Homemade Bagels are in a different league to the usual dry supermarket offerings. They’re also a doddle to make and include some fun boiling! Sprinkle with sesame seeds to make my Sesame Bagels or use the basic recipe to experiment with the flavours to your heart’s content!
Some things I’m not sure I have any locus to riff on and this bagel recipe is one of them. It ain’t broke and I ain’t intending to fix it. Its the Nigella Lawson recipe from How to be a Domestic Goddess. OK, so I changed it a tiny-weeny bit. And I more or less halved the recipe – 15 bagels is a lot but it is easy to double it back up.
I don’t make bread all that often, mostly because I am impatient and there is inevitably waiting around time. I first made these back in Cornwall in around 2005 and they worked perfectly so I’ve made them a few times since. Bagels are one of those things that the homemade version is so far superior to the shop bought variety that you will tell yourself that you will only ever make you own forevermore. That’s utter bull of course but the sentiment is nice although actually these took me under 2 hours from start to finish. If you are in need of a super quick, no knead, no proving required bread, take a look at my Oregano and Chilli Sodabread.
There are a multitude of ways to eat bagels, usually toasted. I am a big fan of the standard ‘plain with butter’, ‘plain with cream cheese’ or my inevitable favourite ‘plain with cream cheese and bacon’ – salty, creamy, tangy and yum! This is clearly a wholly anti-kosher way to treat a jewish bread but as I believe neither in an evil omnipresent fairy controlling our lives or one of the many varieties of best-selling, poorly-translated and over-relied upon ‘ancient’ texts, I am all about the pork, bacon and morality without requiring eternal threats. Gosh sorry that got a bit deep – to summarise, I ain’t kosher and therefore put bacon on my bagel I shall! My Bacon and Cream Cheese Guacamole would make these Bagels into a super awesome brunch dish.
There is a whole school of people who use bagels as a sandwich bread – now I am not usually down with this. Untoasted or even toasted-and-then-cooled bagels are dry as standard. They’re too chewy to blend nicely with their filling (see also: sourdough) and lets be honest, the hole can make things difficult! But! My homemade sesame bagels are much softer and moister than shop bought bagels and lend themselves to being eaten without needing to be toasted and aren’t quite so overly chewy. Not going to lie, the hole thing can still be an issue – just make the hole smaller when shaping if sarnies are your intended end point.
7g Easy/Instant Yeast (or 15g Fresh Yeast)
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
500g of White Bread Flour (and extra for kneading)
2 Tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
300ml Warm Water
1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
- If you have freezer space and are of an organised nature, you could make them in large batches and then freeze them. Make sure to slice them before freezing, they can be prised apart and toasted straight from frozen like that.
- I used my basic model Kenwood Stand Mixer* with the dough hook attachment. This is a recent acquisition however and I made these by hand for years – just think of it as your workout for the day!
Add 7g Easy/Instant Yeast, 1 Tbsp Sugar and 1/2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil to 300ml Warm Water. Stir and set aside.
Combine 500g of White Bread Flour and 2 Tbsp Sea Salt Flakes in a mixing bowl – ideally in a stand mixer with a dough hook.
Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes – it should be a stiff/hard/quite dry dough – add more flour or water to achieve that consistency if needed.
Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 1 hour to prove. It should be well risen and retain the impression of you finger when prodded.
In the meantime, line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and oil the paper.
Once risen, punch the dough down and knead it a little until smooth. Divide the dough in half, half again and then half again to make 8 mounds of dough.
Roll each mound into a ball using the palms of your hands then flatten a little. Poke a hole in the middle and stretch the now doughnut shaped dough – I like to use the spin-it-around-your-index-finger technique.
Lightly cover them and leave each bagel resting on the oiled baking tray for 20 minutes to second prove.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 240c and put a full kettle on to boil. Also fill a large pan with a little water and 2 Tbsp Sugar stirred into it on the hob on a medium/high heat.
Add the now boiled kettle water to the pan and bring to the boil.
Poach each of the bagels in the sugared water for 1 minute – do this in batches commensurate to the size of your pan – do not overcrowd the pan. Turn the bagels once in the water. Replace the bagels back on their oiled baking sheet once poached.
Beat 1 Egg and use a brush to glaze the top and sprinkle the ugly-ass boiled bagels with 1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds.
Bake the bagels for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
Let me know if you agree that these are far superior to shop bought bagels in the comments!
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