I got tired of buying expensive four-packs of bagels at the grocery store and realized that I must be able to make them by hand. They’re not quite New York perfection, but they’re very tasty fresh from the oven (once they’re cool enough!). The price is right, and it’s a fun process to learn.
Yield: Depends on how thick you make the bagels, but this can usually make 3-4.
· 2 tsp yeast
· 3 tsp brown sugar
· 1 ½ cups warm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
· 4 cups white flour
· 1 Tbsp salt
· 2 tsp baking soda
· Cornmeal to dust baking pan
Dissolve the sugar in the warm water. When dissolved, add the yeast and stir to mix. Mix the flour and salt. When the yeast mixture is foamy, pour it into the flour mixture. Stir to combine and then knead the dough on a well-floured countertop for five minutes or until it is smooth. Roll the dough into an approximately 12-inch-long tube, lay it on a baking pan, cover it with a cloth, and let it rise for two hours. Place the risen tube on a flour-dusted countertop. With a serrated knife, cut the dough into equal portions of approximately 4 ounces each (I weigh the first one and eyeball the rest). Allow each piece to sit for five minutes. Here’s the fun part! Working with each portion, poke your index finger into the middle of the dough piece while it is still on the counter and then spin it around your finger until you create a hole of the desired size. Set each completed piece on a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, cover the pieces with a light cloth or a piece of plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Dust another baking sheet with cornmeal and flour. Fill a large wide-mouthed pot or pan with water, add the baking soda, and bring it to a boil. The pot should be large enough so that the bagels won’t touch the bottom or each other when floating in the water. Drop the bagels in small batches into the boiling water—but don’t let the bagels touch, or they’ll stick together. Boil for two minutes and then turn the bagels over (kitchen tongs are good for this step) to boil on the other side for one minute. They should puff up and feel slightly firm. Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and place them on a rack until they look dry. Put the boiled dry bagels on the prepared baking sheet and bake them in the oven for ten minutes. Turn the sheet 180 degrees and bake for another five to ten minutes or until the bagels are golden brown. Remove immediately and let the bagels cool on a rack—they’ll be hot!—before cutting them.
For cinnamon-raisin bagels:
Reduce the salt to 1 teaspoon and add 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Before making your dough, bring ¾ cup raisins and ½ cup water to a boil. Remove from the heat, drain, and set the raisins aside to cool. Incorporate the raisins in the initial kneading (Step 3).
Use flour instead of cornmeal to dust the baking trays.
This article was excerpted with permission from the book Urban Farm Projects: Making the Most of Your Money, Space, and Stuff, copyright 2014, I-5 Publishing, LLC. For more budget-friendly and environmentally conscience projects and recipes, pick up a copy today!