Bagels are magic. Anyone who knows a thing or two about bread, dough and things yeasty will work out that if you stick a bit of yeast dough into boiling water the yeast will be killed off and there’s no way it can come back to life and rise further in the oven. But bagels do - zombie breads or what?
Well, at least that’s what they do when using this brilliant recipe from Dan Lepard (Short & Sweet – The Best of Home Baking). I tried making bagels several times before I found it, using various respectable sources and invariably, albeit quite tasty, they were flat as pancakes, no rise in the oven, zombie factor not working.
I have modified the recipe slightly to give them a slow and low rising, much better with a lot of breads – and pizza! Give them a try and you save about £3k not having to travel to New York or Montreal for a decent bagel.
- Makes 10
- 500g strong bread flour
- 10g fresh yeast*
- 2 tsp. fine salt
- 1 tbsp. caster sugar
- 275g** warm water
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- a little oil for kneading
- 50g malt extract or brown sugar
- sesame and poppy seeds
The night before you want to bake the bagels, combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and crumble in yeast. Add water and vinegar and mix briefly. Let it stand for 10 minutes, then add a few drops of oil and repeat the kneading and resting a couple more times. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge overnight. It will rise impressively.
The following morning bring the dough to room temperature (about 2 hours) and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide into ten pieces, shape them into balls and leave covered with a tea towel for 20 minutes.
In the meantime heat up the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7 and put a large pan of water on to boil. Add the malt extract, then make holes in the bagels by sticking a finger in the middle of a ball and stretching outwards. Drop into the boiling water immediately after shaping, two or three at a time.
Boil for 30 seconds, flip over and give them another 30 seconds. Take them out onto a tray covered with oiled parchment, sprinkle with seeds and bake for 15-20 minutes until nicely browned.
*I use fresh yeast whenever I can but fast action yeast works as well. The rule of thumb: 1 tsp of fast action yeast = 10g fresh
**It really is the easiest and fool proof way to weigh out your water amounts rather than measure in millilitres. I mean – you have to use the scales anyway, no?