Friday, November 28, 2008


While working on my contributions to Thanksgiving dinner yesterday I got a mad hankering for bagels. Nice, chewy, highly imperfect but always satisfying homemade bagels.

I first made bagels eons ago while in college. Our chilly little apartment grew warm and steamy as we boiled then baked our first attempts. They were ugly: dimpled and deflated and a little bit clammy to the touch. But the taste was great and they had a wonderful chewiness to them.

Once I was given my bread machine I decided that it was perfect for bagels. The dough is much stiffer than for regular loaf bread and very heard to work by hand so I was happy to let the machine do the work for me. The resulting bagels were a bit nicer to look at. There was still the dimpling problem but they did rise better. And they tasted great.

I'd been wanting to try the no-knead bagels in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I got the book back in June and quickly became hooked on the dough for baguettes and pizza. I confess I haven't done much else but the standard baguette recipe alone was worth the price of the book.

The bagel recipe, as it turns out, is almost exactly the same dough as for the pizzas and baguettes I've made. It is much softer than other bagel doughs I've worked with but it has the same relaxed timetable as other doughs in the book. I mixed it up last night, let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, and then put in the refrigerator overnight. This morning I got up, put a big pot of water on to boil, preheated the oven and began shaping bagels. Because the dough is so soft, it's a bit tricky to handle, especially given the need to boil before baking. The bagels were quite floppy after boiling and getting them onto the baking stone in the oven was no picnic, but in the end they were fine.

Having the dough ready to go shaved a good 90 minutes off the process which was a big help in terms of eating before noon. They still came out dimpled and funny looking but with a good dusting of poppy or sesame seeds, who's to know? They were devoured before they even reached room temperature so I think the flavor made a stronger impression than looks.

I'm posting the recipe here, but I really do encourage you to get your hands on the book as it is a wealth of information on this easy, low stress form of bread baking.

1 comment:

Ali said...

You (and your pictures) inspired my husband to start a batch of bagels in the bread machine tonight, for the first time in years. Thank you!