If tomorrow is Saturday...it must be bagels! - FamilyEducation

If tomorrow is Saturday...it must be bagels!

July 18,2008
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

We're all about traditions here at Professor Mom's house: Sunday is always pancake day (if you want a great buttermilk pancake recipe check out this one, courtesy of my friend), but if it's Saturday, it's often Bagel Day. This week we even made a batch of salt bagels at home, even though it wasn't Saturday--we're just crazy that way. They were wonderful.

Have you ever made homemade bagels? They're ridiculously easy, actually, so don't be daunted. Bagel making is easy and fun and kid-friendly (they can stretch the holes, as long as you're not a perfectionist about totally round bagels). We like to make salt bagels--that delicious combination of chewy dough with tangy sea salt is hard to beat. They're especially good served warm with blackberry or cherry jam oozing on top.

Homemade bagels are definitely best when eaten fresh from the oven and still warm.  It took forever to get them to brown a little, and I don't have a convection oven, as the recipe states, so I'd say I had my bagels in there for about 30 minutes and I still think they could have turned more golden. 

Here's the recipe I use:

1-1/4 cups warm WATER

1 packet RAPID-RISE YEAST

1-1/2 tablespoons SUGAR

3-1/2 cups ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR

1-1/2 teaspoons SALT

1 EGG plus 1 tablespoon WATER for egg wash (optional)

OLIVE OIL for brushing (optional)

KOSHER SALT for sprinkling (optional)

Pour the water into a large bowl, and add the packet of yeast and the sugar. Add the flour and mix well to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, adding additional flour as necessary, for about 10 minutes. You should have a firm and "springy" dough at this point.

Place the dough into a large oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Punch down the dough and form it into a log; cut the log into 8 pieces. In a large pot, bring 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil, adding a tablespoon of salt to the water once it begins to bubble. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

In the meantime, you may finally tell those impatient kids that it's time to form the bagels! Poke a thumb, dusted with flour, through the center of each piece of dough and stretch the hole with your fingers to make the traditional shape. Set aside on a lightly floured surface, and repeat the steps for the remaining pieces of dough. Cover the bagels with a cloth, to prevent the dough from drying, until the water is ready.

Drop the bagels into the boiling water, 2 or 3 at a time, and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.

Remove the bagels to a wire rack and drain briefly.When all the bagels have been boiled, place them on baking sheets (1 inch apart), brush lightly with olive oil or an egg wash, and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. You can use other toppings as well, such as sesame seeds, minced onions or garlic, and poppy seeds. For a sweet option (the way T. likes them), add a tablespoon of sugar to the boiling water instead of salt, and dust the bagels with a cinnamon and sugar mixture after brushing with an egg wash.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15** minutes (time is based on baking in a convection oven; adjust as necessary). Remove from oven and cool on racks.

**Remember-- it took about 30 minutes for mine.

And...EAT!!!

I'll be blogging from the beach next week (well, from a beach house filled with seven families), so make sure you check in and read!