What could be better than waking up to a Christmas morning breakfast of homemade bagels (with smoked salmon and cream cheese)? Not much if you ask me!
If you’ve ever had a bagel from New York City, you know that they are’t anything like the bagels that you can get at the grocery store or at chain bagel bakeries. My grandparents used to bring bagels from NYC with them when they would come visit, and it was always a huge production. The bagels weren’t bready. Instead, a crispy outer crust encases a soft, chewy center. I’ve been able to find a few good approximations at independent bagel bakeries in other cities (DC has a good one; Albany, sadly, does not), but now… I can make them at home. And so can you!
I know what you’re thinking – but I promise that these are a lot easier to make than you (or I!) would ever imagine. They’re virtually fool-proof. You can make them on a lazy afternoon with simple ingredients that you likely have on hand. And once you have a bite of one, you’ll be hooked. Trust me.
I made a dozen mini-bagels, which I found were the perfect size for breakfast. I left six plain and topped six with coarse sea salt, which is my favorite. You could also top yours with dehydrated garlic or onion, sesame or poppy seeds, or anything else that suits your fancy.
For not being loaded with chemicals and preservatives, I found that they kept really well, although the salt ones did get a little soggy when I stored them. (They still tasted great once I toasted them, but just a word of warning if you’re planning to serve these to guests.) You can store the bagels on the counter in an airtight container for about 5 days. You can also freeze them for longer-term storage – just slice in half and freeze individually on a cookie sheet before throwing them in a freezer bag. You’ll end up with bagel halves that can be popped right into the toaster whenever you’d like.
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1-1/2 Tbs sugar
- 1-1/4 cup warm water
- 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs baking soda
- 1 egg yolk
- Optional: Assorted toppings (ex. coarse sea salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dehydrated garlic, etc)
Add sugar and yeast to 1/2 cup warm water, without stirring. Let sit for five minutes, then stir until dissolved.
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and our in the yeast mixture along with half the remaining water. Begin to mix, adding more water as needed to form a firm dough.
On a floured counter, knead for 20 minutes (I know its a long time, consider it your arm workout for the day). Cover and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled. Punch down and let sit another 10 minutes.
Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. To form the bagel, dip your pointer finger into some flour and poke it through the middle of the ball to form a rind. Stretch it out so that the hole is about 1/3rd the diameter of the bagel. Continue with remaining pieces. Set on a cookie sheet, cover, and let sit for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the baking soda to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Working in batches, add about 3 bagels to the boiling water. They should float to the top almost immediately. Let boil 2 minutes, then flip over and let boil 3 minutes on the other side. Remove and return to cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.
While the bagels are boiling, combine the egg yolk with 2 Tbs water. Brush over the bagel as you remove them from the pot. Sprinkle with any toppings that you desire (but brush with the egg wash even if you aren’t using toppings).
Heat oven to 450. Bake bagels for 10-15 minutes or until the bagels are a light golden color.
Approx. 140 calories, 0.5 grams fat, 1 gram fiber, 4 grams protein