One of the things I miss most about living in New York is the authentic New York bagel. Around here in La Crosse, we are subject to some anemic-looking gummy things that come in a plastic sack from the grocery store and masquerade as bagels.
I miss Murray’s.
So on a recent Saturday, I decided to try my hand at making my own bagels. Now, I don’t consider myself a baker, per se, although I love throwing together a no-knead loaf of bread on a cold winter’s day. Needless to say, this was brand new territory for me.
I selected an online recipe without much knowledge of what makes a great bagel from a recipe standpoint. I was hoping for that chewy, crisp outside and the soft inside…but honestly, how bagel-makers get there is a mystery to me. So I chose this recipe, which seemed do-able for the average mortal.
I chose to make eight bagels out of the dough. In the future, I would make 12, as these were large by my standards. A lot of bread!
The recipe didn’t specify whether to “knead” the split dough balls into a smooth shape, so I tried doing that as well as hand forming a couple into a flying saucer of dough. Both ways worked equally as well, though in the future I would knead them into a shape for greater uniformity.
I liked that this recipe suggested punching a hole in the middle of the dough ball, rather than trying to pinch together two ends of dough.
The experience was fun, and surprisingly rewarding. It was a blast watching the bagels puff up in the boiling water, then shrivel a little before baking.
I decided to make two plain, two sesame, two salt and two garlic powder bagels. They were so big, I had to bake them in two batches, because they wouldn’t all fit on my baking sheet.
The Mister and I were pretty hungry as we watched them bake. I promised to make us bagel sandwiches when they were done.
When they emerged from the oven, they were light brown and they smelled amazing. I think I would let them bake a bit longer next time, though I let them go over the recommended 24 minutes in my convection oven.
And voila! The finished product: a bagel sandwich topped with hummus, avocado, tomato and romaine lettuce.
The results were delicious, but not as chewy/crisp as I would have liked. I think if I allow them to bake longer next time, maybe they’ll get the texture I really crave. Or maybe I needed to boil them longer. More research is required.
We demolished these over the following days, and I will say they are best the day they are made. A delicious experiment, indeed.
Have you ever made homemade bagels? What tips would you recommend?
Charish Badzinski is an explorer, food-lover and award-winning travel and food writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World, she applies her worldview to her small business, providing strategic communications, media relations and writing support to individuals and organizations.
Find Charish on Twitter: @charishb.
Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at rollerbaggoddess.wordpress.com.