At the request of one of my friends, I documented my bagel-making process and am including my recipe. The recipe has been adapted over time from Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads, which is an excellent resource for breads of practically any type. My recipe makes about two dozen garlic bagels (and they are very garlicky!) but you can make whatever kind you like by omitting or replacing the garlic powder and minced garlic. You could replace the garlic powder with cocoa and increase the sugar slightly for a sweeter morning treat. You could scrap the garlic powder and top with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, rosemary, whatever!
approx 2 qts water for boiling
1 Tbsp sugar
nonstick spray or parchment paper
Begin with the 3 cups hot water. I put it in a bowl and heat in the microwave until quite warm, but not boiling. Stir into this the yeast, breaking up any clumps. Let it sit a few minutes and the yeast will activate.
Once you have that together, mix in the water/yeast mixture. Before I got my stand mixer I did it all by hand, and used a big wooden spoon for the initial mixing. With a stand mixer use your paddle attachment. Either way, mix until you’ve got a big wet ball of dough, then add a bit of the remaining flour (half a cup or so) and get ready to knead.
If you’re doing this by hand, turn out onto a floured surface and knead about 10 minutes. If you’re using a mixer, switch to the dough hook attachment, and knead on low speed, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
As you knead the dough should become firm and no longer sticky. Add more flour as needed. I usually end up using about 8 cups total, maybe a hair more.
When you are finished kneading, form the dough into a ball, get a big clean bowl, and oil the sides. Plop the ball of dough down in there & turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and put in a warm place to rise for about an hour.
Before you go watch TV, create your workflow for later. You’ll start with a flat surface to work your dough into bagels. Next to that should be your stove top. You’ll want to fill a medium saucepan about halfway with water, and put in a tablespoon of sugar. You’ll boil this later, but it’s way to early to turn on the heat now. On the other side of the stove, you’ll want a plate or tray covered with paper towels where you’ll put the bagels after you get them out of the water. Next to that, put your minced garlic, and you’ll also put some egg wash (you’ll make this a little later, but just leave room for a cup, and a small basting brush. Finally, your baking sheet(s) which you’ll spray with a little nonstick spray, or cover with parchment paper. Now that you’re all prepped, have a little break.
When the hour is up, turn on the oven to 425°F, and put the saucepan on a burner and turn it to medium heat. You want it to gently simmer, but not boil. There should just be a few bubbles coming to the surface, if there are lots of big bubbles, dial it back.
Anyway, back to the dough. Uncover it, and punch it down a little with your fingers, then turn it out onto a floured work surface. Use a knife or dough scraper to cut off small portions of dough, about 2-3 ounces and form into little balls. They need to rest for about 8-10 minutes.
While you’re waiting for that, get out an egg and separate the white into a small dish or cup, add a little water and mix up. This is the egg wash you’ll use on the bagels to help make them extra shiny and help the garlic adhere.
Once the little balls of dough are rested, it’s time to form the bagel shape. Roll the ball between your palms until the dough makes a long snake. Wrap the snake around your hand and overlap the ends, then roll the ends between your palms to seal them together. Then lay it back down to rest again and move onto the next.
Once you’re all done, start with the first two or three bagels, and plop them down in the simmering water. Don’t let them get too crowded, just do two or three at a time. They may sink at first, but they should float back up pretty quickly.
Once the bagel has drained and cooled for a minute or two, brush the top with egg wash, then sprinkle on a bit of the garlic. Then it goes on the baking sheet. The bagels shouldn’t puff up very much while baking, so they can be relatively close together, but don’t crowd them or let them touch each other. Continue in this pattern: boil, cool/drain, egg wash, garlic, tray until you’ve worked through all the bagels, then bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. The garlic will be crispy and brown on the edges.