I’ve been getting into baking a whole lot these past few weeks and I must say I’m starting to like it! Not that there’s anything wrong with the bread I buy in the supermarket but it just makes me feel so good when I’m having my own homemade bread or bagels for lunch. Maybe it’s somehow in my DNA though, as my grandfather was baker in a small village (Wichelen) in East Flanders. I’ve actually been going through his notes from back when he was a bakery student, so you’ll soon be seeing some very traditional recipes on my blog! But, as they didn’t know bagels at that time, I couldn’t use his notes just yet.
Now, as with a lot of recipes on my blog, it was the first time I’ve ever tried to make bagels myself and to say I was slightly worried is a bit of an understatement. I was going through recipes to figure out the best method of making them and quickly noticed that real bagels are boiled first and then baked in the oven, and I immediately thought: no way I’ll make it through the boiling process without messing it up! But it was actually pretty easy, I don’t think there’s actually anything that can go wrong with this recipe if you follow the instructions exactly (as you should always do for bakery and desserts). I’ve gone for sesame bagels (i’m a sucker for sesame seeds!), but you can obviously replace them with any other seeds you prefer.
Makes: 10 bagels
- 500g wheat flour
- 25g of dried yeast
- 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar
- 300ml lukewarm water
- couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of salt
Mix the yeast with the lukewarm water. Put flour, sugar, salt in bowl and mix. Add this dry mixture to yeast and mix into rough dough. Knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and you’re arms feel like they’re about to fall off (it’s quite the workout, I’ll tell you that). Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and let it sit in a somewhat warm place (your dining room for example) for an hour, so it can double in size.
Once the hour is over, divide the dough into 10 equal portions. The easiest way to do so is to weigh the entire dough and then weigh each portion and add/remove some dough until each one is a tenth of the original weight. Shape them into dough balls and put them on some parchment paper (on a baking tray) and lightly cover them with clingfilm. Let them rest for another 30 minutes.
Now that the dough has risen and rested enough, it’s time to start shaping them into bagels! First preheat the oven to 190°. Then get some flour and dip your finger in it and then simply (but carefully) push in the center of each dough ball and wiggle around until you reach the bottom. Try to make the hole about 1-3cm at the most.
Fill up a big pan with water and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add the baking soda and a couple of bagels, and let them boil for 1 minute, turning them once halfway through that one minute. Since we have 10 bagels, you’ll have to do this in batches so make sure you have an oven grid placed over your sink so the excess water can drain from the bagels while you’re boiling the next batch. Once al the bagels have been boiled and drained, put them back on the on the baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Brush the bagels with egg white and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Put them in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. You can either eat them straight away, after they’ve cooled down a bit or keep them in your fridge for 4 days at the most and simply reheat them in the oven at 180° for a couple of minutes before eating them.