Then I moved to Australia, and didn't see a bagel for months. One day I spotted some in the bread section of the supermarket and excitedly grabbed a pack, only to be met with a disappointing bread roll with a hole in it. It was not dense or chewy, it was just kind of ... stale. I gave up on bagels.
Then I had a lightbulb moment and tried to make them. The first time was a bit of a fail. The second time was much better. They weren't pretty, or perfect, but they were lightyears ahead of the storebought version available in Townsville.
Then I sort of forgot about making bagels for a while. It wasn't until I saw Cristy post about making bagels that I thought I should get back into that. And I realised it's not that hard, and once you get the hang of it, not that time consuming either. So in the last few weeks, bagels have been a regular staple item in our freezer, ready for breakfasts and snacks.
I've tried a few different flavours, and have a word of advice: dry ingredients work much better than sticky/wet add-ins.
Here's my recipe...
1 tsp. yeast
1 2/3 c. water
3 T. raw sugar
1 T. treacle
3 c. white flour
1 1/2 c. wholemeal flour
1/4 c. gluten flour
Put all ingredients into the breadmaker and turn on the dough cycle. 90 minutes later it will beep; I let the dough sit in the breadmaker for another 30 minutes, so it has two hours all up. Then dump the dough out of the pan, cut in half and knead each piece for a minute. If you are adding flavours, seeds, etc., knead them in now, until fully mixed through. Let the dough rest for five minutes, then break each half into 6 pieces (so you have a dozen bagels total). Roll into balls, cover with a damp tea towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.
Kneading dough - one plain, one with ground LSA kneaded through.
Then shape the bagels - take a ball, roll it into a log and then wrap that log around your hand, joining the two ends together very well. It will look like the hole is too big compared to the bagel, but this is a good thing - the bagels puff up and if your hole isn't big enough, you'll lose it! Place shaped bagels on a well-oiled baking tray, cover with a damp tea towel, and let rest another 20 minutes (or you can put them into the fridge overnight at this stage).
Boil water with 1 tsp. bicarb soda in a large saucepan or pot. Add bagels, a few at a time - make sure they aren't crowded. You can boil the bagels for between 1 and 4 minutes each, depending on how chewy you like them. I've settled on 2 minutes for a nicely chewy bagel. Flip them over halfway through, then drain well and return to the baking tray (make sure it's still well oiled). I find a spatula works better for this than a slotted spoon, because it doesn't leave indents in the bagels.
Boiled bagels. I tried coating the bottom in polenta, hoping that would make them not
stick to the pan, but it just made them messy. A good amount of oil is really all you need.
If you want seeds on the outside of your bagel, put the still-wet bagel into a bowl of your topping of choice, press it down and put it on the tray. I prefer my seeds kneaded in so I don't do this step.
Once all the bagels are boiled, heat your oven to 240. Bake bagels for 5 minutes. Then rotate the trays (so the top one moves to the bottom, and vice versa). Lower heat to 180 and bake for another 10 minutes. Flip bagels over to brown the other side, bake another 5 minutes. Then remove them from the tray immediately and put them on a cooling rack.
We wait until they are fully cooled, then slice them in half and put in the freezer, so they are perfectly fresh whenever we want them.
Excellent with vegemite and avocado.
Or with peanut butter.