I had heard making bagels from scratch can be difficult which is why I decided I had to learn. The same thing happened when I was told gnocchi was a tough project. People are chicken. Go for the glory. Follow me there. I will now teach you to make a plain homemade water bagel. You gotta walk before you run. You gotta run before you eat too many bagels or you will gain lots of weight. Ready?
First thing is first, and it is a serious warning. I think making these without a KitchenAid or comparable mixer would be like shaving an inverted mohawk before a job interview. It could work, but it might be a brutal waste of time.
That being said, if you got forearms of steel and the will of a giant, maybe you can take it on. Me? Not so much. I’m too busy keeping it flossy. Holler.
If you are with me, here is what you will need:
- 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 2/3 cup warm water
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp dark molassas (in the baking section, I bought the kind with a bunny on it cuz it made me laugh)
- 1 lb 6 oz bread flour (about 4.5 cups)
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
You could also get toppings like sesame or poppy seeds and there is a point you could apply them, but as I said, this journey is to a good old fashioned water (plain) bagel. Let’s ride, sucka.
Pour the water and the yeast into your mixing bowl and whisk together for a hot minute, then let it sit for five minutes. You will know it’s ready when it starts foaming a little like the blue lagoon. It will also smell like a horse’s ass.
Replace the whisk with the dough hook attachment.
Set the mixer to low because the dough hook will literally tear your apartment in half on high speed and you will die and the bagels won’t get made. Mixer on low, add the sugar then the flour then the salt. Run it at low for a minute until the dough forms, then set to medium and let it knead for like five minutes or so.
Take a large bowl and rub some oil around it, just enough so it is lubricated, not dripping with olive oil. put the dough in the bowl and cover it with Saran wrap and let it sit for 2 hours. The dough will rise like a phoenix.
Watch a movie, 6 innings of baseball, 2.5 quarters of football, kill the 2 hours. Come back. Now you are ready for the next step.
Cut the dough into ten equal pieces and then cover them in oiled saran wrap for 20 minutes. The best way to oil Saran wrap? Pam. Just spray it like Krylon on a Brooklyn street car.
At this point, you want to line two baking sheets with parchment paper, you can find this next to the tin foil in the market. Oil the parchment just a little, the point being to stop the dough from sticking.
When the 20 minutes is up, take each piece of dough, roll it out to like 6-10 inches and then form it into a circle. I like pinching it closed then spinning it around my finger like Val Kilmer spins the coffee cup in Tombstone. I’m your huckleberry. Form bagels. You know what they look like. If the hole is too small, the bagel will bake shut. Too big, and you will look like a fucking idiot. Just eyeball it and be victorious.
Put the bagels with room between them on the two baking sheets. Cover them AGAIN in oil Saran wrap and let them sit for 20 minutes.
While this is going on, preheat your over to 500 degrees. Also, fill up your biggest pot with water and bring it to a boil. Pour your molasses in there and stir it around so it turns the water bronze. Don’t just let the molasses clump and cook on the bottom. The point is, the molasses will help make the bagels shiny.
When the 20 minutes are up and the water is boiling, drop as many as you can without them touching in. Let them boil for 30 seconds, then flip and let them go another 30 seconds or so. Take them out and put them back on the parchment-lined baking sheets.
Once this is all done, put them all in the oven and blast them at 500 for 5 minutes.
Lower the temp to 350 and bake until the tops of the bagels are browning a little. I mean, you know how it is supposed to look. When that is done CAREFULLY flip the bagels and go on 350 for another five minutes.
Once that is done, take them out, cool them on a cooling rack. They will look like this if you are as cool as I was that night I decided to make bagels for no fucking reason.