My 6 year old is hooked on cinnamon-raisin bagels – the kind we get at the coffee drive-thru. (He may have inherited that addiction from me.) And since this fall I’m weaning myself off of my regular take-out coffee and finally (!) teaching myself to make a proper cup at home, I need to take care of his daily bagel, too. Which is probably a good thing. And honestly? Homemade bagels are not that tough – they’re fun to make with the kids, and don’t require as much rising time as a regular loaf of bread.
It’s the boiling step that gives a bagel its chew – if you skip it, you’ll wind up with just a round bun with a hole in the middle. Once you get the hang of it, you can use this basic recipe to make all kinds of bagels – blueberry, sesame seed, cheese – adjust the additions accordingly and if you like, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seed before baking.
Alternatively, shape the dough into pretzels and bake the same way, sprinkling with coarse salt before baking.
Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
2 1/4 tsp. (1 pkg) active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
4-5 cups all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose and half whole wheat
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup raisins
In a large bowl, stir yeast and sugar into 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water until it dissolves; let it stand for 5 minutes until it gets foamy. If it doesn’t, the yeast is probably expired – toss it and get some fresh yeast!
Stir the oil and a cup of flour into the yeast mixture, then add the salt and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough – I usually use about 2 1/2 cups. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, gently incorporating more flour, until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should take about 10 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and then shape it into a circle, pinching the ends together to form bagels. Let them rise for about 20 minutes while you boil a big pot (about 6L) of salted water and preheat the oven to 425 F.
When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and gently place a few bagels at a time into the water. Simmer for 1 minute, then flip them over and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack to drain. Once they have all been boiled, place them on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray, and sprinkle with sesame seeds or whatever toppings you like.
Bake for 20 minutes, until golden.
Makes 10 bagels.