OK, let me start with a confession;
I have made bagels many times before so making a batch for my bread project would be easy, right? Think again! I am blaming the Masters Golf that was shown on the TV over the weekend. I like watching golf and as I casually placed my bagels to do their second rise in a warm oven I sat back to watch the golf (no sunny spots in my house to place them in, which is what I normally do). I totally forgot about the bagels and I think my oven was a little hotter than I had given it credit for and by the time I noticed I had killed off any yeast power left in them! I baked them anyway, just to see what would happen and what actually happened is that I created the very first hockey pucks with a delightful smell of fresh bread. I cursed under my breath as I threw the rock hard disasters into the garbage! I poured myself a (large) gin and tonic and sat back to watch the golf- my bread could wait till tomorrow.........
So with a new day I started a new batch, hence my post coming today, rather than my usual Monday spot. Baking always has it's highs and lows and that is kinda what I love about it.
- Tip the yeast and 1 tbsp sugar into a large bowl, and pour over 100ml warm water. Leave for 10 mins until the mixture becomes frothy.
- Pour 200ml warm water into the bowl, then stir in the salt and half the flour. Keep adding the remaining flour (you may not have to use it all) and mixing with your hands until you have a soft, but not sticky dough. Then knead for 10 mins until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and put in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1hr.
- Heat oven to 220C/380 F. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 10 pieces, each about 85g. Shape each piece into a flattish ball, then take a wooden spoon and use the handle to make a hole in the middle of each ball. Slip the spoon into the hole, then twirl the bagel around the spoon to make a hole about 3cm wide. Cover the bagel loosely with cling film while you shape the remaining dough.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and tip in the remaining sugar. Slip the bagels into the boiling water - no more than four at a time. Cook for 1-2 mins, turning over in the water until the bagels have puffed slightly and a skin has formed. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain away any excess water. Sprinkle over your choice of topping and place on a baking tray lined with parchment.
- Bake in the oven for 25 mins until browned and crisp - the bases should sound hollow when tapped. Leave to cool on a wire rack, then serve with your favourite filling.
They are chewy and delicious. Perfect fresh and even better toasted the day after.