Sunday, September 8, 2013

Perfect Easy Bagels

Makes 12 bagels
2 C water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 T sugar or honey
6 C flour (preferably bread flour but regular unbleached works too)
2 1/2 tsp yeast

optional ingredients:
corn meal for pan lining
poppy seeds, sesame seeds, chopped garlic, chopped onion and/or coarse salt for topping

Put all the ingredients in your bread machine, ideally on the shortest dough-only cycle (my Zojirushi has a 45 minute cycle which is perfect).  Check it and if needed add a bit more flour or water to get a nice heavy but silky dough.  While that does the kneading, line two baking sheets with parchment or else cover them lightly with coarse corn meal.

Divide the dough into 12 balls.  One by one, take each, roll it into a snake, then work it into a bracelet around your wrist, working the two ends of the snake together so that you have your circular bagel.  Put six of these on each of the two baking sheets.

Preheat oven to 425F, and put up a medium pot of water to boil.  Let the shaped bagels rise for 30 minutes while the oven and water heat.

Now boil the bagels in the water, a few at a time, depending on how many will fit well into the pot in a single layer (my pots each fit either 3 or 4).  Boil them for about one minute on each side, using a slotted spoon to turn them over and then to return them to the lined baking sheets.  Now is the time you can sprinkle on toppings if you choose, when you return the bagels to the sheets and the tops are still slightly wet.

When all 12 have been boiled and then put on the baking sheets, it's time to bake them.  Bake for 10 minutes in the 425F oven, then take them out, flip each bagel over, switch which sheet is located where in your oven if they're not baking perfectly evenly, and bake for another 10 minutes.  Then take them out and cool for at least a little while on a cooling rack.

Slice, fill with lox or cream cheese or your favorite filling, and enjoy!

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