Savoury Bagels – Fresh and home made

By Fongolicious - November 26, 2012

Home alone on a week night. I had all good intentions to do nothing! Spend some quality time with my sofa and the TV. Maybe bring some popcorn to the party. It started off well. Cooking shows! Yah – then Poh comes on. Which is great, coz I love her shows. She started showing how she makes bagels. Then I got a hankering! Then I got motivated – next thing you know I'm kneading the dough, then while it was proving, I've rushed off to the supermarket to get cream cheese. Coz you can't have bagels without cream cheese.

It didn't take me long, though there were a few steps, and now I know what to do, I'll probably get it done faster. They turned out beautifully. Probably not as gigantic as the cafe/store bought ones. But definitely better than the Aussie stuff you get, though I don't have much competition here. I'm far from opening my own New York bagel shop with ten kagillion cream cheese flavours – but this definitely curbs my urge to get on a plane for 21 hours just to get a NY bagel.

So thanks to Poh and TV – I have a) learnt how to make bagels, b) made bagels, c) enjoyed a lovely fresh bagel dinner, lunch the next day and snacks in between. Definitely something I'll be making again – perhaps I'll try different versions, including sweet ones. 

If you want to see how Poh makes it, here is the link. I've stuck pretty close to her recipe – the only change I made were the toppings, and no Swiss cheese.

7g dried yeast (1 sachet, 2 tspn)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2/3 cup (170ml) warm milk (soy milk or water for the vegans and dairy intolerant folks out there)
4 cups (450g) plain flour, sifted
2 ½ teaspoons salt
3/4 cup (180ml) warm water + extra if needed (about bath warm)
1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
2-3 tablespoons of lightly toasted sesame, poppy seeds, dried herbs, cheese and/or nigella seeds (or any topping you wish)

1. Mix together yeast, sugar and milk in a small bowl, cover and set aside for 10 minutes or until the surface of the mixture is covered in bubbles.

2. Combine flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and add yeast mixture and warm water. Mix and knead until smooth and elastic, for about 7 minutes.

Tip: You should not need to flour the bench for this. If it is the right consistency, the dough should only stick to itself. If it feels a little dry or wet, add 1 tablespoon of water or 1 tablespoon of flour and knead until smooth. I found it was a little dry at first but I kept kneading and it came together without having to add more water. And kneading for this long is necessary. You'll noticed the dough’s consistency change and becomes very smooth.

3. With a knife, divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and cover with damp tea towel. Knead each piece very briefly then roll into a sausage 2.5cm in diameter or long enough to form a doughnut shape. Squash 2.5cm of one end of the sausage. You can dust the bottom of the palm of your hand with a little flour if the dough is very sticky but I didn't need to do this. Bring it around to meet its tail, so it forms a doughnut, overlapping the tail end onto the flattened end. Then pull the flattened dough up from either side of the tail to meet on top and pinch into a seam to secure the tail in place. Flip the bagel over and comment on how awesome it looks. (Yes I actually did this too!) Cover with a moist tea towel and rest on baking tray(s) lined with baking paper leaving some room between them, for about 15 – 20 minutes. This allows the bagels to prove. I put the tray somewhere warm, like near there TV. If your bagels seem not to be proving very well, zap your moist tea towel in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or until the towel feels lukewarm to touch. Repeat when the towel feels cool again.

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These big fluffy pillows are my proving bagels

Boiling the pillows - I mean bagels

4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add the risen bagels, boiling in batches of 3 to 4 for 1 minute on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and rest on clean tea towel to absorb residual moisture. Don't be alarmed, at this stage they will look slightly deflated and dimply. Return to trays lined with parchment. Brush generously with egg wash and sprinkle with toppings of choice on top. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Allow to cool slightly and serve. Some serving suggestions include:
  • Cream cheese & chives
  • Pastrami and Swiss cheese
  • Salmon, cream cheese and capers
  • Plain toasted with butter

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