Note: These bagels are as close as I have found to authentic bagels found in local ma and pa bagel shops. They are so chewy on the outside and so soft and tender on the inside. They do take some time to make but they are worth the wait. I like to start the batch in the evening of day 1 and then bake them the following morning, however the time frame is flexible. If you are looking for a quicker bagel recipe, this one is a great alternative.
1 1/2 tsp. dry active yeast
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cups unbleached bread flour (Lehi Roller Mills AP flour works well)
2 1/2 cups warm water (105 - 115 F)
1/2 tsp. dry active yeast (heaping tsp.)
3 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour (Lehi Roller Mills AP flour works well)
2 3/4 tsp. salt
1 TBSP honey
1 TBSP baking soda
Cornmeal for dusting
1. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the water and allow the yeast to proof for 5 minutes. Mix in the flour, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 2 hours or until is has doubled in size.
2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of flour and all of the salt and honey. Mix until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough.
3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. If the dough seems too dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour. The kneaded dough should be pliable but not be tacky.
4. Immediately divide the dough into 12 pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired. Form the pieces into rolls.
5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 5-20 minutes. Lightly mist 2 sheet pans with spray oil.
6. Shape the bagels. Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter. The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots.)
7. Place the bagels 2 inches apart on the pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed lightly with oil. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
8. Place covered pans in the refrigerator overnight(they can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days).
(any time during the next day will work as the bagels can stay in the refrigerator for up to two days)
9. Preheat the oven to 500° F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large shallow pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda (the baking soda will help darken the outside of the bagels). Have a slotted spoon nearby.
10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit. After 1 minute flip them over and boil for 1 more minute. While the bagels are boiling, mist the sheet pans with spray oil and sprinkle with cornmeal (without cornmeal dusted on the pans, the bagels will stick to the pan and will be very difficult to remove. With the cornmeal, the bagels slide right off the pans). If you want to top the bagels with toppings, do so as soon as they come out of the water.
11. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450° F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown.
12. Remove the pans from the oven and allow bagels to cool before serving. Freezes well.
We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these! I love bagels because they are easy to make and are so versatile. They are perfect for sandwiches, toast, or a snack. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and they make an easy breakfast option. Bagels freeze well and it is easy to thaw only the amount needed. These take longer to make than the bagels I have been making for the past several years but these are worth the wait. The dough is pretty stiff so it’s easy to work with and easy to form into perfectly shaped bagels. The recipe is long and seems complex but they really are simple to make and taste heavenly! Recipe adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. Yield: 12 large or 24 miniature bagels.