November 5, 2014

BAGELS!

Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Let me start off my saying that I'm from New Jersey and we know how to make a good bagel. Bagels are boiled, then baked, and they come from individual bagel shops - not chains. I would rather just not eat a bagel than eat one from Bruegger's Bagels or Dunkin' or whatever. Bagels are an art - they can't be mass produced! 

The problem with living in Massachusetts is that you just can't find a good bagel up here (or pizza crust! But more on that in another long, exhaustive, ranting post). Maybe it's the water, maybe it's the technique, but it's definitely the fact that they have weird bottom crusts and aren't fluffy and chewy and MA doesn't really have individual places that do BAGELS and that's it. Yes, a new place called Bagelsaurus just opened and I saw a few pictures and they looked pretty legit and have an adorable logo and store name but ONE store does not a bagel state make. Sure, not eating bagels everyday has been good for my waistline but sometimes you just NEED that carby goodness so I tried making them myself. Although these aren't the best, they will do until my next trip home to the tri-state area. 

NYC-Style Bagels
Recipes combined from The Sophisticated Gourmet and A Beautiful Mess.
Makes 8 bagels
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
    • This is to activate the yeast. If it's too hot, it will kill the yeast but too cold and it won't activate it. The water should be about 110 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, use your inner arm to test the temperature. It should be tolerable, like a nice hot bath
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg 
    • For an egg wash to get seeds to stick
  • Toppings: poppy seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion flakes, garlic powder, kosher salt, cinnamon, raisins, whatever you like
Directions:
Combine the yeast and sugar in bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the hot water and stir to just combine. Set aside in a warm area so it can activate. If it hasn't bloomed after 10 minutes, it won't so start over! I bought alot of yeast packets in case this happened (and it did). Bloomed yeast should look like this:
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
While the yeast is activating, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Once the yeast is done bubbling up, add it to the flour mixture. Stir until the dough becomes "shaggy" like below:
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes elastic-like and soft. Kneading by hand is hard and it will take awhile but the effort is worth it! The better you knead, the less tough your bagels will be. I didn't knead my for long enough, honestly. 
Form the dough into a ball and put it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it and let it proof (rise) for an hour in a warm place. After an hour, punch it down and let it rest for another 10 minutes. 
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
On a floured countertop, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces as best as you can. Work the dough into a bagel shape and poke your finger through the center to make a hole. Here, I worked cinnamon into 3 of the dough balls before shaping them. After you form the bagels, let them sit for a few minutes. 
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Preheat the oven to 425. While the bagels are sitting, boil some water in a medium sized saucepan. Carefully drop bagels one at a time into the boiling water, cooking them for about a minute on each side. Fish them out with tongs or a spider/ladle.
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Place the boiled bagels onto a baking sheet lined with a bit of cooking spray. Use an egg wash, brush a layer onto each bagel then sprinkle on seeds, etc.
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Bake the bagels at 425 for about 20 minutes. 
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
Cut open, shmear, and enjoy!
Bagels | hardparade.blogspot.com
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