We got about 9 inches of snow last night, so I was gifted with a wonderful
Snowed in with nowhere to go and nothing to do…What better way to spend my unexpected day off, than by crossing a challenging item off of my Baking Bucket List!
I pulled out my brand new Baking with Julia cookbook and was thumbing through it and came across her recipe for
Let me tell you, this recipe is 3 1/2 pages long. I knew I had my work cut out for me. And I resolved to do it the old fashioned way, with a wooden spoon and hand kneading. Phew, I got my workout in for the day, it’s tougher than I remembered.
My bagels aren’t the smoothest, or most beautiful bagels that I have ever seen, but they are delicious! They are soft and moist in the center, and nicely browned on the outside. Plus you can season them however you’d like! I used garlic salt and kosher salt on the first batch and on the second I used garlic salt, kosher salt, and a cajun spice mix. I can’t wait to have one for breakfast with some cream cheese smear and a coffee. Mmm.
I typed out Julia Child’s recipe below (yes, it took me quite a while). They are really very yummy, and I am proud to have accomplished the feat of making these babies from scratch. Enjoy, and please report back if you decide to try making some bagels of your own! I’d like to know how to smooth them out to make them prettier 🙂
Inactive: 5 hours Bake: 35 minutes Yield: 10 bagels
- 2 tablespoons (approximately) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
- 2 1/4 cups tepid water (80-90 degrees F)
- 2 tablespoons (approximately) sugar
- 3 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper (optional)
- 6 cups (approximately) high-gluten flour, bread flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon cold water
Brush the inside of a large bowl with some melted butter; set aside. Reserve the remaining butter for coating the top of the dough.
Mixing and Kneading
- Whisk the yeast into 1/4 cup of the tepid water. Add a pinch of sugar and let the mixture rest until the yeast has dissolved and is creamy.
- Pour the remaining 2 cups water into a large bowl and add the shortening. Add the yeast mixture along with 2 tablespoons sugar, the salt, and the black pepper, if you’re using it, and stir with a wooden spoon to mix.
- Stirring vigorously with the wooden spoon, add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stopping when you have a soft, sticky dough that is difficult to stir. (You will probably use almost 6 cups of flour, but the dough will still be soft and sticky-and that’s just the way it’s supposed to be). Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Add additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the work surface.
*Can use an electric mixer
Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the buttered mixing bowl. Brush the top of the dough with a little melted butter, cover the bowl with buttered plastic wrap, and top with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in bulk.
Chilling the Dough
- Deflate the dough, cover as before, and refrigerate for 4 hours, or, if it’s more convenient, overnight.
*At this point, the dough can be well wrapped and refrigerated for up to 2 days
- When you’re ready to make the bagels, position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. If the bagels are to bake on a stone, preheat the stone too and generously dust a peel with cornmeal. If they will bake on baking sheets, brush the sheets with vegetable oil (or spray) and dust them with cornmeal. For added flavor, use one or all of the suggested topping ingredients in combination with cornmeal to dust the peel or sheets.
- While the oven preheats, fill a stockpot with water and bring the water to a rapid boil.
- Line 2 baking sheets or trays with kitchen towels. Rub flour into 1 of the towels and place both sheets close to your work surface.
Shaping the Dough
- Deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half; cover and chill one piece of the dough while you work with the other. Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces; work with 1 piece at a time and cover the remaining pieces with a towel.
- To form a bagel and develop the gluten cloak that will give it its structure, draw up the dough from the bottom, stretch it, and pinch it at the top. Keep pulling the dough up and pinching it until you have a perfectly round, tightly packed ball of dough with a little topknot or pleat at the top. Turn the dough over so that the knot is against the work surface and plunge your index finger into the center of the dough. Wiggle your finger around in the hole to stretch it, then lift the bagel, hook it over the thumb of one hand and the index finger of the other and start rotating the dough, circling your thumb and finger and elongating the hole to a diameter of 2 to 2 1/2 inches. Put the bagel on the baking sheet with the floured towel, and cover with another towel. Shape the remaining 4 pieces of dough.
- Add the sugar and baking soda to the boiling water. With a large slotted skimming spoon or slotted spatula, lower the bagels, one at a time, into the boiling water. Don’t crowd them-the bagels should swim around in the water without touching one another; it’s better to boil them in batches than to cram them into the pot all at one time. The bagels will sink to the bottom of the pot when you put them in, then rise to the top. Once the bagels have surfaced, boil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side, flipping them over gently with the skimmer. Remove the bagels, shaking the skimmer over the stockpot to et ride of some of the excess water, and put them on the baking sheet with the unfloured towel, keeping the smoothest side of the bagel up.
- Keeping the smoothest sides up, transfer the bagels to the peel or prepared baking sheet. (Work quickly, because the wet bagels have a tendency to stick to the towel)
Whisk the egg whites and cold water together until the whites are broken up, then push the glaze through a sieve and brush each bagel with the glaze. Try not to let the glaze drip onto the baking sheet or peel, or it will glue down the bagels. Don’t worry if the bagels look wrinkled-they’ll smooth out in the oven. Brush with another coat of glaze and, if you’re using a topping, or more than one, sprinkle it, or them, evenly over the bagels now.
- Put 4 ice cubes in a 1-pint measuring cup and add 1/4 cup cold water. Put the bagels in the oven and immediately toss the ice cubs and water onto the oven floor (or into the hot pan). Quickly close the oven door to capture the steam produced by the ice, turn the oven temperature down to 450 degrees F and bake for 25 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the bagels remain in the oven for 5 more minutes. Open the oven door and leave the bagels in the oven for another 5 minutes. Transfer the bagels to a rack and cool.
- Before baking the next batch of bagels, be certain to bring the oven temperature back to 500 degrees F.