Sunday, July 21, 2013

how to mend heartbreak with homemade bagels

What if I told you you could make bagels from scratch without a strugglefest? Would you believe me? Probably not.

you should.
I know you're probably wondering what kind of weirdo makes her own bagels when you can just buy them in the grocery store?

Listen. These aren't just any regular store-bought bagels. These are life-changing, earth-shattering, from-the-streets-of-new-york-city-bagels. But beware - if you make this recipe once, you'll want to start making it every. single. weekend. It's why I don't have a life anymore. But I love these damn bagels omg.

I think you're overselling these.

You know what? Maybe. But I don't think so. And I think you really need to try them. What do you have to lose, besides a few hours and your diet?

pre- and post-kneaded dough
dough freshly shaped with some TLC
this is the point at which you start to get a little hungry and impatient. totally worth it dough.
These bagels were born out of heartbreak associated with having to leave New York and a handsome man who kept giving me compliments about how special and pretty I am. On my way to Penn Station I picked up a dozen bagels from the best bagel place in Brooklyn, and I assured myself that I would be JUST FINE as long as I had bagels to eat. 

Well. I ate those dozen bagels in about three days and then I was a mess. And then I taught myself how to make bagels and everything was fine again. Because who needs men when you can have bagels? Right? Haha! RIGHT?!

makes 8 bagels

2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar (you can also use white sugar, no big)
2 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups bread flour plus some extra for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For everything topping (totally optional - plain bagels are great too):
2 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 1/2tablespoons sesame seeds
2 1/2 tablespoons dried garlic
2 1/2 tablespoons dried onion
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons water

In a small bowl, pour yeast and brown sugar into 1/2 cup warm water. Let the mixture sit for five minutes, then stir until yeast and sugar dissolve.

In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Clear a well in the middle of the bowl and pour the yeast mixture in, plus another 1/2 cup of warm water. Start mixing, and continue to add water as needed until the dough comes together. You want the dough to be firm but still a little sticky.

Knead the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface. Have no idea how to knead bread dough? Watch my imaginary boyfriend Ben Mims knead some dough here. You want the dough to be smooth and firm by the time you're done kneading.

Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel and set it aside to rise for one hour. After an hour, deflate the dough by punching it down and then let it sit for another 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into eight roughly equal pieces. (I used a pizza cutter and cut the dough up like it was a pizza - horizontal cut, vertical cut, two diagonal cuts.) With each lump of dough, roll into a ball and then gently flatten against the countertop, until it resembles the shape of a bagel. Dip your finger in some flour and poke a hole right in the center, stretching the hole until it measures about one-third the diameter of the bagel. Place bagels on lightly oiled baking sheet, cover them with the damp towel and let them sit for 15 more minutes. The holes will probably shrink a bit, but don't worry about it.

While they're resting and you're being super patient, you can make your egg wash and topping. For the egg wash, you just need to whisk together one egg with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. For the topping, mix together poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried onion, dried garlic, and sea salt (or whatever combination of things you like) in a separate small bowl. Also bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Now drop the bagels into the boiling water one or two at a time (don't overcrowd the pot or else they'll be misshapen). Once they float to the top, boil them for 1-2 minutes on each side (the longer you boil them, the chewier they'll get) and then remove and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. If you want to top them, brush the egg wash over the entire bagel and then smother it with toppings. I mean really smother. Topping everywhere. On top of bagel. On bottom of bagel. On sides of bagel. Everything everywhere.

Put in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the baking sheet once, about halfway in. You know they're ready when bagels turn deliciously golden and toppings have started to brown. Allow them to cool a little on a wire rack, then proceed to eat them all in one sitting. 

ooh heaven is a place on earth.

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