Monday, 20 May 2013

Bagel Challenge

Late last year I stumbled across a blog, Gingey Bites, and saw they had attempted the Olive Magazine Bagel Challenge. I pretty much lived on bagels (with a generous amount of goats cheese and bacon! mmm!) so I was quite enthusiastic about giving bagel making a whirl. Unfortunately, due to one thing or another, it's taken me 6 months to actually get around to it but this weekend I had a couple of spare hours on Saturday so bit the bullet and made my bagels. I was actually really impressed! It wasn't anywhere near as complicated as I anticipated and they tasted brilliant. I'm usually a New York Bagels Sesame Seed kinda girl, but when I have the time, I think I will just make my own; there's something nice a rustic about them and we all know nothing tastes better than something homemade.

All you need is:
500g strong bread flour
7g sachet of fast action yeast
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
1 tbsp light muscavado sugar
1 tbsp bicarb soda - to be used when boiling the bagels
1 tbsp oil
1 egg, beaten
poppy seeds/sesame seeds/sea salt - I used sea salt and chilli for mine (I misplaced my sesame seeds, silly me!)

In a large bowl, pour 300ml of warm water, mixing in the yeast, flour, salt, 2 tsp salt, sugars and oils. Mix by hand or with a mixer until a soft dough forms. You need to knead this for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic-y. An easy way to know whether it's ready is if you poke a finger in, it rises out quickly.

You need to shape this into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, covered, and allowing the dough to rise to double its size. Make sure it's in a warm place! I think mine took about an hour-an hour and a half to rise. You can also cover and pop it in the fridge overnight to rise slowly if you haven't got time to do everything on the same day.

Once risen, preheat oven to 200 (fan) and divide the dough into 10 equal balls (Olive Magazine suggests they all weigh around 85g). You now need to start shaping the ball, cupping it with your hands. They talk about pulling bits underneath etc, but i purely just molded it into a ball shape and flattened it a little with my hand so it resembled a bagel shape. You now need to take a wooden spoon and, using the end, pop the hole in the middle. This needs to be 3-4cm because it will shrink once the dough expands and also when the bagels are cooking. Make sure you cover them loosely with cling film as you are molding and popping the holes in.

In a large pan, bring water to the boil and add the bicarb - be prepared to see some major fizzing as it reacts with the water! You need to put the bagels into the water for roughly a minute on each side. I'd recommend putting no more than three in the pan at one time. The purpose of this is so they puff a little and a skin forms - it means they will keep their shape when in the oven. If you bake them for any longer than a minute on each side, they will be chewy and not look so hot after their time in the oven. When removing from the pan, make sure all the excess water is drained; using a slatted spoon is probably wise here.

Put on an oiled baking tray, leaving a little space in between each one. You need to glaze them with a little of your beaten egg, adding your topping (seeds) or I used sea salt and a few chilli flakes on half and just sea salt on the other half.

They only need baking for 15-18 minutes so keep your eye on them. They should be golden brown and crispy. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Verdict: I have to say, mine were delicious and it has left me questioning why I've bought them in the past instead of making my own. I plan to make some more next week with sesame seeds, once I've found the pesky things! I'm definitely going to be enjoying mine with some cream cheese or goats cheese on top. Brilliant! I'm glad I stumbled across the Olive Magazine Challenge.

N xo

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