“A bagel is a round bread made of simple, elegant ingredients: high-gluten flour, salt, water, yeast and malt. Its dough is boiled, then baked, and the result should be a rich caramel color; it should not be pale and blond. A bagel should weigh four ounces or less and should make a slight cracking sound when you bite into it instead of a whoosh. A bagel should be eaten warm and, ideally, should be no more than four or five hours old when consumed. All else is not a bagel.“-Ed Levine, NYTimes
My first and last real crushes were Jewish. My most recent one is too. If you really want to know, they go by Pretzel, Challah, and Bagel. Sexy, I know. There’s just something in the bread.
As with most crushes, I started with some reconnaissance. I figured, it’s always best to know if it’s even worth getting burnt, right? I’d say 9 times out of 10, it isn’t. Although, I am only 20 and I’ve made a verbal commitment to let loose. So I’m going to make that 7 times out of 10. And I’m going to lower my expectations. But I’m still going to hope for quality and success.
That’s the mentality I had going into this baking venture. And it worked! I was really happy with these bagels. They were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Ideal. No burn. There was very little anyone could do to keep me from eating one right out of the oven. Anyone except the bagel, that is. Think back to the myth about Icarus. Me=Icarus. The bagel=the sun. So I left it alone for about a half hour before I got out my jar of peanut butter, slathered it all over the bagel, and ate it. I know. I kind of bastardized the bagel with peanut butter, but I didn’t have cream cheese or lox! I’ll do right by the bagel next time.
A good bagel is hard to find, so why not make your own?
Ingredients (recipe adapted from Emeril. love the irony)
- 2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
- 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoons vegetable oil
Makes 12 bagels
Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add flour and the salt, and mix until the mixture comes together.
Lightly flour board or surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.
Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Remove from the bowl and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal pieces, roll each ball into a 4 to 6-inch log. Join the ends around four fingers to make a hole. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a lightly greased surface, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease a baking sheet with non-stick spray or oil.
In a large pot, bring about 10 cups of water and remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil, add a couple bagels at a time and boil them in the water for about 30 seconds to a minute on each side. Flip bagels onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan 90 degrees and bake for 15 more.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.