I was so excited for this to be the first thing I cross off my '09 list and I'm happy to say they turned out amazing. As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't have a camera currently to brag about, er, show the hard work results. But trust me, they were pretty and pretty amazing
This is a 2-day recipe so it takes some planning ahead but neither day was exceptionally difficult, just a little time consuming.
1 tsp (.11 oz) instant yeast
4 C (18oz) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 ½ C (20 oz) water, room temperature
½ tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
3 ¾ C (17oz) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 ¾ tsp (.7 oz) salt
2 tsp (.33 oz) malt powder OR 1 tsp (.5 oz) dark or light malt syrup, honey or brown sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 Tbsp baking soda
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting
Seeds/toppings for bagels (I used a combo of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt and minced dried onion with a dash of garlic to make Everything Bagels)
Start making the sponge by mixing the yeast into the flour, adding water and whisking until it is combined into a sticky batter. I used the whisk attachment for my kitchenaid. Cover the bowel with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 hours at room temp. It will just about double in size and look bubbly.
Mix in the additional yeast to the sponge and stir, then add the salt, malt and 3 C of the flour. Mix on low speed with dough hook, slowly adding the last ¾ C of flour. Dough will form into a smooth ball.
Kneed dough on a counter-top for 10 minutes (or 6 minutes by mixer- my poor little kitchenaid sounded like it was in pain when I did this so I moved to my table and did this by hand)
The dough will be very stiff, but smooth.
The flour should be all mixed in, hydrated. Add a few drops of water if the flour is still dry or the dough is ripping. If it seems tacky and a sprinkling of more flour until it reaches the right texture.
It should be smooth and satiny, not tacky.
Divide the dough into 12 even balls (4 ½ oz each- though I didn’t measure), or smaller if you want smaller bagels. Roll them into balls.
Cover the dough balls with a damp towel and let them rest for 20 minutes.
Line 2 cookie sheets/pans with parchment paper and spray lightly with oil.
Shape the bagels by pushing a hole through the center and stretching the hole to 2 ½ inches in diameter.
Place each bagel 2 inches apart on the pans. Spray them lightly with the oil and cover pans loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20 minutes at room temp.
Check if bagels are ready to retard in the fridge by using the float test.
Fill a bowel with cool water. If the bagel floats within 10 seconds of being dropped in the water they’re ready.
Test one bagel. If it floats, pat it dry and return to the pan. Cover the pan and place in the fridge overnight (for up to 2 days).
If it does not float, pat dry and let the bagels continue to proof at room temp for 10-20 minutes at a time, retesting each time.
Preheat oven to 500 with both oven racks set to the middle settings.
Boil a large pot of water and add the baking soda.
Remove the bagels from the fridge and drop them into the water (only as many as fit in the pan easily- I was only able to manage 1 at a time, even with my large mouthed pot). They should float within 10 seconds. After 1 minute flip them over and boil another minute.
For chewier bagels, boil 2 minutes per side instead of 1.
While the bagels boil, sprinkle the same parchment paper with cornmeal/semolina flour.
As soon as bagels come out of the water, top them with the seasoning/toppings you choose.
When all of the bagels have been boiled place the pans on the middle 2 racks of the oven.
Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the pans to the opposite shelf and turn them 180 degrees.
After rotating, lower oven to 450 and bake another 5 minutes or until bagels are golden brown.
Remove the pans from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving
Source: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart