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Everybody has favorites.

My favorite movie-Cast Away

My favorite song-Something stupid (remake version by Robbie Williams)

My favorite chocolate-Intense Orange Dark Chocolate (Lindt)

My favorite dessert- hmm, now this is difficult… Tiramisu & Panna Cotta

But one thing that I am certain about is MY FAVORITE BREAD and i.e. BAGEL.

Had my first bagel in Bandra, Mumbai at the Bagel Shop (Love the ambience but the staff is very snooty)

Dense and chewy with a crusty outside and a soft inside.Everything tastes better when its sandwiched inside a bagel.
Even the classic cream cheese bagel is just…mmmmmmm.

The whole bagel making process also seems novel. Poaching the bagel dough in water before baking, I mean seriously, putting raw dough in a pot of simmering water which gives the bagels their characteristic chewy and dense texture.

I had made bagels once before from Delicious Days and they were very good(and  much quicker to make) but the Peter Rheinhart took good to a whole new level. The overnight proofing of the dough did wonders for the flavor.

I topped the bagels with sesame seeds  after boiling the dough, generously. Poppy seeds can also be used but I didn’t have any in my kitchen.

I ate the first bagel as soon it cooled down enough to be eaten sans any cheese or fillings.

The next morning I made bagel omelette sandwiches for my dad and brother which they loved( their words, not mine).
I wanted to even try a chicken burger using bagels instead of the usual burger buns but the bagels got over before I had the chance. Will double the recipe next time.

Even though the whole proofing, shaping and boiling takes a while, it is definitely worth it.

The recipe seems quite long but then I couldn’t cut it short as the details by Peter Reinhart makes the process longer to read but simpler to make.

Bagels Recipe

Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan breads every day pg 74
Makes 8 bagels

Ingredients:

Dough

  • Flour-3 1/2 cups(454gms)
  • Honey-1tbsp
  • Water-1 cup+2 tbsp (lukewarm)
  • Instant dry yeast-1 tsp
  • Salt-1 +1/2  tsp

Poaching liquid

  • Water-300-500 ml( atleast 4″ deep in the pan)
  • Honey- 1+ 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Soda-1 tbsp
  • Salt-1 tsp

Directions:

  • Dough

  1. In a bowl stir together the water, honey and the yeast and keep aside for 10-15 mins.
  2. In a mixer, with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, salt and the yeast mixture. Mix on the lowest speed for 3 mins until well mixed. It will form a stiff and coarse ball.
  3. Rest the dough for 5 mins and then again mix on the lowest speed for another 3 minutes or knead by hand on a floured work surface for 3 mins till the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover the bowl with a cling film and let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 hr.
  5. After this either the entire dough can be refrigerated overnight (like I did) or it can be shaped and then refrigerated on a tray for overnight proofing.
  • Shaping

the last picture is the 'Float Test'

  1. If shaping the bagels after overnight proofing, remove the dough from the refrigerator 60-90 mins before boiling.
  2. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions using a sharp knife. Roll each piece into a round ball.
  3. Poke a hole through the center of the ball and holding the dough with both thumbs in the hole, rotate the dough with your hands, gradually stretching it to create a hole which is about 2 inches in diameter.
  4. Let the shaped bagels rest at room temperature or about 60-90 mins. If the bagels are shaped before overnight proofing remove and let them rest at room temperature for 60-90 mins.

  • Boiling

  1. 30 mins before baking preheat the oven to 260 c or 500F. Line the baking tray with well oiled silicon mat or parchment paper.
  2. Float test (see the picture) To see if the bagels are ready for boiling, place one of the bagels in a bowl of cold water. If the bagel floats then all the bagels are ready to be boiled but if the bagel doesn’t float then let all the bagels rest for another 15-20 mins and repeat the float test.
  3. In a pan over medium high heat add the water and once it reaches a boil add the salt, honey and baking soda. Lower the heat and let the water simmer.
  4. Lower each bagel into the simmering water adding as many as will comfortably fit the pot.
  5. The bagels will start floating in about 15 secs. After 1 minute, using a slotted spoon turn each bagel and boil for another 30-60 seconds.
  6. Remove on the baking tray with the slotted spoon and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.

  • Baking

  1. Transfer the baking tray to the oven and lower the oven temperature to 232 c or 450 F.
  2. Bake for about 15 mins.
  3. Remove from the oven and let the bagels cool at room temp for about 30 mins.
And then if you are like me then gobble one up within 15 mins.
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