November 9, 2013

New-york Style Bagels

The way I got introduced to the bagel trend was very funny! My first time tasting bagels and I almost turned them down.. many thanks to one of my friends who re-introduced bagels to me that I once kind-of gave up.

It was my first week at the work place... On that particular day, I see a lot of people walking up & down and there was a lot of hustle & bustle. Just as I was wondering what was going on, I saw my manager, all happy & excited, walking towards me holding a paper plate in her hand. It had a bagel, a couple of spreads and a knife.. She smiled at me and said, "if you likethere are bagels available in the pantry".. "hmmm, why not", I thought .. and rushed to the pantry..

The pantry was crowded and there was quite a good selection of bagels & bagel spread. Being a first-timer, I decided to play it safe and picked a plain bagel, with a couple of spreads and came back to my desk with a great feeling of accomplishment. With high hopes, took the first bite and you know what, I couldn't bite that piece off the bagel.. it was that tough & hard. Moreover, the bagel tasted nothing. I thought that the plain bagel was probably not tasty.. so, lathered some spread and took the second bite.. it wasn't impressive either.. Believe it or not, just a couple of bites and then I trashed the bagel. At that moment, I just couldn't understand why people were so excited about the bagels.

Few weeks later, my friend took me out for breakfast... to "Noah's bagel". Thinking about my first "not-so-good" experience with bagels, I got all panicky & worried.. I just let my friend order for the both of us. Our order was called, we got a table and we were all set to eat. Without much interest, I took the first bite and guess what happened this time, I was simply blown away by the taste & texture of the bagel.. It was crispy on the outside, soft & chewy on the inside and was unbelievably tasty.

There, I learnt the trick for tasty bagels... to have them warm and toasted. And, from then on, no stopping me. Bagels for breakfast have become a part of our routine and now, I am a big fan of bagels especially "Noah's". My latest obsession.. onion bagels with jalapeno schmear .. just yummy!

So, when I saw this recipe for bagels online, I was ecstatic and decided to give it a shot. These authentic New-york style home-made bagels are probably the best ever!! This recipe is sure a keeper.

Basic Info
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 2 - 2.5 hrs
Cook time - 20 - 25 mins
Serves - 8 medium sized bagels

Bread flour or high gluten flour - 3 ½ cups
Salt - 1.5 tsp
Active dry yeast - 2 tsp
Granulated sugar - 1.5 tbsp
Warm water - 1 ¼ cups
Olive oil - 2-3 tsp

In ½ cup of warm water, add sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir until yeast & sugar dissolves in water. Take a large bowl and mix flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast & sugar mixture. Pour the remaining warm water little by little into the well and knead until everything comes together. On a floured countertop, continue kneading for about 10 mins until the dough is smooth and elastic. What we want is a stiff, firm and moist dough.

Lightly brush a large bowl with a tsp of oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. 

Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 20 minutes. Roll the dough into the shape of a log and cut the dough into 8 equal pieces.

Shape each piece into a ball. Now, take a dough ball, press it gently against the countertop and using the sides of both your palms, repeatedly tuck in the ball of dough under itself until it forms a firm & smooth ball. Repeat with the remaining 7 dough balls. Now, gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring and turn the dough inside out through the hole. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.

After shaping the dough into bagels, place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Give enough space between bagels as the bagels rise again as it rests.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil on medium heat. Carefully take the bagels from the cookie sheet and slowly drop them into water. Do not over-crowd the boiling pot, and preferably do one at a time. As soon as you drop, the bagel should float to the surface right away. Let it boil for 1 minute, and then flip it over to boil for another 2 mins.

Use a slotted spoon to remove from the water and keep it covered in a lightly oiled baking/cookie sheet. Repeat it with the remaining bagels.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack and enjoy with your favorite schmear!