If you don’t live in New York, or in a city big enough to have a real New York style bagel shop… then please try these bagels!
Though they are a bit more involved than my other bagels, they are not difficult at all… and they are so worth the extra time and effort!
Although I will throw in this disclaimer for the nervous: If you have never ever made homemade bread before, this might not be the first recipe to try out. Or, better yet… find a friend (or your mom or grandma!) that knows all about from scratch bread-making (meaning no bread machine!) and make sure you have them over or at least on speed-dial when you make these! I had to resort to YouTube… yes, yes I did.
for the sponge:
1 teaspoon instant yeast (I used active dry yeast)
4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature
for the rest of the dough:
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (again I used active dry yeast)
3 3/4 cup bread flour
3 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
sesame seeds, shredded cheese, everything mix, etc.
In a large bowl, stir the 1 teaspoon yeast into the 4 cups flour. Add the water, mixing just until the dough resembles pancake batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the sponge has doubled in size and is nice and foamy/bubbly.
Stir the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of yeast into the sponge. Stir in 3 cups of the flour, the salt and the brown sugar and mix (using your dough hook if you are doing this in the mixer!) until the dough forms a ball… adding up to 3/4 cup more flour a bit at a time until the dough has come together.
Knead for at least 10 minutes (or 6 minutes if you are using a mixer) until the dough is pliable but smooth. You don’t want the dough to be sticky, but don’t add too much flour either. (This is where you should go look at Annie’s Eats to get a more detailed description of what you’re looking for!)
Once the dough is ready, immediately divide it into 12 equal pieces and form them into rolls. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and let them rest for about 20 minutes.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Shape the bagels by pressing your thumb through the middle of each roll and gently stretching the center out to about about a 2 inch hole.
Place the formed bagels about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, lightly spray them with oil, and cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Let them set at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
Now it’s time to do a float-test: Fill a bowl with cool or room temperature water. Place a bagel in the bowl and it should float within 10 seconds. If it doesn’t, let them rest longer and try the float test again.
If the bagel floats right away, pat it dry and place it back on the baking sheet. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to set overnight, or up to 2 days (and yes, the bagels do need this set time. So plan accordingly when you want to make these!).
When you are ready to bake them, preheat the oven to 500ºF and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, dump in the baking soda. Then remove the bagels from the fridge and place 2 or 3 at a time (depending on the size of your pot – don’t crowd them!) in the pot to boil. Boil them for 1-2 minutes on each side (one minute is fine, but 2 minutes will give you a chewier bagel!) and then place them back onto the baking sheets.
If you are going to top the bagels with anything, do it right when you take the bagels out of the boiling water so that the moisture will help the toppings stick!
Once you have boiled/topped all the bagels, place both sheets into the oven on the two center racks.
Bake them for 5 minutes, then rotate the pans – top to bottom & 180º. If you are only baking one pan at a time, still rotate it 180º. Bake them for another 5 minutes. If they need a few minutes more to be as golden as you want, rotate the pans again top to bottom (my oven runs low/slow, so I did 2 more minutes top and then rotated and did another 2 minutes bottom).
Let them cool completely and then slice and freeze whatever you don’t eat right away for the freshest taste!