post 37 // homemade bagels

hear, hear! homemade bagels! sure, going down to the corner deli and grabbing a bagel is easy when you live in bagel capital of the world. but if you live in a bagel desert or prefer a homemade version, keep moving your eyes down this screen for a week’s worth of heavenly bagel breakfasts, cream cheese not included (but highly recommended).

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as the daughter of a new yorker who lived in brooklyn before it was “brooklyn,” bagels have always been a part of my breakfast appetite. growing up, each trip to visit my aunts and uncles and (many!!) cousins in long island included a very large bagel breakfast with buckets of cream cheese. at home, sunday breakfasts to this day mean bacon and eggs, mopped up and sandwiched between bagels from pumpernickel’s, our quasi-new york deli down the road.

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i’ve always been curious to know how bagels are made. i truly didn’t have a clue until i decided to make them myself. all i could imagine was dipping the bagel dough in seeds or toppings like doughnuts when they’re fresh out of the fryer. and i wasn’t that far off! but there’s a lot more that goes into the dough-making and shaping of bagels before that step. above you can see my bagel dough after it’s been proofed. the dough itself is super simple = flour + salt + water + malt. i’m telling you, you can do it!

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the hardest part is shaping the actual bagels. as you can see, my rolled out dough isn’t *totally* symmetrical. but that’s okay! just attach your two ends together, roll ’em a bit to stick, and no one will care if your bagels are proportional. (this is a bit different if you work in a bakery 🤣.)  next comes the actual making of the bagels. for those of you who didn’t know how bagel dough is baked/cooked/made (like me), it’s first poached in boiling water, dipped in toppings (if necessary), and then baked in the oven. voila! that’s it, you’ve made bagels!

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my favorite part of homemade bagels is the diy toppings! you can add how much, whatever, or absolutely nothing to your bagels. they’re good in every way. i loved coming up with my toppings, mixing classics like sesame and poppy seeds with anything i could think up: lemon zest and sugar becoming my homemade bagel frontrunner.

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once baked, make sure you have cream cheese, butter, lox, jam, whatever your bagel vice is on hand. “fresh out of the oven” is a real thing and you’re going to want one asap.

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beware: once you tell your friends you made homemade bagels there will be lots of visitors to your house. i had friends show up in droves, just “stopping by” because they were “in the neighborhood.” and who doesn’t love bread.

last but surely not least, this week’s other stuff!!

this corgi cake by adrianna of acozykitchen is recipe #goals

my favorite bagel deli in nyc

this song is everything

okay, now go and have a bagel-filled day!!


homemade bagels

makes 8 bagels (slightly adapted from peter reinhart’s whole wheat bagels along with food52’s homemade bagels)

fixings

4 cups bread flour

3 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1 tablespoon barley malt

1 1/3 cup lukewarm water

1 tablespoon baking soda

4 tablespoons of each topping (cinnamon sugar! sesame! poppy! salt! lemon zest!)

cornmeal/semolina flour for baking sheets

special tools

baking sheets

parchment paper

instructions

  1. mix the bread flour, 2 teaspoons salt, yeast, malt, and lukewarm water by hand or with a mixer. either works!
  2. knead your dough on a lightly floured surface for 3-5 minutes. i used a marble board but you can use your counter or a cutting board, just make sure flour is on it. knead until slightly tacky.
  3. shape dough into a ball and plop it in an oiled bowl (just clean and use the same bowl you mixed with). cover bowl tightly with plastic and let rest in a dark, untouched place on your counter for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. in the meantime, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. once the dough has risen and swelled, turn it out onto a (very) lightly floured counter and divide it into 8 pieces. to shape bagels, roll them out into a foot-long log. moisten each end of your log and press the ends together, rolling together so that they stick to each other and seal. put prepared bagels on the parchment paper, at least 1 inch apart. let them rise for 30 minutes!
  6. heat oven to 425 degrees. remove proofed bagels and their parchment paper from the baking sheets. replace sheets with fresh parchment paper and evenly scatter a layer of semolina or cornmeal on sheets.
  7. fill 1/2-2/3 of a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. add baking soda and malt. drop bagel, one at a time, into the water. after 30 seconds, flip over, and after another 30 seconds, remove from water with a slotted spoon and place on the prepared baking sheet. sprinkle topping on bagel right away! repeat until you’re finished poaching all your bagels.
  8. place baking sheets in oven and bake for 12 minutes. rotate your baking sheet and bake for another 8 minutes. great tip from peter reinhart: “If bottoms are getting too brown slide a second baking pan underneath the first one for insulation after first 12 minutes.” remove from oven, let cool (maybe), and feast!

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