt a tiny aftertaste which I think is the baking soda, so maybe I'll reduce the amount next time.
When the water is boiling, drop in 3-4 bagels at a time. Allow it to cook for 3 minutes (flipping them after 2 minutes). If you like them less chewy, boil for only 1-2 minutes.
Take them out in a slotted spoon and place on a baking tray dusted with semolina flour. Sprinkle the bagels with the toppings as soon as they come out of the water. Repeat for all the bagels. I used white poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and herb mix and some were plain.
Put the trays into the oven and reduce the temperature to 230 deg C. Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the pans in the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes (mine took another 20 minutes) to get it to the desired color. Remove and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
The bagels were chewy and delicious. And tasted great the next day, toasted with cream cheese. They also freeze very well. Just store them in ziploc bags and when you need them, put them directly into a preheated toaster oven.
This is for Susan @ Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.
To know what my marathoners are doing, check out their lovely blogs:
DK, Siri, Srivalli, Ranji, PJ, Curry Leaf, Medha, Priya, Bhawna, Raaji, Ruchii, Kamala, Roopa, Divya Kudua, Rekha, Divya, Lakshmi, Raaga, Lakshmi, Sripriya, Viji, Kamalika and Pavani.