Here we are, 2 weeks into the Shelter in Place that we're under to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus. I have 1 pacakge of yeast left. Today is the day I will use it. I have looked for more yeast packets at both Whole Foods and Lucky and haven't had any luck finding them. So yeast is currently at the top of my shopping list.
For the final packet of yeast, I'm trying (again) to make good, New York style bagels. I grew up eating the best bagels in the world which was delicious but set me up for future disappointment. I have friends that buy their bagels at the grocery store and believe that this is what bagels are supposed to taste like. I disagree. Wholeheartedly.
Whenever I visit home (Connecticut) I stop on my way to Connecticut from the airport in New York at a place called Utopia bagels in Whitestone, Queens. These are the stuff bagel dreams are made of. (Yes, I dream of bagels - and other foods.) I pick up a dozen which I will consume with my family over the course of our stay in the northeast. If we run out, there is a great bagel shop in Ridgefield, Connecticut which is where we lived when our kids were born. It's called Steve's bagels. They also have a fabulous coffee cake and other baked goods.
Living in California, I have come across some almost acceptable substitutions but nothing has been consistently good. I have ordered from New York Bagels which are consistently decent but not dreamy.
So I am left with my packet of yeast and a dream. I have researched what makes New York bagels so good and I'm going to try and replicate them here.
Here are a few pictures of my bagel adventure with the recipe following. I have to say that it was well worth the effort. The bagels were chewy on the inside and still had the slightly crusty exterior. They may not measure up to my dream bagels but they cured the craving. And they are cheaper than buying a plane ticket. Enjoy.
Yield: 16 bagels
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast or instant yeast
2 cups (454g) lukewarm water, about 100 degrees Fahrenheit
1/4 cup (35g) diastatic malt powder
2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
1 tablespoon (14g) salt
5 3/4 cups (820g) bread flour or 00 flour
2 tablespoon diastatic malt powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg white
Everything Bagel Topping
Course Sea Salt
To make the dough: In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients, then knead until smooth, using your hands or a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. I ended up kneading the dough by hand for 10 minutes since my standing mixer tends to overheat with that much dough in it.
Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl rolling the dough ball around so that the oil covers the ball. Cover the bowl plastic wrap, and allow it to rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours. A good place to let the dough rise is in the oven with the light turned on or on the stove top with the stove light turned on.
After the dough has risen, gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a clean work surface.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
For the water bath: Put water into a large pot; it should be about 3" deep. Add the malt and sugar. Bring the water to a boil while you're shaping the bagels.
Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Do this by shaping the dough into a square and then cutting in ½. Cut each ½ into ½ again and keep going with the halves until you have 16 pieces. They won’t be all exactly the same size but that’s what makes them look homemade!
Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape it into a ball. Roll the ball on the work surface with your hand until the ball is pretty round. Poke a hole through the center with your index finger, and twirl; the dough will form a ring.
Place the bagels on a parchment-lined baking sheet as they're shaped. (You can refrigerate the dough at this point covered with plastic wrap if you want to finish cooking them later.)
Once all the bagels are shaped, reduce the boiling water bath slightly. Starting with the first bagels you shaped, gently transfer 3 or 4 at a time to the water bath being sure not to crowd them. Simmer them for about 60-90 seconds on each side then return them to the baking sheet. If you like them chewy like I do, you can leave them in as long as 2 minutes per side.
If using toppings, you will add them now. First make an egg wash with the egg white and a tablespoon of water. Brush boiled bagels with egg wash and sprinkle with desired toppings.
Bake the bagels for 18 minutes, or until they're a deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool them on the sheet pans.
Serve bagels warm or at room temperature. Store at room temperature, well wrapped, for 1 day. To store longer, cut the bagels in ½ and place in a freezer safe plastic bag. Bagels will keep in freezer for up to 3 weeks.
*Based on the Water Bagel recipe by King Arthur Flour