This month’s book for the book club was The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. Three short novels that take place in New York. I admit it was extremely easy to choose what to bake this time. The moment I read it was a New York story, I knew I was going to bake some bagels, not just because I love them but also because they are a classic New York item.
Contrary to what you might think, bagels are easy enough to bake. I could even say they are the easiest bread I’ve made so far. You just need the time and the right ingredients . If you want to bake a real New Yorker bagel you need to use malt. The malt powder is obtained by crushing fermented barley grain, and if you add it to your dough it will help break down carbohydrates and release the flour’s natural sugar adding some sweetness your final product. I got my malt powder at a baking supplies shop but you can replace it with honey.
Ingredients (12 bagels ) :
- 910 g bread flour
- 40 g malt powder
- 15 g yeast
- 50 g sugar
- 15 g salt
- 470 g water
- In a blender with the hook attachment, mix all the ingredients. Once the ingredients are combined, mix for 4 minutes.
- Divide the dough in 125g balls, if you want regular size bagels; or 80g for a smaller version. The ones in the pictures are 80g .
- After weighing and dividing the dough, shape the bagels. With both hands, roll the dough into a rope 8 inch long. Place one end of the dough in the palm of your hand and wrap the rope around your hand to complete the circle. Press the palm of your hand against the table and join the two ends.
- Once all the bagels are shaped, place them on a baking sheet coated with vegetable oil and cover them with plastic wrap. It is important to leave space between each bagel because they are going to expand. Allow them to proof in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, your bagels should look like the ones in the picture above.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Bring a pot of water to boiling point and boil each bagel for 15 seconds. With the help of a strainer, take them out of the water and put them on a baking sheet.
- If you want to add any seeds, such as sesame or poppy seeds -like the ones in the picture-, this is the time to do it. Put the wet bagel carefully on a plate with you choice of seeds and then back on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool before you eat them.
I highly recommend this recipe, there’s no doubt these bagels were a total success. Although there are many steps in this recipe, it is actually quite simple, though the flavours and texture are anything but simple. In addition to the freshness of a freshly baked bread, the malt gives them an original flavor and texture that’s difficult to put your finger on.