Bagels. I made bagels! They're so much fun to make, even if I did have one minor meltdown (I would like for you to try making bagels with a 10-month-old scootering around at your feet.) The first time I made them, I followed the Baking Illustrated recipe and even though I enjoyed them, I felt like trying something else this time. So I turned to handy, dandy, crafty, rafty Martha and her Baking Handbook. I will paraphrase slightly for you.
Bagels (makes 10)
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 2/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
3 T sugar
3 T barley malt syrup
4 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 T salt
Toppings (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc)
In a bowl, whisk with electric mixer yeast and water. I had no idea what 110 degrees was so I went with what felt warm. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Attach dough hook to mixer. If you do not have a standing mixer with dough hook, I'm sure you can stir and knead by hand. How did the pilgrims make bagels, after all? With the mixer on low speed, add sugar, 1 T of the barley malt syrup, bread flour and salt to the water and yeast. Knead until a dough forms. It should be sticky, but if it's TOO wet add more flour.
Dip paper towel in vegetable oil and wipe the inside of a bowl, lightly oiling it. Or use baking spray. Place dough in bowl. Spray or wipe plastic wrap with oil and cover bowl. Let sit for 2 hours.
Next, divide dough into 10 equal balls. Place damp kitchen towel over the dough pieces and let sit for 20 minutes. According to Martha, "this will relax the dough and make it easier to shape." Oh Martha, you're so relaxing.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Grab a ball of dough and roll between palms into a 6-inch rope. Wrap dough around your four fingers, like so...
...and then roll your hand against a work surface (I used a cutting board) to smooth the seam. Like so. (I love saying that, it makes me feel like a professor.)
Place formed bagels on baking sheets and cover with more oiled or sprayed plastic wrap. Let sit for another 20 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Position the racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add remaining 2 T of barley malt syrup to boiling water and stir.
Before you're ready to boil bagels, get a few things in place because boiled bagels should go immediately in oven (I don't know why) and if you're not ready the world comes to an end (if you're like me and have irrational meltdowns). Martha doesn't tell you to do this but I sprinkled a generous amount of cornmeal onto baking sheets. This gives the bottom of the bagel a nice crunch. Also make sure you have your toppings at the ready to pour on top of wet bagels.
Drop bagels into boiling, malty water. I boiled 3 at a time because you do not want bagels to touch. Boil for 30-60 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon. Let water drip off and then place on baking sheet with parchment/cornmeal. Sprinkle with your toppings. I made sesame, poppy seed, onion, sea salt and everything (which also included garlic powder and dried rosemary).
Bake for 5 minutes at 500 degrees. Turn oven down to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove bagels and flip over with spatula. Bake for another 5 minutes. THE END!
I ate two of these in a row. One with my mom, who is visiting, and then another when she ran some errands and I was left alone in the house. I justified this in my head because they are small, so basically I only ate one giant bagel. GIANT. My belly feels full of bread. Pasta for dinner!