Best Bagels for Brunch

Best Bagels for Brunch

Alliteration aside, nothing beats fresh, awesome homemade bagels. This recipe may seem complicated the first time you make it, but really it’s pretty simple. By the second time, you’ll be a pro!

Ingredients (dough):

  • 1 T barley malt syrup
  • 1 t instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C (plus 2 T) warm water (about 95 degrees)
  • 3 1/2 C bread flour

Note: you can find barley malt syrup at a natural foods store or online at Amazon.

Note: you’ll want to make the dough the night before.

To make the dough, stir the malt syrup, yeast into the lukewarm water (about 100 degrees) and let stand for about 5 minutes. Place the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and pour in the malt syrup mixture. Use the dough hook on your mixer and mix on the lowest speed for 3 minutes. The dough should form a stiff, coarse ball. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Resume mixing with the dough hook on the lowest speed for another 3 minutes. The dough should be stiff yet supple, with a satiny, barely tacky feel.

Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge overnight. Loosely press the plastic wrap around the top of the dough ball – this will help prevent a crusty top to the dough.

Ingredients (poaching liquid):

  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 T barley malt syrup
  • 1 T baking soda
  • 1 t salt

The next morning, pour yourself a good cup of coffee and get ready for some awesome chewy bagels! Get the bowl of dough out of the fridge and turn it out on your work surface.

Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a loose ball by rolling it on a clean, dry work surface with a cupped hand.

When you’re ready to shape the bagels, prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone mat, then misting it with spray oil or lightly coating it with oil.

To get the bagel shape, poke a hole through the center of the ball. Holding the dough with both thumbs in the hole, rotate the dough with your hands, gradually stretching it to create a hole about 2 inches in diameter. It’ll seem like a large hole, but the dough will pull itself back into a more reasonable shape.

Place each shaped bagel on the prepared sheet pan, then mist with spray oil or brush with a light coating of oil.

Check whether the bagels are ready for baking using the “float test”: place one of the bagels in a small bowl of cold water. If it sinks and doesn’t float back to the surface, shake it off, return it to the pan, and wait for another 15 to 20 minutes, then test it again. When one bagel passes the float test, they’re all ready to be boiled. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

To make the poaching liquid, fill a pot with 3 quarts of water, making sure the water is at least 4 inches deep. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain at a simmer. Stir in the malt syrup, baking soda, and salt.

Gently lower each bagel into the simmering poaching liquid, adding as many as will comfortably fit in the pot. They should all float to the surface within 15 seconds. After 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to turn each bagel over. Poach for another 30 to 60 seconds, then use the slotted spoon to transfer it back to the pan.

Now it’s time to put toppings on your bagels. We make savory “everything” bagels – for us, that’s onion (we use dried onion bits and rehydrate in water for about 20 minutes first), corse kosher salt and poppy seeds. Make a quick egg wash of one egg white and one T of water – whisk until smooth. Brush the top of each bagel with the wash and sprinkle on the toppings.

Transfer the pan of bagels to the oven, then lower the oven heat to 450 degrees.

Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and check the underside of the bagels. If they’re getting too dark, place another pan under the baking sheet. Bake for another 8 to 12 minutes, until the bagels are a golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.

We enjoy ours with onion and chive cream cheese and smoked lox-style salmon. Simply amazing!

Adapted from: Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

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