“A bagel (Yiddish: בײגל beygl; Polish: bajgiel), also spelled beigel, is a bread product originating in Poland, traditionally shaped by hand into the form of a ring from yeasted wheat dough, roughly hand-sized, which is first boiled for a short time in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior. Bagels are often topped with seeds baked on the outer crust, with the traditional ones being poppy, sunflower or sesame seeds. Some also may have salt sprinkled on their surface, and there are also a number of different dough types, such as whole-grain or rye. Bagels are now a popular bread product in North America, especially in cities with a large Jewish population, many with different ways of making bagels. Like other bakery products, bagels are available (either fresh or frozen, and often in many flavor varieties) in many major supermarkets in those countries.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagel)
When I was preparing the bagel, I told ah ma I am preparing Western Kongpia. If you have been following my post, you will know that I have just issued a recipe of Chinese Foochow Kongpia recently and you can refer to this post: Fuzhou Bagel aka Kompia or Kongpia (福州继光饼）. Kongpia have long been described to be Chinese bagel because they looked very similar, a donut liked bread though kongpia are much smaller. One of the technical difference is kongpia are less chewy because it was not being boiled first to yield a special chewy crust of bagel.
While bagel originates from Poland and pretzel originates from Germany, I cannot help but think that both these breads are very similar except the shape because both the ingredients and preparation method are rather close. Some website even uses the same recipe for both bagel and pretzel. Uniqueness of these two European breads is that both need to be boiled. The reason of briefly boiled the dough is to provide a shiny and chewy crust. Without these boiling, they are just normal donuts like of bread. But there is a slight difference, pretzels are boiled in alkaline solution that give it a distinct flavour whereas bagels are boiled in salt water and possibly some malt flavoured syrup. if you are interested in the preparation of pretzel, you can refer to this post: German Soft Pretzels (德国扭结软面包）
There are tons of bagel recipes in the internet. Traditional recipes will all used low yeast, sponge dough method and overnight proofing and the entire process can take 1-2 days. Well, while I know that these are authentic recipes but I believed most readers are looking for fast and easy recipes that yields almost the same texture. When I started to search the recipe, apparently this recipe: New York-Style Bagel Recipe – The Sophisticated Gourmet is very popular.
I read the recipe with details and what I like the recipe as compared to other recipes is the simplicity of the ingredients and preparation method. Though the author claimed that it is one of the best bagel recipes, i am unable to comment but I can vouch that this is rather successful recipe based on what wiki has described: “dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior”.
In fact it is rather soft in the interior but it is chewy. Yes, chewy exterior that make a bagel taste like a bagel… I do not think my family members who have limited exposure of bagel will like this type of chewy bread but personally, I am enjoying it and I had it for lunch and dinner. That chewy sensation is hard to describe, Once you break the crust, I started to enjoy that special bread texture. Well, I believed that this is very personal and I am sure there are many people who like bagel, otherwise it will not be in existence for so long with so many recipes in the internet. In recent years, bagel are toasted such that the exterior is crispy before being served. I have yet to try this version.
While spreading cream cheese is a traditional way of eating the warm bagel, however, bagel can be served like the way you enjoy your burger. Anything that goes well with burger will goes well with bagel. For my lunch, as I did not have any cream cheese at home, I have paired my bagel with tuna and egg together with avocado and tomatoes.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Recipe adapted from: New York-Style Bagel Recipe – The Sophisticated Gourmet
Servings: About 8 bagels
- 500 grams of bread flour or high protein flour
- 300 grams or ml of water
- 10 grams of instant yeast
- 10 grams of white sugar
- 1.5 teaspoon of salt
- Some black sesame seeds or poppy seeds
- Some white sesame seeds
- Some coarse sea salts
You can use any toppings of your choice or totally without toppings. Other toppings are caraway seeds,minced shallots or herbs and etc..
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl of a standing mixer, use the dough hook to beat the dough at medium speed until the dough are smooth (about 15 minutes) or until the dough leaves the side of the mixing bowl. Transfer out to a lightly floured surface, shape round and let it proof until double in size . Cover the dough with a piece of damp cloth or clingy wrap. Timing will depend on the weather and usually it will take about 30 minutes in Singapore weather.
- Take some dough and lightly shape it into the rope (snake) with about 2 cm in diameter. Put one side of the rope at the centre of your palm.
- Loop it around your hand and pull it off. Roll the connecting parts on the lightly flour surface to seal the edges. For this rope and loop method, the size of the hole will be the size of the palm. For my big hand size, apparently the hole in the centre is still a bit too big after second proofing.
- Let the bagel proof for second time until double in size. While proofing , covered with a piece of wet cloth .
- Bring a pan of water to boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer. If you prefer, you can add some salt or malt syrup to flavour the boiling solution and hence the bagel but this is optional.
- Pre-heat the oven to 220 degree Celsius.
- Once the bagel has doubled in size, carefully transfer one bagel to a ladle. Drop it to the simmering water and let it boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Flip over the bagel and let it boil for 30 seconds or 1 minute. Drain and drop the boiled bagel to bowl containing topping. Lightly press and put the bagel to the baking tray. Bake in the pre-heated oven of 220 degree Celsius for 15-20 minutes or until the desired colour tone.
- The longer you boil the bagel, the chewier will be the bagel. If you want softer and fluffier bagel, you should use the minimum of 30 seconds boiling time stated.
i am not certain if there will be any Asian readers trying out this recipe. But if are looking for a bagel recipe, I personally think that this is a good recipe which is fast and easy. In addition, it yields a bagel that taste like a bagel ..
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