Bagel is basically a bread product, shaped into the form of a ring from yeast dough, roughly hand-sized, which is first poached and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior. To a add little spicy-ness to them, you can top them with seeds which get baked on the outer crust, with the traditional ones being poppy, sesame or caraway (indian name – shah jeera) seeds. They can be eaten as such or in form of a sandwich. Their doughy-ness makes them perfect for a weekend breakfast, which is really satisfying after a heavy workout at gym.
If you haven’t made them before, don’t worry this simple and easy to follow recipe will help you out…….
450 gm white flour
7g sachet fast-acting yeast
2 tsp salt
250 ml warm water
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp molasses
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds, caraway seeds or a savoury topping of your choice (optional)
Sift the flour and salt into the bowl you are making the bread in, add the yeast and mix well. Measure the water in a measuring jug then stir in the honey and oil. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the liquid in gradually, bringing the dough together with your hands. Turn the dough onto a clean, dry and floured work surface. Using more flour if necessary, start kneading the dough, stretching it away with the palm of one hand and folding it back again with the other, keeping this up for 10 minutes. You may need to use more flour as you go, to avoid a sticky dough, which you don’t want. Next, place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl and turn it in the oil to coat. Cover with cling film or a plastic bag and put in a warm (not hot) place for 1–3 hours or until doubled in size. When the dough is nearly ready – doubled in volume – bring a large saucepan of water to the boil (about 4 liters) and add the molasses. You can substitute molasses with equal amount of honey. Cover and turn off the heat while you shape the bagels. Remove the dough from the bowl, then punch it down and knead it briefly. Roll it into a rough sausage shape and divide into 7 chunks. As you work with one, keep the others covered with a clean tea towel. There are two ways to shape the bagels. One is to firmly roll out each chunk into a long ‘snake-like’ shape, then looping the ‘snake’ and sealing the ends together with a tiny splash of water and squeezing it. The other method is to roll each chunk into a ball. Piercing a hole in the center with your finger, pull the dough open until you can fit your hand inside stretching it wide, turning it around and squeezing it to keep it even – like a steering wheel. Place on the prepared baking trays and repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover and allow to stand for a further 10–20 minutes to allow the dough to bounce back again. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425°F) and heat the saucepan to a gentle simmer. Gently lift each bagel into the water and poach no more than three at a time, turning gently with a couple of slotted spoons, poaching for about 1 ½ minutes on each side. Remove the bagels from the water, allowing them to drain first, and place on the prepared trays, spacing them about 3–4cm (1 ¼ –1 ½ in) apart.