Bagels are extremely popular throughout Europe and North America, particularly in New York City where specialty bagel stores can be found on almost every street corner. In Australia however they are yet to really catch on and are often difficult to find and rather expensive.
Bagels are a traditional Jewish bread made from a yeast based dough that are shaped by hand to form a ring and then boiled for a short time before being baked. The result is a dense, chewy bread with a glossy brown crust.
Traditionally spread with cream cheese (schmear) and topped with lox (cured salmon), bagels make a great breakfast or light lunch option.
Ingredients 400ml warm water
3 tbls sugar
2 sachets instant yeast (14g total)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus extra for kneeding)
2 tsp salt
2 tbls poppy, sesame or caraway seeds for topping (optional)
In a small bowl combine sugar and yeast with half a cup of the warm water. Whisk lightly and set aside for five minutes.
Meanwhile, place four and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the flour mix.
Pour yeast and sugar mixture into the well along with half the remaining water. Stir to combine. Add remaining water and stir until a dough forms. It should be a little sticky at this point.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed with the heel of your hand for about 10 minutes. The dough should be moist (not sticky), smooth and elastic.
Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl with a tea towel or cling film and place in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.
Once the dough has finished proving it should be doubled in size. Remove cover and punch dough down. Replace cover and allow to prove for a further 10 minutes.
Remove dough from bowl and cut into eight equal sized pieces. Form dough into balls ensuring that the tops and sides are smooth with any seams rolled to the bottom (this will give your bagels a smooth, glossy top).
Press a finger dipped in flour into the centre of each dough ball to form the traditional bagel shape. Stretch the hole to the size of a 20 cent piece (best way to do this is by carefully spinning the dough around your finger) then place an a lightly oiled baking tray. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius (200 degrees fan-forced).
Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and then, using a slotted spoon, lower bagels into the water in batches of 2-3 and allow to boil for 2 minutes before flipping and boiling for a further 2 minutes.
Place the boiled bagels on a well oiled baking tray. If you are adding any toppings (poppy seeds etc) sprinkle them on now and then bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp.