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I made bagels! *does a little dance*

Okay so they weren’t really your typical pretty supermarket bagels.

For one thing, they are more baby bagels than adult bagels.

They’re pretty small. But delicious – did I mention how delicious?

So much better than any bagels you’re likely to get out of a plastic bag.

Here’s the recipe I used – from my new bread book – The River Cottage Bread Handbook – however I was a little disappointed as I *thought* I’d followed the recipe exactly but my bagels turned out much smaller than a normal bagel. If I make them again, I’ll try to make them bigger. They also needed at least 15 minutes longer cooking time (in my oven) than the recipe indicated.

Anyway, here’s what went into them!

  • 500g strong bread flour (I used white)
  • 5g yeast (a little odd as the little sachets of yeast are 7g, so I put most of one sachet in and chucked the rest away)
  • 10g salt
  • 250ml tepid water (hand hot – be sure to mix cold with boiling water rather than run the hot tap as hot water is full of BUGS)
  • 20g caster sugar
  • 50ml vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
  • 1 egg
  • Assorted seeds and a drizzle of honey

First I combined all the ingredients bar the egg and seeds to form a dough. I found it needed slightly more water than the recipe called for so I added a little more.

Then I got to work kneading. The book doesn’t give a specific amount of time to knead for so I kneaded for about 6 minutes until the dough seemed smooth and elastic, and my arms were pretty tired!

I put into an oiled bowl to rise, covered in a tea towel. Again the book doesn’t give a specific time, but the dough should be ready when its about doubled in size. Here’s the puffed up beauty! I think I left it for around an hour.

Then I cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. This is probably so obvious to anyone but me, but rather than look at one lump of dough and try to divide it into 12 even lumps, I cut it into 2 and then the 2 into 2 and then those into 3!

I then took the individual pieces and rolled them with my two hands into a long sausage of dough. They were supposed to be 15cm so I used a ruler to make sure they were right – told you I was following the directions exactly! Then you pinch the ends of the dough together to make a circle (you can see the joins in my picture and some of the joins came apart. How do the new york bagel company bake their bagels have no joins in them? I don’t know, but I’d guess there’s chicanery involved!).

Next, I popped them onto a baking sheet (oiled so they don’t stick!) to prove. Again the needed to double in size. It took about an hour. At this point I also preheated to gas mark 6 which is 200 degrees (or 180 if you have a fan oven).

Here are the proved bagels! Much bigger than before.

Next up – a very weird step! The bagels are poached in water – this is what gives them their chewy crust and thick crumb. I brought a pan of water to the boil and then reduced to a simmer and popped each bagel in the water for a minute on each side. Some of the bagels did come undone but you can just stick them back together.  The book said specifically to drain the bagels on a tea towel (not kitchen towel or they will stick) but I found them sticking to my tea towel – you can see in the picture below that the bagel on the left has lost some of its dough to the tea towel!

If you make these, I’d recommend using a tea towel but then quickly transferring the bagels onto the oiled baking sheet.

I’d also recommend using a lot of oil as mine had some issues with sticking to the baking sheet :(

I coated them with

  • salt and black pepper
  • sunflower seeds
  • sunflower seeds and honey
  • 7 Seed mix (tesco)

Here’s a picture of the cooling bagels – yum! You can see the sunflower and honey ones at the back – those were definitely the most delicious!