Wednesday, January 15, 2020

It's National Bagel Day!

What is National Bagel Day?
National Bagel Day is January 15.  The yummy rounds of dough can be found just about anywhere: breakfast joints, coffee shops, supermarkets, or your favorite deli. In fact, 2018 saw more than 354 million bagels sold. What is your favorite? Mine is the Everything Bagel.
National Bagel Day History
Bagels have a long and highly documented history that travels from the Jewish families of Poland in the 1600s to wrapped up in parchment paper in your hands today. And, unlike many things created nearly five-hundred years ago, bagels are remarkably unchanged. Sure, cream cheeses, butters, flavors, and toppings may have evolved over time but the bagel is still the same basic recipe
Bagels made the jump to America with a massive Polish-Jewish immigration in the 1800s that firmly entrenched itself in New York City where it thrived. In fact, an entire union was created in the early 1900s called Bagel Bakers Local 338 to support the growing, immigrant-led industry. That also begat the “bagel brunch,” that we still enjoy to this day with little to no changes: lox, cream cheese, capers, tomatoes, and red onions. 
While bagels were hugely popular in New York City almost immediately, they didn’t make their way to the national scale until the mid 20th-century where automation and bread slicing made mass manufacturing much more efficient. Since then, bagels have taken off to include a variety of flours, toppings, dips and smears but still remain – by and large – exactly as they were in the 1600s...yummy!

How to Make Bagels
Not all bagels are created equal; in fact, truly great bagels are so hard to find, I decided to learn how to make bagels at home. This recipe for the classic bagel is easy to follow; once you get the basics down, switch up the toppings and flavors to delight every bagel lover in the house. 

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water 110°F
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons barley malt syrup divided
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Everything Bagel Seasoning or poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or coarse salt (see notes)1.) Soften (bloom) the yeast in the warm water for 5 minutes.
2.) In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, 2 tablespoons barley malt syrup, sugar, and salt. With the motor running on low, slowly drizzle in the yeast mixture.
3.) Increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until shiny and smooth, 6 to 10 minutes. If the dough becomes stuck to the dough hook, scrape the dough off the hook and return to the bottom of the mixer bowl.
4.) Turn out the dough onto a dry surface and shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl and brush with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees, see notes) for 20 minutes (it will double in volume).
5.) Turn out the dough onto a dry surface and divide into 12 equal portions of dough.

6.) Working with 1 portion of a dough at a time, roll the dough into a 9-inch rope. Moisten the ends of each rope and wrap the dough around to form a circle. There should be  a hole approximately the size of a quarter in the middle and the ends of the dough should overlap by at least 1 inch. Repeat with remaining portions.
7.) Cover the shaped bagels with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place (80 to 85 degrees) for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
8.) Bring a large, shallow pan of water and remaining 1 tablespoon barley malt syrup to a simmer. Boil the bagels in batches, 3 to 4 at a time, for 30 seconds on each side, adjusting the heat of the stove to maintain a simmer. Remove to the cooling rack set over a baking sheet and repeat with remaining bagels. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
9.) While the top of the bagels are still damp, sprinkle with Everything Bagel Seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or coarse salt. Transfer the bagels to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
10.) Bake until the bagels are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Switch the positions and rotate the orientation of the sheets halfway through baking time. Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Recipe NotesTo create a warm environment ideal for yeast-rising, preheat your oven to its minimum temperature (170 degrees, 200 degrees), but shut it off once the temperature reaches 110 degrees. Place your dough (in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap), on a baking sheet and in the oven. The oven temperature will drop when you open the oven door, but enough residual heat will remain that your dough should steadily rise.

To make Everything Bagel Seasoning, combine:
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt or flaked salt

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1 comment:

  1. I have never heard of barley malt syrup before, I hope I can get it in the store around here. If not, Amazon will have it! We love bagels here and I have never thought to try to make them at home. The ideas here are endless for flavors :)