We love having Simon from Spade, Fork, Spoon contribute to our blog. He always comes up with drool-worthy recipes and this month he’s done it again. After completing a course with the Lewes Bread Club recently, Simon certainly knows his dough. Here he is with how to make your own bagels.
One of my favourite lunches is a pastrami bagel. I love the peppery pastrami and acidic dill pickle within the dense white bread. I’m planning to try to make some cucumber pickle using the mini cucumbers planted a month or so ago, and I’m not quite ready to make my own pastrami, but I enjoy making bagels. These breads with Jewish heritage are slightly more complicated than a basic bread, being poached before baking, but they’re in no way difficult. In fact, when I first tried them I was surprised at how easy they were. The poaching process adds a certain element of alchemy to the process, and gives them the classic dense texture of a bagel. It also helps give the bread the gloss which is synonymous with these ring-shaped breads.
To make 9 bagels you will need:
- 500g strong white flour
- 10g salt
- 20g sugar
- 3g dried yeast
- 25g softened butter
- 1 beaten egg
- 240ml warm water
For the brining solution:
- 2l water
- 50g salt
- 50g sugar
Mix the dry ingredients, and then add the butter, mixing into the flour with your fingertips to make a breadcrumb-like texture. Combine the beaten egg and the warm water, before adding to the dry mix to form a dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, allow to rest for a few minutes, then knead for a further 5 minutes.
Allow the dough to ferment for an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Divide equally into 9 pieces (approximately 90g per piece) and shape into rounds. Take a dough ball, and press it gently against the work surface moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat with the rest of the dough rounds.
Roll a ball into a long sausage shape, then wrap the sausage around your hand to form a ring around your fingers, rolling the ring with the palm of your hands to seal in place. Place the bagel shape on a baking parchment lined tray and repeat the procedure for each remaining dough ball. Allow the shaped pieces to prove for a further 10 mins.
Meanwhile, heat the 2 litres of water and dissolve the sugar and salt to form a brining solution. Poach the bagels for a couple of minutes on either side. They will puff up a bit as you do this, so poach in batches to give them enough space to cook evenly. Once ready, take them out of the poaching liquid and drain.
At this point you can roll them in a beaten egg to give a shine and also add a coating of sesame or, my personal favourite, poppy seeds. Just roll your bagel in the chosen seeds after you’ve rolled them in the egg. Place your coated bagels on a lined baking tray and place in an oven (220°C) for 15 minutes, until nicely browned on top and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before eating.
We tend to have them with cream cheese and tomatoes, or pastrami, gherkins and mustard mayonnaise.
How do you like your bagels? Are you a sesame, poppy seed or plain bagel kind of person?
If you like Simon’s recipe you might also like our version of cheese and chives soft pretzels. Click on the picture below for the recipe.