If there is one thing I can always count on my mother having in her kitchen it’s bagels and cream cheese. I remember when I was a little girl on special Sundays we would get up early and drive all the way to Cranston (which in RI is far) to go to Rainbow Bakery to get real bagels and deli cream cheese, not the frozen Lender’s bagels that came from the grocery store. When you got there early enough the bagels were still warm and that lovely warm yeasty smell filled the car on the ride home. It was definitely worth the drive in my opinion. As time when on and bagels grew in popularity, the local bakery in town decided to send their baker off to bagel school. Apparently bagel school took MONTHS and required they buy special equipment. Perhaps this is why I never considered the possibility of making my own bagels until recently.
While I traveled Central America, one of the things I missed most in my diet was bagels. It has been my go to breakfast food for as long as I can remember. Whenever I found a town with a place that had bagels I can guarantee you, we ate there everyday we were in town. By far and away the best bagel shop I found was the Bagel Barn in Antigua, Guatemala. They have a witty, quirky menu, real cream cheese and amazing bagels. Plus they have super speedy wifi, which is almost equally as important. I spent many hours sitting there drinking nice iced coffee drinks, full of yummy bagely goodness surfing the web. Ahh, the Bagel Barn.
Recently, I have begun looking into baking things I would never had considered. Since I made my own wedding cake, I though maybe I was up to tackling bagels. Just because I live on an island in the middle of nowhere is no reason a girl should have to go without bagels. And so today I did it. Bagels. From scratch, not the freezer. After reading many recipes I found on the internet I used the recipe for New York Style Bagels I found at The Sophisticated Gourmet. She does such a good job of explaining I recommend checking it out. It takes a few hours to make them but in the end it’s not that bad and SO SO worth it.
Now I just have to conquer cream cheese…
Bagels- Makes 8 medium sized bagels
2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
1 1/4 c. water
3 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
In 1/2 cup of warm water pour sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let sit 5 minutes then stir yeast and sugar until it dissolves.
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the sugar/yeast mixture.
Pour in half the remaining water and mix. Stir in the remaining water as needed for your climate. You want a moist and firm dough.
Knead dough about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. It should for a stiff firm dough.
Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn dough to coat.
Cover with a damp dish cloth and set in a warm place to rise for one hour. The dough should double in size.
Punch down dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
Carefully divide the dough into eight pieces. Shape each piece into a round dough ball.
Coat a finger in flour and gently press into the center of the dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the hole about 1/3 the diameter of the bagel and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
After shaping bagels, cover with a damp towel and let rest for an additional 10 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring a large stock pot of water to boil. Using a slotted spoon lower bagels into the water.
Within seconds the bagels should float to the top. Boil for 1 minute per side. Two minutes per side for chewier bagels.
Once the bagels are boiled transfer to the parchment paper covered baking sheet.
At this point you can add toppings with the addition of an egg wash. I made plain bagels.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.