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Friday, December 27, 2013

Bagels from my Oven

I haven't had a decent bagel since living in the US.  Actually, longer than that because Florida doesn't really have extraordinary bagels the way San Diego does.  Purists would argue that New York is the only place to get a "real" bagel.
In any case, I haven't seen anything "real" here in France, although there are some pretty decent attempts popping up in Lyon.  Bagel shops are becoming trendy in Europe, which is great, but please stop putting that cheap nasty salty smoked salmon on them.. Pretty please?  Lox are not heavy in smoky flavor and in my opinion, are not interchangeable with smoked salmon!  I suppose putting a sashimi cut of salmon would be more appropriate than smoked.  Bah!
Anyway, when I saw that the Amateur Gourmet made his own bagels, the idea of making and eating bagels has been lingering around.  The only thing I was waiting for was an opportunity to buy malt syrup.  The original recipe calls for malt syrup, which I couldn't find anywhere here in France (seriously.. all over France) and couldn't find in Quebec either.  I supposed I could have purchased some online, but that's cheating.  My desire to start my bagel project surpassed my desire to obtain malt syrup, so I looked up substitutes, and it so happens that molasses is a worthy replacement.  Bingo!  I have molasses.
Let the bagel making begin!
Makes 12 small bagels.
4 cups American bread flour (I used 200g T110 whole wheat + 315g T65 white)
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (35 cL) warm water
4 tsp sugar
1/4 oz (7g) or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp malt syrup (I used 1 Tbsp molasses)
a very well oiled bowl
Black sesame seeds
White sesame seeds
Poppy seeds
Dried shallots
Flax seeds
Whatever other seeds you see fit
1.  Stir the sugar into the warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top.  Let it sit a few minutes until it foams, then stir in the malt syrup or molasses.
2.  Meanwhile, sift the flours and salt together.
3.  Pour the water yeast sugar into the flour mixture a little at a time, while kneading.  I poured the whole thing in with initially 480g flour.  It was too wet and I had to add more flour (thus the 515g which was perfect.)
4.  Knead and knead and knead for at least 30 minutes.  I don't have a kitchen aid and I'm glad I don't because it would take all the fun and love out of it.  So knead for a long time.  At the end you should have a slightly firm elastic ball that is not too dry.
5.  Place the ball into a well oiled bowl, making sure to cover the whole surface of the ball with oil.  Cover with a towel and let sit for at least 1 hour.  I let it for 2 because I had some errands to run.  During this step, it should rise, but not crazy insanely over the top.
6.  Punch the risen ball down, knead a bit, then separate the dough into 12 equal pieces.  Mine were approximately 75g each (about 2.6 oz.)
7.  Make a bagel shape with each ball of dough.  I flattened it a bit, then poked a hole through it and pinched it together against the palm of one hand for the round ring shape, trying to get it as equally distributed as possible.  The original recipe has you roll a log and then pinch it together, but that just risks it falling apart.   I find my method easier.  You want the hole to be a little larger than a quarter (or a 2€ haha)
8.  Do this to each piece and let them rest at least 10 minutes in a warm place.  I put them in my cold oven while I put the water to boil.
9.  In a large pot, bring some water with a handful of sugar to a very active simmer (not a full out boil).
10.  Reshape the raw bagel if needed before boiling.  Boil by 3 or 4 for 30 seconds on each side, then remove onto a rack so the they can drip dry.
They will shrivel a bit, but that's ok.
11.  While still "wet" sprinkle desired toppings over the bagels.  I did some all sesame, all poppy, all shallots, then I did a mix of everything including the flax seeds.
12.  Once they are all decorated, they are ready to be baked.  Preheat oven to 410°F (210°C).  Place the bagels on parchment paper with enough separation between them.
13.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating once so that they have a nice caramel colored crust on top.
14.  Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before digging in.

Your house will smell so good the neighbors will start wandering in and you'll have to politely shoo them away.
These are a good breakfast size, but I'll definitely make them bigger next time.  They were a little dense, but wonderfully chewy the way a bagel should be.  I'm guessing my flour did not have as much gluten as "bread flour."  This is a quadruple thumbs up recipe that tops any of the bagel places in Lyon (or in CA for that matter).

My stomach is growling as I imagine my "everything" bagel smeared with philadelphia cream cheese and dill, topped with thinly sliced salmon (yes, raw) sliced tomato, red onion slices, and capers…
Oh yes the pearly gates have let me in…
I just had 2 of these for dinner.
I'm realizing how lucky I was to have a lunch like this almost every day during my youth.  My mother used to pack all kinds of different bagel sandwich creations for me while others got PB & J..

Breakfast tomorrow morning will consist of a sesame seed bagel with cream cheese, roasted turkey, avocado, and an egg with some hot sauce.. just like old times =)
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1 comment:

  1. Wow! You are so adventurous! And the results look incredibly delicious. I guess I have to visit you more often! Maman