Bagels

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Makes 12 small/medium bagels
Originally from March 2014

Sunday morning, rain is falling… (if only I could sing that line half as well as Adam Levine can). Anyway, I woke up this Sunday morning, finished proving that the measure of a minor arc is equal to to the measure of its central angle, and then sat looking out the window as rain drops rolled down silently. And, for some reason, I got that urge to cook something. Something interesting, something I’ve never made before, but also something with simple ingredients so that I didn’t have to run out to the grocery store in the rain in my purple pajamas. Somehow, the idea of bagels crossed my mind, and a few hours later, I was sitting at the kitchen table eating a freshly baked poppy seed bagel with Nutella. Not a bad way to spend a rainy day, right?

The idea of homemade bagels seems pretty intimidating, or at least it did to me. But you always have to remember to read the recipe before you flip the page, thinking it’ll be too complicated or strenuous. Making bagels is no harder than making any other type of homemade bread, I was surprised to learn. And the best part is, they come out looking so… cute! I am awful at shaping bread, and yet my bagels came out respectably neat and pretty, but you could still easily tell they were made by hand, which I think is even better than looking perfect.

This recipe is just for plain or poppy/sesame seed bagels, but you could add whatever you want to them before baking! Cinnamon, garlic, cheese… you can be unique and creative, or just leave it as is. I mean, who doesn’t love bagels?

Ingredients:
~1 tablespoon active dry yeast
~2 tablespoons sugar
~3 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for oiling bowl
~1 teaspoon salt
~1 cup warm water
~3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
~1 egg, beaten
~1 egg, beaten with ¼ teaspoon salt added
~poppy and sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

Combine the yeast and half the sugar in a small bowl. heat the remaining sugar, oil, water, and salt in a small pan for 1-2 minutes until warm and the sugar has dissolved, stirring. Pour into the yeast mixture. Cover with a dish towel and let stand for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture begins to bubble. Put the flour into a food processor and, with the machine running, pour in the yeast mixture, then add the egg (not the egg with salt, just the beaten egg) and process until a small ball of dough forms. Add a little more flour if the dough is sticky; it should be smooth and elastic.

Lightly oil a large bowl and add the ball of dough, turning to coat on all sides to prevent a crust from forming. Cover with a dish towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 ½-2 hours, or until doubled in volume. Turn out onto a lightly floured work space. Knead lightly to deflate.

Divide the dough into 12 equally sized pieces. Roll each into a rope about 7 inches long and shape into a ring. Dip your fingers into a cup of water and wet one end of the dough rope, then press firmly to seal the ring. Arrange on a floured baking sheet, cover with a dish towel, and leave to rest for 25 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 F. Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets. Bring a pan of water to boil (it doesn’t have to be deep, but it preferably should be wide). Working in batches, slide a few bagels into the water and cook for 1 minute, or 10 or 20 seconds longer for chewier bagels. Remove to paper towels to drain for a little bit. Arrange the bagels on the baking sheets and carefully brush with the beaten egg and salt mixture. Sprinkle with the sesame/poppy seeds or whatever other toppings you’d like to use. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly.

Happy dining!!

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