Bagels, a staple in my household growing up, well not really, that was buckwheat pancakes. BUT, on vacations with the family and friends we would have tons of bagels on hand. Always the gummy ones in the blue or green plastic bags that you left in the fridge. The only time my dad and I would go out for a nice bagel was to Einstein Bagels.
To go back in time – I have always been an odd duck- with odd goals in life. Some of those would be: hike the Great Wall of China, learn Italian, write a book, make pasta, and boil a bagel! In my brand new home that became an actual doable idea. Now, I am not sure why I didn’t try any of the many years I had a kitchen at my disposal. I think the main reason was because my bread making skills didn’t come in until I was in my early twenties. My father is a really good baker and in an odd way I believe that genetically those bread making skills finally hit puberty and I became a better baker.
The benchmark is and only ever was the New York bagel. High stacks for someone who has never made a bagel in their life and the only connect to New York I have is my family came through Ellis Island at one point. So, no claims to fame over here. I did tons of research on the right flour, how long to rise, the proper method of making the iconic hole. I begin this ‘hole’ adventure 24 hours before I can even eat them.
The recipe I used and have used time and time again because I find the instruction and photos are perfect for my needs is by Baking Sense. I have to give credit where credit is deserved! To prepare the dough you have to go through two rises before shaping them into the shape we all know and love.
The two hole methods. 1: poke and spin OR 2: coil and loop.
I did option number two. Of all the reading I did, which I do not know to necessarily be true or authentic, said that the coil and loop is more NY than the poke and spin. Can you guess which I did?
This photo is after the overnight cool rise. Of course, there are plenty of recipes out there where you can find a one day, one hour rise for bagels, but what I find with baking is the longer it takes the better the bake is. They have become very puffy over the course of the night in the fridge and are ready to boil! One of the coolest things to me is that a type of popular bread needs to be boiled before you can eat. It goes against every known idea of baking bread. To put a raw piece of dough in a pot of water? What?
Our water is a mixture of molasses and salt, some people will say sugar or malt syrup but you can decide what you want and what you have on hand. Finding malt syrup was a wasted day of driving to every grocery store in town, mind you we have TWELVE different companies. Once satisfied with my options, Josh and I got to work. He was in charge of keeping the time and flipping the bagels. After they have been fully boiled that is when you seasons the dough right before it goes into the oven.
This recipes yields two dozen bagels. I am of the rational that you should go big or go home. What was I going to do with that many bagels? Well, I naturally thought, variety. We had Everything which is by far the best bagel you can get. For those who haven’t developed taste buds yet, you have the plain bagel. To all the sweethearts out there, cinnamon sugar. You have a thing for the spice for life? Jalapeno red pepper bagels.
Bagels, a fun weekend of new experiences that ultimately brought people together. With these bagels warm and ready to enjoy we invited our families over to enjoy a brunch on our deck. The final step to any bagel eating fun is to lather it up in your favorite schmear, now as one of those who doesn’t like cream cheese I have plenty of alternative schmears. Yes, yes I can hear you all groan, frown, and feigned shook. So for all those people out there, don’t be ashamed! Join me on that toasted butter, peanut butter, jelly, jam, cheese and yes, avocado.
To all of those enjoying your bagel morning, noon, or night; schmear it!