My effort at producing multigrain bagels two weeks ago was less successful than I’d hoped (I deleted that blog post) so my challenge last Wednesday, before Thanksgiving, was to perfect a chewy bagel that would rival those from the best bagel bakeries of my youth.
Once again I turned to a recipe from the NYT Cooking site for inspiration, and found a recipe for Montreal Bagels, chewy and with a hint of sweetness. I was surprised to find the dough contained elements of a challah – sweetener and eggs – albeit in lesser proportion to the flour – and required only two very short rises before their boiling bath and baking.
I made several adjustments to the NYT recipe, making 9 large bagels versus 18 small ones, reducing the baking time to prevent burning of the undersides, using less honey in the dough From start to finish, this took about 1-1/2 hours, and the verdict was unanimous – best bagels we’ve ever had.
adapted from NYT Cooking site
1-1/2 cups room temperature water
14 grams SAF Instant yeast (or 2 packets other instant yeast)
1 tsp sugar
2-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup vegetable oil + a bit more for greasing bowl
2/3 cup honey divided
5-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour (or other bread flour)
3 quarts water for boiling
sesame and/or poppy seeds for sprinkling on top
Stand mixer with 5-quart bowl and dough hook
A separate large bowl
Heavy wooden spoon or spatula
2 rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper
A bread board or similar work surface
Kitchen scale – very helpful if you have one to make the bagels equal size
Large slotted spoon
- In the large mixing bowl of stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, sugar and salt. Stir in the egg and egg yolk, oil and 1/3 cup of the honey and mix well by hand.
- Add 5 cups of flour one cup at a time, stirring by hand, and then knead with the dough hook to form a soft, supple dough (about 8 minutes). Add remaining 1/2 cup of flour a couple of minutes into the kneading.
- Lightly grease another large bowl with oil and use a spatula to turn the dough out into it. Cover tightly with plastic and let rest 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring the 3 quarts water and remaining 1/3 cup honey to boil, then reduce and cover to keep simmering until you’re ready to use. Preheat oven to 450º.
- Punch down the dough and remove it to bread board. The dough should weigh about 1300 grams. Divide it into 9 equal pieces, about 145 grams each.
- Roll each piece into a ball, flatten slightly and poke a hole through the middle with your thumb. Work the dough around the whole with your fingers to enlarge it and place the shaped dough on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving room between. Only 6 will fit on one sheet, place the remaining 3 on the other. Let them rest about 15 minutes.
- Return pot of water to gentle boil and drop 3 bagels in. They will float. flip them over with a large slotted spoon and continue to boil for a little over a minute. Remove with the slotted spoon, place them back on the parchment-lined baking sheets and immediately sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Repeat this process for all nine.
- Bake first batch on center rack of oven for 20 minutes, to a deep golden brown -then repeat with second batch. Remove to a cooling rack as soon as each batch is done.
These keep well in a plastic bag in your breadbox for 6 days, or can be sliced and frozen.