My first encounter with bagels was at high school, I can remember the other kids eating bagels with Philly cream cheese for a quick meal during lunch hurrying to their next activity.
I must confess that my first try at this chewy and dense bread was not a hit, but there has been many other bagels since the first one from the schools cafeteria and not to mention better ones. My favorite is with cream cheese and lox.
Untill recently you could not buy bagels in Norway and it is still only available a few places, so if I want some I make them myself.
1 packet active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
350 ml warm water
600 g bread flour
2 teaspoons salt
Water and baking soda for boiling the bagels, one teaspoon of baking soda to one dl of water.
1 egg, for egg wash
Use any topping you want.
I used light and dark sesame seeds
In a small bowl combine the warm water with the sugar and yeast. Do not stir, let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
Mix most of the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the Liquid.
Adjust the amount of your flour and water, depending on how old your flour is it might need more liquid. You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
Tip the dough on to a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
Return your dough to the bowl and cover the bowl with a damp dish towel or cling film. Leave it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces Shape each piece into a round bun by rolling a piece of dough between your hand and the counter top.
Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a baking paper lined baking tray.
Cover the buns with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Preheat your oven to 200-220ºC depending on your oven.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil add the baking soda. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Use a slotted spoon lower the bagels into the water, boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top. Let them sit there for 1 minute on both sides. If you want chewier bagel leave them in for a little longer 2 minutes on each side, the results will give you a more New York Style bagel.
Take the bagels out and put them back on your bakingpaper lined baking tray.
Brush the bagels with egg wash and put the topping you want on top or leave them plain. toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack or enjoy them warm with a spread of butter or cream cheese.