Intro: Basic Bagel Recipe ("Water Bagels")!
I put off trying to make bagels for a long time. I really wanted to learn but I didn't know anyone who had made bagels and all of my Jewish relatives had described the "real" bagel as a mystical object. I almost felt that they could truly only be crafted by Jewish people. Well, now I'm the only one I know that has made bagels and I honestly can't understand why. I hope that with this instructable I may help someone who is intimidated by bagels to take the leap and try making their own.
The recipe I'm using is the "Basic No-Fail Bagel" from The Bagel Bible. Give yourself a few hours to make them even though about half of the time is letting the bagels sit. Also, I'm using a Kitchen Aid mixer because I don't have the patience for kneading. If you don't have a mixer or a dough hook then the kneading time will remain the same.
You can put any toppings on them you want or leave them in their birthday suit. I would recommend putting on saltier or non-sweet toppings before you bake the bagel and cinnamon+sugar mixes after the bagel is baked. I cannot give any advice for fancier bagel toppings that have apples baked on top or anything similar to that.
I don't bake a lot of bread. So, if I can do it you can do it!
Step 1: Ingredients & Tools
2-(1/4 oz) pckg active dry yeast (~4. 1/4tsp)
2 1/2 c. warm water
2 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. salt
6 1/8 c. flour
*EDIT* My bagels were flattening a little after the boil even though they tasted great and had good texture. I might use a smidge less yeast if you have this problem or just use a smidge less if you're at high elevation like I am (8,500' or 2,591m).
Sesame seeds, toasted
Onion flakes, dehydrated
Garlic flakes, fresh or dehydrated
COMMON TOPPING COMBINATIONS:
Poppy seed+Coarse salt+Sesame seeds+Garlic+Onion="Everything Bagel"
I'm using a Kitchen Aid mixer to mix and knead my ingredients. In the image with the mixer attachments the spiral shaped piece is the dough hook. You can knead by hand if your heart is set on it but I don't have the patience.
Step 2: Yeast
1. Take 1/2c. warm water and add your sugar and yeast in your mixing bowl. It's better if it is cooler rather than hot. Let sit 5 minutes. By the end of the 5 minutes you should have a foam layer on the top of your yeast.
2. Add an additional 2c. of warm water and the salt (not the coarse salt described in the toppings list). Mix it up a tiny bit.
Step 3: Mixing and Kneading
3. Add 5 1/2 c. of flour to your yeast mix a cup at a time until well mixed. Around cup 3 it should start to look like dough.
4. Remove your mixer attachment and replace it with the dough hook. Oil your dough hook so that the dough doesn't stick and climb up to the mixer too much.
5. With the dough hook attached put your mixer onto the lowest setting, set a timer for 15 minutes, and slowly add the last 5/8 c. of flour (6 1/8 c. minus the 5 1/2 you already put in).
6. Once your flour is all added and your dough still has time to knead you can generously coat two large cuttings boards, cookie sheets, or wax paper covered surfaces (not recommended) with corn meal. If you don't put enough corn meal on the surface when the dough expands it will stick to the surface and you'll end up man handling your bagels and squishing them down. I used wax paper in this instructable because I forgot that it was such a pain in the butt. In the photo it may actually look like I had enough corn mean, but the bagels still stuck a little bit when I tried to remove them (in later step).
Step 4: Shaping and Letting Rise
7. Once the dough is done kneading it will be pretty sticky. Flour your hands for this next part but don't knead in extra flour. Take the dough and first split it into 4 smaller dough balls. Now split each of those into four more dough balls. Take a small dough ball and poke a hole in the center. You can now work the dough ball into a bigger O shape. Sometimes it's easy just to put your fingers in the hole and twirl the dough around them like you're tossing a pizza. Once the bagel hole is the size of a half dollar coin, place it on your corn meal covered surface. It will shrink a little to the size of a quarter.
8. Place a dry, clean dish towel over the bagels for 45 minutes so they can rise. Make sure the room doesn't have a lot of humidity.
Step 5: Chilling & Topping Preperation
9. Take your bagels and put them in the fridge. If you placed them on wax paper you will have to transfer them to a cornmeal covered cookie sheet or cutting board now. Let them sit in the fridge for an hour.
10. While the bagels are sitting you can make topping mixes if you want. The image you see is an "everything" mix and a cinnamon and sugar mix.
11. With 30 minutes to go bring some water in a pot to boil on the stove. It's easier if your pot is wider rather than taller.
12. With 15 minutes left preheat your oven to 400F.
13. If you have two more cookie sheets sprinkle cornmeal on them and set aside.
Step 6: Boiling & Toppings
14. Once the hour is over take one of your trays of bagels out of the fridge. Place four (if they all fit without stacking) into the pot of boiling water for 4 minutes, flipping them every 30 seconds.
15. Remove the bagels from the pot of water and place them on a clean, dry towel.
16. Repeat step 14 until all of your bagels are boiled.
17. Place your bagels on the cornmeal sprinkled cookie sheet you set aside.
18. Except for the cinnamon and sugar topping, generously sprinkle your toppings onto the bagels. I might not be as generous with the coarse salt.
Step 7: Baking
19. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.
20. Set on drying rack for 10 minutes. Go to step 21 for cinnamon and sugar application while bagels are still hot.
Step 8: Cinnamon & Sugar Toppings
21. Melt a little bit of butter and lightly brush it over the top of the bagels that you want to have cinnamon and sugar toppings.
22. Place your cinnamon and sugar toppings in a wide bowl and place the bagel butter side down into the bowl. Flip it over and sprinkle more sugar mix over it.
23. Put the bagel back on the drying rack with the rest of its friends.
I hope you enjoyed making bagels!