Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Poppy Seed Bagels Made at Home

It is hard to find a good bagel (her father would say you have to be in New York City to find a true good bagel). In Germany, the choices are very limited. Recently a few shops have opened that sell sandwiches on bagels, but they are quite expensive and do not sell individual bagels to take home. Most supermarkets have packaged bagels here but they are decent at best. Since we moved to Frankfurt we have not been able to find even decent bagels. The packaged  bagels sold at the supermarket near us are more like rolls with a hole cut in the middle. Way too fluffy and squishy to be called a true bagel.

We both love bagels, especially him. A little cream cheese and some lox and you have a meal for anytime of day. That is the reason why we decided to give a go to making our own bagels. In comparison to the bagels we get here, our result was delicious and much cheaper. Were they perfect New York Style bagels? No. But we have time to perfect that :)

6-8 bagels:

1 cup warm water
1 packet of active dry yeast (about 1/4 oz. / 7 g)
2.5 Tbs sugar
2.5-3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vegetable oil
Toppings of choice - we used poppy seeds but you could also try sesame seeds, kosher salt, or toasted onions.

Combine the warm water (about 110 F or 43 C) with the yeast and 1.5 Tbs sugar (not all the sugar!). Give it a little stir and let it sit until foamy, about five minutes.

Add 2 cups of flour and the 1 tsp salt slowly. Mix until everything comes together.

Add another 1/2-3/4 cups of flour, only about 1/4 cup at a time. Mix between each addition and stop when the dough has become stiff.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky (you might need to add a little more flour to get to this stage). This will take about five minutes so plan to build your muscles!

Grease a bowl with the 1 tsp of oil. Make the dough into a ball, roll it around the bowl to get it greased, and then let it sit, covered, in a dry and warm place for one hour. The dough should double in size during this hour.

Ours got huge!

Remove the dough from the bowl, punch down and divide into 6-8 pieces. Each piece should weigh about 2-3 oz. (57-85 g). Form each piece of dough into a ball, then stick your thumb through the ball to make a hole.Wiggle your thumb around so the hold stays open even after your finger is removed.

(Another option is to roll each piece of dough out into a 6 inch (15 cm) log and then make a circle out of it, putting the ends together. We think this is too much work and does not make as nice looking bagels).

Place the dough balls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and cover with a clean cloth. Let sit out for 20-30 minutes. The dough should once again rise but this time not double in size.

During this time you can preheat the oven to 400 F (205C).

When the dough is almost finished rising, heat a large put with about 12 cups (almost 3 liters) of boiling water. Add the remaining (1 Tbs) sugar to the water.

In batches you feel you can handle (we did two at a time), place the bagels into the water and let boil for about 1 minutes on each side.

Remove the bagel from the water, dip the top into a shallow bowl with the topping of your choice, and then place on a lightly greased cookie sheet or sheet pan.

Once all bagels have been boiled, bake for 35 minutes. Toward the end (last five minutes) you may want to flip the bagels to get the bottoms nice and brown.

Enjoy fresh or keep up to a week in an air-tight container.

We love our bagels with cream cheese and lox or as the bread for a breakfast or normal lunch sandwich.

This recipe was adapted from Emeril Lagasse, 2002.

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