Bagels are delicious and as it turns it is surprisingly easy to make this chewy and tender treat at home. All you need is flour, yeast, butter, milk and a little arm-grease (or a standmixer) and you are good to go. With a few easy changes you can make them vegan.
If we can agree on one thing it is that store-bought bagels are not that good. They will scratch that itch for a chewy, dense yet soft (why is it so hard to describe that bagel texture?) baked good with a hole in the middle, but they don’t taste that great. As it turns out they aren’t hard to make at all, the hardest part in forming the bagel. They might not come out perfectly round and the holes might resemble something you don’t want to think too much about, but they will always come out delicious. They are artisanal and you put a lot (not too much but other people don’t have to know that) effort into it. Homemade bagels are not an everyday treat, but when making a big batch and freezing them they could be. As with any other homemade bread once you have the hang of it, they are worth the effort.
• 500 gr all-purpose flour
• 20 gr fresh baker’s yeast
• 2 tsp salt
• 1 tbl sugar
• 30 gr butter, room-temperature *
• 200 ml luke-warm milk*
• 100 ml water
• Seeds to sprinkle on top
- In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients until well combined and make a well in the middle. Pour some of the milk into the well and dissolve the yeast in the milk, leave it to foam up.
- Mix the rest of the milk with water and add most of it to the bowl (always hold some liquid back to adjust hydration of the dough as needed) with the butter. With the dough hook of a standing mixer or by hand start kneading until a homogenous dough begins to form, then knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes to develop the gluten. The dough should be on the firmer side, to hold its shape when boiling, not sticky and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp dish towel and set in a warm place to prove until it has doubled in volume.
- Punch the air out of the dough, knead it and form 8-10 same size balls out of the dough. Make a hole in the middle with your forefinger and thumb, then stretch the bagel into the desired shape and size (that is roughly the size the bagels will end up in, don’t make a flat disc).
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Bring some lightly salted water to a boil and boil each bagel between 30-60 seconds on each side. Once you remove the bagel from the water bath, fix the shape of the hole and sprinkle seeds on top if desired.
- Bake the bagels for 20-25 minutes until golden, then leave them to cool on a cooling rack.
*Replace with vegan butter or margarine and almond milk to make vegan bagels
So there you have a very simple yet delicious recipe for homemade bagels. I will warn you that after these you might never be able to go back to the store-bought variety, especially if you had seen what I have seen. The last time I wanted to buy bagels at a local grocery store a packet had gone so far off, it was about grow legs and back-pack through Europe. Who knows how long they’re there? On that note, have a wonderful day!