I've been wanting to make some bagels for a while, and finally felt energetic enough to do so on Friday afternoon. Previously, I used Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe from The Bread Bible, and that recipe produced some seriously nice bagels. It does, however, take quite a while as there is a sponge process that takes up to 24 hours. For all my training and experience, I'm an instant gratification kind of gal, and I wanted to find a decent recipe for bagels that I could make in an afternoon. I found one in my trusty copy of Le Cordon Blue Complete Cook, a book I highly recommend if you want to learn the basics of French cuisine and baking.
Bagels (adapted by moi)
2 tbsp dried yeast
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 - 2 cups water
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
1. OK, basically, follow these instructions. You want a nice dough with some stick to it, nothing too dry or dense. After the dough has come together, allow it to rest for a few minutes, then stick it in a well-oiled bowl, coat dough with oil, cover, and allow to rise until doubled.
2. Punch down the dough and divide it into 12 balls - or lumps, more like. Make sure you keep them covered while you shape them! To shape, roll the balls into tight balls that are as round as possible. Poke your finger into the centre and expand the hole by spinning the dough. When the hole is big enough, use two fingers and spin the ball a few times to get a decent-sized hole. Place the shaped bagels on lined baking sheets and cover with a towel. Allow to proof for a further 15 - 20 minutes.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Preheat oven to 400F. Cook the bagels in the water for 1 - 2 minutes on each side, then remove them to racks to allow them to cool for 5 minutes. Brush them with the beaten egg. At this point, you can sprinkle on sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or other stuff if you so choose. I am partial to sesame seeds myself.
4. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden brown.