Bagels are quintessential day starters for us North Americans. The aroma of a freshly baked bagel is hard to miss when you get in your favourite coffee shop to get your morning caffeine fix. You can see these perfectly round, aromatic, golden bagels invitingly arranged in the backdrop and you are bound to get one of these beauties with a supple exterior and a soft spongy interior.
Although one might argue, the best bagels can only be found in New York or Montreal its really hard to find a perfect bagel to match everyone’s taste. There is an array of bagels on offer at your nearest Starbucks in USA and Timmy’s in Canada or just any bakery, cafe near you. From the basic plain bagel to more complex 12 grain bagels for all the health freaks and also the fruity ones for some of us with a sweet tooth but unarguably Bagel and cream cheese is the most popular of the lot. You might choose a bagel type on your preference but it will preferably be accompanied with cream cheese.
That being said, this typically describes your weekday mornings. Why stop there ?
Let's make it Bagel Sunday’s for our families by making our own homemade bagels. This gives you the freedom of experimenting with your taste buds. Just like cooking anything, making bagels requires patience and perseverance but boy, does it pay off! When you see these boiled and baked to perfection. The aroma of freshly baked bread fills your home and the joy of your perfect creation fills your family’s heart. You sit together slice open a bagel spread your hearts content of cream cheese and it’s the beginning of a new tradition for your family for years to come.
· 350g water
· 650g bread flour
· 3g of active yeast
· 25g powdered sugar
· 25g malt powder
· 10g salt
· 10g baking soda
· 10g black sesame seeds
· 10g dried onion flakes
· 10g black poppy seeds
· 10g sesame seeds
· 10g dried garlic flakes
· Standard mixer with dough hook
· Plastic wrap
· Baking trays
· Parchment paper
· Large stock pot
· Baking rack
Time taken : 3 to 4 hours
Yield: 15 bagels
In a mixing bowl combine 350g of water. 250g of flour and yeast. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the mixture proof until it doubles in size. It can take anywhere upto 2 -3 hours depending on the room temperature.
In another bowl, mix the remaining 400g of flour, sugar, malt powder and salt. Next, attach the mixing bowl to the mixer with the dough hook. Start the mixer on low speed and start adding the dry flour mixture. Keep mixing the dough for 15 – 20 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and stretchy and forms a nice looking lump of well kneaded dough. Remove the bowl, cover it with a damp cloth and let it rest in the fridge for over 20minutes.
In a baking tray place a parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. Quickly divide the dough into 65g portions. Now place them on the parchment paper and cover each new portion with plastic wrap to avoid forming crust.
Roll each portion into nice round balls avoiding any cracks on top and the sides. Cover each ball again with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 20 minutes in the fridge.
Pinch a hole in the centre of the ball with 2 fingers and stretch the dough to form a even rings. Place the dough back on the trays, cover them with plastic wrap and let them proof for 15- 20minutes. ( to develop more flavour, these rings can be left in the fridge overnight and cook the next day.)
In a large stock pot, add 5-6 litres of water and baking soda. Let it come to a boil. Preheat the oven to 425f to 218C.
Once the water starts boiling drop the rings in batch so as they are not touching each other. Let it boil for a minute on each side. Then remove them on the baking rack.
Sprinkle your choice of toppings onto the bagel as desired. (you can mix ingredients as per your choice.) Sprinkle some salt over the bagels
Place the bagels onto the baking trays lined with parchment paper and then place it in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes. Spin the tray to ensure the bagels are evenly browned and bake for another 7 minutes.
Place the bagels onto the baking rack and let them cool off for a few minutes before you devour them.
Now that we have the freshly baked bagels let's get to the next major ingredient
The “CREAM CHEESE!” This can be used both, in sweet and savoury dishes. Why stop at just the plain cream cheese? This is where you get to be as creative as you want and have fun with the different cream cheese fillings. For example, you can mix cream cheese with fresh herbs. Some fresh or dried garlic flakes. Make it nutty by adding crushed nuts. Turn it into some sweet filling by adding some dried, canned or fresh cut fruits. How about adding chocolate to your cream cheese, oh yes! What can possibly go wrong with that! You can also make salmon cream cheese by adding minced smoked salmon to the cheese or make it more cheesy by adding different kinds of cheeses to the cream cheese. And the best part of making your choice of cream cheeses at home is that you can store it in the fridge for some later use too!.
Now you are armed with all the knowledge to make your bagel Sunday a great success.
Best of luck!