Name: Deborah Wild
Class Year: 1997
Country of Residence: Georgia
Why is this recipe great? What’s its backstory?
I couldn’t afford to splurge on sandwiches from Tailgate while being a student at Mount Holyoke, but cream cheese bagels and orange juice more than once got me through those all nighters during exam time. Bagels ever since have remained a comfort food for me, but I ended up in a part of the world where none could be bought and for many years I did without in the belief that making them was far too complicated. Yet, after marrying a foodie, having learnt to gut fish and chickens, I came across this recipe and thought: “This doesn’t sound so complicated, let me try.” And indeed it wasn’t. I still need to perfect the art of forming them evenly, but they have become a big hit in our house and served as centrepieces for brunches more than once.
Serves 8-9 pieces Takes approx. 4 hours
- 1 T(able)spoon of dry yeast
- 1 t(eas)spoon of dark brown (molasses) sugar
- 1 ½ dl of luke warm water
- 1 ½ dl of luke warm full milk
- 2 tsp of fine sea salt
- 450-500 grams of wheat flour*
- coarse corn flour
- a drop of olive oil to coat the bowl
* I add the flour bit by bit, because in Georgia I have a hard time getting the full amount in without it becoming too dry, whereas in Germany it is no problem, so depends a bit where you are, and how humid it is, hence my suggestion to add the flour gradually)
One can also partially – 50 to 100 grams- substitute with whole wheat flour, but with more whole wheat flour the bagel either doesn’t rise as much or collapses later on a bit more. While it adds flavor, the texture might suffer.)
In a big bowl add the dark brown sugar, some of the water and the dry yeast and let it stand and rest for about 5 min.
Add the rest of the ingredients (I add the flour bit by bit in order not to get the dough to dry. Important! The dough should still be slightly sticky) and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough.
Take a bowl and coat it with a drop of olive oil (and I found this really helpful, because you don’t need extra flour if you do this, to roll out the dough afterwards or water to stick the ends together, but can if the consistency warrants it, It is an important step, in other words.).
Put the dough in and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise for about 2 hours. (And if you don’t want to get up super early in order to serve bagels for brunch, you can put the dough in the fridge overnight so it raises slowly)
Take it out of the bowl and knead it through (really work it, because you want to break down the gluten) Once you kneaded it and worked it through well, you divide the dough in about 8-9 equal pieces. Each piece you roll into rolls of about 25 cm in length. Form circles and press the ends together (use water if you need to), so that you get a whole in the middle of about 10 cm diameter. Put them on a plate that is covered with a good amount of coarse corn flour. Cover it with a wet cloth and let it rest for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 225 °C.
Take a big pot of water, bring the water to the boil. Take one bagel at a time and boil it for 20 seconds (turn it over after 10 seconds) not longer, then transfer it to a baking plate covered with baking paper which you brushed with a bit of olive oil.
Mix the egg yolks and the water together well. Take a brush and cover the bagels with the mixture, add sesame, poppy seeds, dry oregano or whatever else you want for a topping and bake the bagels in the oven at 225 ° C for about 15-20 minutes.
Kille Enna (Danish cook) can be found in Killes køkken, 2000, p. 140