Honestly, there is a hole in the center of that thing

Who would ever think that, in Miami, you couldn’t find a decent bagel anywhere. Whole Foods’ bagels are mediocre, at best. There are a few outlets advertising New York bagels. Eh!

There are any number of good recipes for Lower-East-Side bagels. This is a combination of ingredients and techniques from several. What makes good bagels special is that, prior to baking, they are poached in boiling water. The result is something that is very chewy.

Omit the poaching and the result is doughnut shaped rolls devoid of character.

One more thing. If you do not have high protein bread flour then don’t bother. King Arthur Bread Flour is my choice because it is readily available. There are higher protein choices.

For the dough:

  • 1 lb. (about 3½ cups) bread flour
  • 1½ tsp. salt or 2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. yeast (active dry or instant)
  • 1 tbs. barley malt syrup (available at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbs. warm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Place flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Add sugar and malt syrup to the water. Stir.

Sprinkle yeast over the top of the water-syrup-sugar mixture. Do not stir.

After about five minutes, making sure that the yeast has proofed, pour the liquid over the flour.

Knead at lowest speed for about four minutes. Let it rest for ten minutes and knead again for another three minutes.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl (use a neutral oil like grapeseed or canola). Tightly cover with plastic wrap.
Allow to rise for one hour if you used instant yeast, 15 minutes longer with active dry yeast.

While the dough is rising, lightly spray a sheet pan with oil. Line with parchment paper. Lightly spray the parchment paper.

Place the risen dough on an unfloured work surface and divide it into six pieces (I use my scale).

Place each piece into a cupped hand and roll it in a circular motion on the work surface to create a ball.

There are two methods of forming bagels. The first is to use a lightly floured finger to punch a hole in the center. Enlarge the hole to about two inches. Professional bakers roll the ball into an eight-inch log with tapered ends. Then, with a bit of water, they roll the ends together. Place each bagel on the parchment lined baking sheet.

For the poaching liquid:

About two inches of water plus a tbs. of salt and 2 tbs. of baking soda.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bring the poaching liquid to a boil.

When both are ready, gently add the bagels one at a time, using a slotted spoon, to the poaching liquid. Poach the bagels for about one minute on each side. Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon and return them to the baking sheet.

I have a 5.5 qt., 12 inch diameter, saute pan with straight sides. It works. With a smaller pan you need to work in batches to allow the bagels room to expand.

To one egg white add 1 tbs. of water. Whisk. Brush the bagels with the egg white mixture and then add toppings. Poppy seeds are traditional. Sesame seeds are a good choice. Some people like pretzel salt or finely chopped onion.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (20 minutes does it for me).

Place the bagels on a rack to cool. Enjoy!

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