A few months ago, my husband casually mentioned that one of his favorite breakfasts was a bagel with cream cheese. How did I not know this, after five years of marriage??? After bemoaning that fact for awhile, I decided to get to work on a house bagel recipe.
I’ve posted a bagel recipe before, which is definitely delicious and worth making. But this time around I really wanted to put my own spin on bagels, incorporating my favorite features of New York (chewiness) and Montreal-style (a touch of sweetness and enrichment from eggs and oil) bagels and adding sourdough. After test batch after test batch, here we are!
A few notes:
- There are many ways to shape bagels, but I prefer the rope method. It makes for a nice even crumb and the center hole stays a bit more open. If you need a visual, this video is similar to what I do.
- This recipe calls for a couple special ingredients — vital wheat gluten and barley malt syrup. I can get both easily at my local bulk food / health food stores. In a pinch, you can sub in more bread flour for the VWG and honey or brown sugar for the barley malt syrup, but I really do feel like these two ingredients make bagels more….bagel-y! The VWG adds extra chew and the barley malt syrup has a unique flavor that is so distinctive.
- This dough is quite stiff so it’s easiest to mix it in a stand mixer with a dough hook. If you do it by hand be prepared for a good workout — it’ll probably take a good 15+ minutes of hand kneading.
- Bagels are best enjoyed soon after baking. You can toast them on the second or third day (store them in a plastic bag), but any longer than that I’d recommend splitting and freezing, then reheating in the toaster.
Makes ten 3 oz. bagels / Adapted from many sources
- 340g bread flour (I have subbed in 15% whole wheat flour with good results)
- 10g vital wheat gluten (makes bagels extra chewy — sub more bread flour if you don’t have it)
- 100g water (room temperature)
- 20g olive oil
- 50g egg (about 1 large)
- 28g milk powder
- 16g barley malt syrup
- 20g granulated sugar
- 10g kosher or sea salt
- 300g active 100% hydration sourdough starter
- 2 Tbsp honey or barley malt syrup (for poaching)
- 1/4 c regular or baked baking soda
- Assorted seeds, for topping (if desired)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the bread flour, vital wheat gluten (if using), milk powder, sugar, and salt.
- In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the water, olive oil, egg, barley malt syrup, and starter.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, then turn the mixer on low to combine.
- Turn the mixer up to medium-low and mix until the dough is very smooth and strong (about 8 minutes, but depends on the strength of your mixer).
- Turn the dough out onto an unfloured work surface and form into a smooth ball. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap or a large mixing bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 10 equal portions, about 85g / 3 oz. each. Round each piece into a ball (it doesn’t have to be too tight) and let rest another 10 minutes.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with semolina.
- To shape the bagels, roll each piece into an even rope (not tapered) about 10 inches long. Wrap the rope around your hand, with the ends overlapping by about 2 inches in your palm. Roll your palm firmly on your unfloured work surface to seal the ends together. Use a bit of water to help the ends stick together if needed. Transfer shaped bagels to the prepared baking sheet.
- Once all the bagels are shaped, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for about 4 hours, or until noticeably puffy (they will not double in size). To check if the bagels have risen enough, fill a bowl with warm water. Place a bagel in the water and if it floats within 10 seconds, the bagels have risen enough. If not, keep checking every 15-20 minutes until a bagel passes the float test. (Pat the water off the test bagel before returning to the sheet pan.)
- Place the bagels in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
- When you are ready to poach and bake the bagels, preheat the oven to 500F with a rack in the middle. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large cooling rack with a dishtowel underneath and carefully transfer the bagels to the rack, brushing the semolina off the bottoms. Redust the sheet pan with more semolina.
- Once the water comes to a full boil, add the honey/barley malt syrup and baking soda. Stir to dissolve.
- Drop as many bagels as will comfortably fit in your pot (usually 3 or 4) and poach for about 45-60 seconds. Flip the bagels and poach for another 45-60 seconds. Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and transfer to the cooling rack. Let drain for about 30 seconds, then transfer to the sheet pan and sprinkle with desired toppings. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
- Bake the bagels at 500F for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 450F and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until you reach the desired color. Cool bagels on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before splitting, slathering with cream cheese, and devouring. Bagels are best enjoyed the day they’re baked, but leftovers can be stored in a plastic bag for a couple days or split and frozen, well wrapped, for up to a month.