What a glorious Sunday morning.
I am being blinded by the sun streaming in through my window. Mornings like these make me feel like chilling out, munching on some excellent breakfast and quietly sipping away at my coffee.
But alas. It was daylight savings Sunday. It is also dissertation writing season. So while my alarm went off at 6.30am my body thought it was 5.30am. The sky also thought it was 5.30am. I hit that snooze button seven times. Seven times nine minutes. You do the math. My flatmate and I share a wall. A very thin wall. I think I woke him up from my alarm chirping away every nine minutes. I think I also dreamt that we had a conversation through my wall about how shit daylight savings was. He can't remember that though. I am chronic for sleep talking and having horrendously vivid dreams.
So I pulled myself out of bed finally at 7.30 with the prospect of baking bagels motivating me. The problem with bread making is that there is a great deal of waiting around. Which in my case right now is perfect for making during dissertation writing season. I can smash out a few hundred or so words in between each step. Plus I feel like bread making on a Sunday is somewhat therapeutic. Sundays are days for taking your time. Chilling out, slowing down and switching everything down a notch (cue some excellent Sunday chill beats).
So when I found this bagel recipe in Rachel Allen's
I decided to try my luck.
I have given up on dried yeast. I can't be bothered waiting for it to activate so I purchased some sachets of instant yeast. The different here is that you just throw it in with your dry mix rather than letting it soak in the water and sugar first. All the winning.
It is pretty simple, although I did use the dough hook on my mixer to knead the dough with. My Kitchenaid struggled quite a bit. You could hear it whining away as it attempted to push through the really dense dough. Bagels get their density from the dough and their chewiness from boiling them in water prior to baking. Watching the bagels puff up in the water is amazing. It is at that point where you regret not making them smaller!
I didn't happen to have any cornmeal or maize for sprinkling so I skipped that out. I don't think the bagels suffered too much. I also used golden syrup instead of treacle or molasses in the poaching water. Worked just fine. Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, parmesan cheese, sea salt ooh or big sugar crystals all work brilliantly as toppings.
Sunday Morning Bagels
Adapted from Rachel Allen's Bake
450g high grade flour
7g instant yeast (8g Edmonds instant yeast sachet works a treat)
2 teaspoon salt
250ml warm (slightly warmer than blood temperature) water
2 tablespoons runny honey (or hard honey that has been blasted in the microwave haha)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons golden syrup
4L boiling water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water and a sprinkling of salt
sesame seeds, poppy seeds etc for topping
Sieve the yeast, flour and salt into a large bowl.
Mix the water, honey and oil together in a jug.
If using a stand mixer, turn the mixer onto the lowest setting with a paddle attachment and gradually pour in the liquid. Once combined (but not smooth) switch over to a dough hook and knead on the lowest speed for ten minutes.
If kneading by hand, make a well in the centre of the flour and gradually add in the liquid, stirring gently until it all comes together. Tip into a floured board and knead by hand for ten minutes.
The dough will be dense and stiffer than normal bread dough.
Once kneaded, place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise and double in size in a warm place. I was impatient and stuck my bowl in front of my fan heater and switched it onto low. Rising may take two to three hours (or an hour and a half if you have a heater :P)
Once risen, give the dough a couple of knead strokes. At this stage you are going to want to boil the kettle and make up the the golden syrup and water solution. Form the dough into a fat sausage about 25-30cm long.
Using a flat bladed knife, slice the dough sausage into 10-12 equal portions (about 2-3cm in thickness).
Take each disc of dough and poke your finger through the centre. Stretch the dough ring out until the hole is about 4cm in diameter. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and repeat with the other dough discs.
Cover the dough discs and leave to rise again for 10-20 minutes in a warm location (Oh haaaiii there heater!).
In the mean time, bring your golden syrup and water solution to a strong simmer in a large saucepan. Get out a rack with a tea towel placed underneath ready for the next step.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees on bake.
Once the dough rings are slightly larger than what they were before (don't get your hopes up, they're not gonna rise that much) they are now ready to be boiled.
Place three rings in the saucepan at a time. Boil on each side for one and a half minutes. At the end of the second side, remove the rings and place on the rack and leave to drain. Repeat with the rest of your bagels.
Place the bagels with 2cm between each one on a tray lined with baking paper (you may need to bake in two batches). Generously brush over the egg wash and then sprinkle with your desired toppings.
Bake for 13-15 minutes until the bagels are a strong golden brown.
Remove and I recommend demolishing immediately whilst hot.
Serve with whatever your heart (or stomach) desires.
I plan to slice my left overs in half then freezing them in a sealed plastic bag.