Homemade Bagels

I love bagels. Like most breakfast items, they’re a perfect treat at any point during the day. You can eat it for breakfast, preferably toasted with butter. Bagels are great for lunch, toasted or not and used as the bread for your sandwich. Dinner would have a similar suggestion to lunch, but sandwiches are always good for dinner too. A bagel is a mess free snack on the go! No slicing, buttering or coating with cream cheese, just grab and go. Yum. The varieties are endless too, but the basic is always a nice place to start.

With how much I love bagels and how costly they can be to buy, I wanted to try and make some myself. How hard could it be? It’s basically just bread, right? Wrong! Oh so very wrong. Well, okay they are bread but the process isn’t as foolproof.

I tried bagels a while back. It was a huge fail in the world of bagels. They were still edible, but besides having a hole in the middle they in no way resembled bagels. I must express my frustration and give you a bit of warning. Do not under any circumstance listen to anyone that tells you to ‘generously coat’ your pan with cornmeal. I listened and we had a nice smokey house. Seriously, you say generously coat and I’m going to generously coat. If you mean lightly sprinkle then that’s what should be said.

After that experience I swore off bagels for a while. I just needed a break from that attempt and to do some more research before trying again. Today was the day to give it another go and let me tell you, it was a success! This recipe turned out to be pretty easy, which was a huge relief. I think I was a bit on the giddy side when I knew these were going to turn out. At least there was only a toddler and an infant to see my goofiness. I’m not sure which was more exciting, successfully making bagels or or the smell of freshly baked bagels. They smelled absolutely delicious! I wanted to bite into one right away.

Homemade Bagels

Ingredients:

4 C bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 pkg instant yeast
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 C warm water

Directions:

As always, you can use a large bowl and mix this up by hand or use a stand mixer. If using a stand mixer, I suggest the paddle attachment instead of the dough hook. It seems to do the trick better most of the time. Toss in half of your flour, followed by sugar, salt and yeast. Top off with remaining flour and mix briefly. Add in your vegetable oil, do a quick mix. With your mixer on low, slowly add in water.

When your dough is resembling a rough ball shape, transfer to a lightly floured surface. I do mean lightly floured, this isn't a super sticky dough so a spoonful at most is all you should need. Knead dough until it is smooth and easier to shape into a ball, roughly 10 minutes.

Cut dough into 8 equal parts. Form each section into a small ball. Cover with a damp cloth for 10-20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 and fill a large stockpot halfway full with water.

When your 20 minutes are up it's time to form your bagels. Lightly wet one hand, just enough so it's damp but not dripping. Shake any excess water off. Grab one dough ball, shape into a long snake. When it is longer than both hands, pinch and seal the two ends together. With your preferred hand, roll the sealed area gently. Place formed bagel back on your work space and repeat process with remaining dough balls. Let sit for an additional 20 minutes.

In the meantime, bring your water to a boil and grease two cookie sheets with oil. Roughly a tablespoon or two will do. It shouldn't be dripping, just lightly coated. You can use a folded paper towel to help move the oil around and coat your pan evenly.

At the 20 minute mark and when your water is boiling, toss in 2 bagels. Cook for 1 minute, then flip and cook for another minute. Remove. Let your boiled bagels sit on a cooling rack or plate while you boil 2 more. I did two batches both boiling and baking. So, 2 boiling at a time and 4 cooking at a time. I didn't want to chance the bagels getting too crispy since you can only fit one sheet on a rack at a time. This worked out just fine. So boil your first 4 bagels, then transfer to your greased baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on how dark you like them. Repeat boiling and baking process with remaining 4 bagels.

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