When I first tried making bagels, I felt so empowered—like the first time I made homemade marshmallows or soft pretzels. I couldn’t believe that what I had made actually tasted like what I could have bought at the store.
The key to making a ring-shaped ball of dough taste like a chewy piece of breakfast bliss is to boil the bagels before baking them. Also, the dough needs to be stiff as anything, unlike most other breads where a wet, sticky dough usually produces the proper results.
I have found through my own experience that it is best not to use a mixer for this recipe. It ends up taxing the engine of my Kitchenaid too much, and I feel like I should give it a month off. So my recipe suggests kneading the dough by hand. All you need is brute strength or a degree in massage therapy.
I like to start making these the night before, just so they get some time to develop their flavor. I would suggest mixing the dough about two or three hours before you go to bed.
6 cups bread flour
1 package instant yeast
3 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup or honey
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, combine water and brown rice syrup. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the water and honey. Use a spoon to combine. When it gets too difficult to stir, use your hands to knead. Transfer the dough to a floured board, and then knead, working in as much flour as possible, until the dough is as smooth as you can get it, about 15-20 minutes.
2. Place the dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with a clean towel for an hour. Punch the dough down, and divide it into 12 portions. Shape each small portion into a ball, and then poke a hole through the center of each. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
3. Pull out the bagels from the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water (3-4″ deep) to a boil. Toss in a handful of kosher salt. Place 4 bagels in the water at a time, letting them cook on each side for 30 seconds to 2 minutes per side (the longer you boil them, the chewier they will be; the less you boil them, the crustier the outsides will be). Drain on a cooling rack. When all the bagels have boiled and dried off a bit, place the bagels back on the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
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