• curious-chefs

Homemade Bagels

Updated: May 25

Baked by Sam K

Written by Saki A


Ingredients

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon salt, plus 1 tsp

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 1/2 cups warm water

6 qt water

1 1/2 tablepspons barley malt syrup

1 egg beaten


Optional toppings

garlic, poppy seeds, sesame


Directions

1. In a food processor, combine the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Pulse until incorporated.

2. While running, slowly add the warm water until the dough balls up. You may not need all the warm water.

3. Carefully push the dough back in the blades path and continue to process until the dough is firm and stretch, 30 seconds.

4. Gently round the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp warm towel until the dough has doubled in size, 1 hour.

5. Add the barley malt style to about 6 quarts of water and bring to boil.

6. Place a try with about 2 quarts of water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat to 425F (220C).

7. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 6 equal pieces. Cover the pieces with damp towel.

8. One at a time, form the dough into a ball, pinching the seams together at the bottom. Place the dough seam side down and–cupping your hand over the dough–apply gentle pressure, working the ball in circles until the seams on the bottom are smoothed out. Gently reshape the edges of the ball into a circle.

9. Using your thumb, press down into the center of the ball to the counter. Working in a circle, carefully stretch the dough into a ring until the hole at the center is about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter.

10. Place the dough rings under a damp towel and let rise for 10 minutes.

11. *critical step to make chewy, tasty bagels* Working in batches of two, place the bagels in the boiling water/syrup. They should float at the surface. Let them boil for 30 seconds, then flip and boil for an additional 30 seconds.

12. Remove the bagels from the water/syrup and gently pat dry.

13. Brush the tops with the beaten egg. Optionally, if you want toppings, dip the egg-washed side of the bagel into the mixture of your choice.

14. Place the bagels on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

15. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Why does New York City have the best bagels?

When I visited NYC for the first time, I was that obsessed tourist who looked for the top bagel stores in the city, waited for an hour in line for a single lox-cream cheese smeared bagel, and almost missed the Amtrak home. Like many others, I just wanted to experience the bagel -- crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. But why is it so delicious?


The most critical step in the making of NYC bagels is boiling. Putting them in boiling water from 30 seconds to 3 minutes before baking is sufficient to do the magic. This pre-gelatinizes the starch in the dough, trapping the liquid inside to maintain the chewy texture. The American Chemical Society (ACS) video juxtaposes this boiling process to flash-frying a steak before grilling to seal in the juices.


Why is everyone not boiling the bagels then? The quick answer is that it's easier and faster to skip that step. In modern baking, bakers will often inject the hot steam directly in the oven instead to speed things up. Now that we all have so much time during quarantine, we might as well boil our bagels!




Sources

Recipe adapted from Tasty. https://tasty.co/recipe/homemade-bagels

Why New York has the best bagel in the world (2015). American Chemical Society. Retrieved on 04/19/2020 from https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2015/may/why-ny-has-the-best-bagels-in-the-world-video.html

New York Today: What makes a New York bagel? (Wolfe, 2017). The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/20/nyregion/new-york-today-what-makes-a-new-york-bagel.html






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