My first attempt at NY style bagels

I want to start this post with a statement: You cannot get bagels in Brazil.
There is no way shape or form you can find bagels around here and this is not an exageration to ‘bagels are hard to find in Brazil’, no. It’s worst. It does not exist such thing as bagel here, nothing even close.  So if you are crazy about bagels like me, the only alternative is to make your own.

After I read through a few bagels recipes, I’ll have to say I got a little bit intimidated. They all had so many different steps and even different days to prepaire it that I instantly thought: ‘well, I certainly cannot do this’, I mean, for someone who doesn’t have a bread maker and  who had never made bagels before, those recipes were shouting: ‘Not for you!’ to my face. But it all changed when I found this same day bagel recipe adapted from the book Ultimate Bread.  This bagel recipe is actually pretty straight forward and it makes absolutely delicious, chewy, soft, crusty and everything you expect from NY style bagels.

As a huge bagel fan I’m happy to say these ones came out great ( and let me remind you this was my very first attempt).

Ingredients:
1 ½ tablespoons of active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups of warm water (you may need ± ¼ cup more, I know I did)
3 ½ cups (500g) of bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
1 ½ teaspoons of salt

1 egg
1 spoon of milk

Optional Toppings:
Caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds.

Preparation:
1. In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.

2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.

3. Pour half of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup of water. You want to result in a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.

4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.

5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.

6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round until a perfect dough ball is formed.

7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.

8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF / 220ºC / Gas Mark 7.

9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel (results will give you a more New York Style bagel with this option).

10. Once the bagels have boiled, place them on a tray or surface you to the topping. In a bowl, whisk the egg and spoon of milk. Brush the bagels with the egg wash and add your favourite topping (if using).

11. Transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy your very own NY style bagels (:

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