The first time I ate bagels was probably around 8 years ago, when Au Bon Pain just opened, and it was the new 'in' thing. I fell in love with it the first time I had it toasted and slathered with thick layer of the accompanying cream cheese. The slight chewy, yet crunchy texture of the bagel, and the creaminess of the cream cheese was absolutely satisfying. I was a fan of Au Bon Pain's bagel for a long while, until they started stinging on their cream cheese. It was not until I came to Melbourne that my cravings for bagels started again. I usually get my stash of bagels fresh from Victoria market instead of the ones at the supermarket. After reading this easy bagel recipe online, I decided to try it out.
3 ¾ cups unbleached All purpose flour
2 ¼ teaspoon Active dry yeast (1 sachet)
1 ¼ - ½ cup water
3 tablespoon sugar, and 1 more tablespoon for boiling the bagels
2 ½ teaspoon salt
This recipe is for plain bagels, if you would like other toppings such as sesame seeds or poppy seeds, feel free to add them after the bagels are boiled, and before you place them in the oven.
Mix 1 and ¼ cup of warm water with the yeast, then add a teaspoon of sugar and leave to proof for 5-10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar and salt together, then add in the proofed yeast mixture. Knead the dough until well kneaded and cover it with a cling film and leave to proof for 1 hour. After 1 hour, check whether the dough has proofed by pressing the dough with two fingers. If the dent holds its shape, then the dough is well proofed. If the dent bounces back immediately, then it needs more time to proof. If the dough collapse, then it has been proofed too long and need to be rekneaded and reproof.
Knead the proofed dough to get rid of the air and divide the dough into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a small ball shaped dough, and make a hole in the middle of the dough and swing into a ‘donut’ shaped. Make the hole quite big (big enough to fit three fingers) as the hole tends to shrink as the dough proofs. Leave the dough to proof for another 10 min, making sure they are covered to prevent them from becoming dry. Preheat the oven at 200 degree Celsius.
Boil each side of the dough in boiling water (with 1 tablespoon of sugar) for 20 seconds. Be careful not to boiling them for too long as this will result in a tough and chewy texture at the bagel’s ‘skin’. Brush the boiled bagels with a mixture of egg white and water to give the bagels a shiny touch.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and sprayed with oil. Place the boiled bagels on top and bake for 20-25 min or until golden brown.
I forgot to brush my bagels with egg white before baking them, hence they didn't have the 'shiny' finish. These bagels might not taste as good or look as nice as the ones the commercially made ones, but I'm proud of them as I can happily say that I've made bagels before!