101 in 1001 {III}: 093 learn to make bagels at home [completed 02.22.13]

ye homemade bagels

a few things one should know about making bagels: the process is in no way arduous (a mere hour of rise time! you could decide to make bagels at nine in the morning and be eating them by like 11!*) and virtually idiot-proof, one can sub flours and toppings in and out at will (the heartbreak of poppy seeds between your teeth need never happen again!), and you can eat more than one when you're done (because they're much smaller than the carb bombs you'd buy from someone else, and also listen, you just made your own bagels and can do whatever you want).

this zenlike-in-its-simplicity recipe got to me by way of my college roommate jen, a brutally talented baker who, for example, rejiggered her famous-in-multiple-metropolitan-areas pie crust recipe with algebra and vodka to eliminate the need for crisco (that post features weight, volume, and ABV charts; it's a thing of beauty). she, in turn, picked it up from jennifer reese's make the bread, buy the butter, a book on when cooking from scratch is and isn't worth your time (her blog is here). ye recipe, with my adaptations and notes:

homemade bagels

- 3 1/2 cups flour (i made my first batch with ye olde white flour, and my second with 2 cups white and a cup and a half of whole wheat; both were great)
- 4 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
- 3 tbsp. cane sugar (i used vegan cane sugar)
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt (i kicked this up to more like 5 tsp, as the dough was a bit sweet)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- neutral vegetable oil for greasing (i used a can of pam organic olive oil spray i found at work)
- 2 tbsp. barley malt syrup or dark brown sugar (i had neither and used tupelo honey)
- cornmeal, for sprinkling
- 1 egg

combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. add the water and beat hard for a few minutes. if the dough is too wet, add more flour, but just a bit at a time until you have a stiff dough. knead for 5 minutes. place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a clean, damp towel to rise about one hour and double in size. preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bring a large pot of water to boil. while water is heating, lightly oil one baking sheet and sprinkle another generously with cornmeal. divide dough into 12 pieces.** roll each piece into a ball and stick your thumb through the middle to coax it into a bagel shape. let bagels rest on the greased baking sheet for 10 minutes (or not; i've skipped this step and the bagels don't seem to care). once the water is at a rolling boil, add the brown sugar or barley syrup (or honey). drop the bagels into the water, three at a time. let them simmer for a minute and flip them over to simmer for another minute. remove with a slotted spoon back to the greased baking sheet. repeat with the remaining bagels. move all the boiled bagels to the cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet, flipping them over when putting them down so the drier side sits in the cornmeal. give the top of each bagel a wee egg wash (one beaten egg was enough for the whole dozen), then sprinkle on the toppings of your choice; i used grey sea salt, penzeys dehydrated onions, and five diced garlic cloves.*** bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. serve with cream cheese and the satisfaction of fresh bagels acquired without the application of pants.

we split our first batch of carb DIY with our sweet downstairs neighbor who's been stuck at home since foot surgery a month ago. we brought our second batch along for yupster brunch on our train trip to washington last weekend.

homemade everything bagels on the train to DC

mimosas on the train to DC

yeah, those are faux-bois paper plates and napkins. not pictured: vanilla skyr, my quilting supplies (quilting and homemade bagels on the train: this is how childless cat ladies spend their time), joe biden (though i feel he was there in spirit), the $300 we had to spend on the much-less-genteel ride home on sunday when we missed the 6:20 train by five minutes. but this is not the story of that sadness; this is the story of bagels, and the story of bagels ends happily. go forth.

*if you're baking before nine in the morning, most of this website will not be of use to you.

**the original recipe is for 10 bagels, but i like mine slightly smaller, and, let's be honest, 12 is the best number.

***i am not usually a gadget fan, but my life changed for the better the day i found a garlic chopper at the office. i have and love a microplane, but a chopper is great for dishes which call for bigger chunks and social occasions which don't call for garlicky hands.

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