Oy vey bagels! How to make homemade bagels with a bottle of wine

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We love our bagels around here. Savory bagels, sweet bagels, bagels with schmear, bagels with meats, bagels in the morning, bagels for lunch, bagels here, bagels there, bagels everywhere. In fact, two of my favorite eateries happen to be bagel places. The Ripple Bagel and Deli in Indianapolis and Bergen Bagels in Brooklyn. While I was on this homemade bread kick I figured that I’d take it up a notch and try making bagels. So on Friday night at about 8:30pm, after a long week of work, I decided to open up a bottle of wine and give it a go. Sounded like a good plan to me!

If you would like to do a bake/drink along with me, make sure you plan ahead for this recipe. You’ll need two days for this one; form the bagels on day one and then bake them on day two. Here’s what you’re going to need:

For the sponge:

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast (funny yeast story in a bit)
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups room temperature or slightly warm water

For the dough:

  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3 cups + 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 2 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey, brown sugar or malt syrup

Extras:

  • cornflower for dusting
  • parchment paper
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • bagel toppings

(yields about 12 medium sized bagels)

making homemade bagels from scratch
Gather your ingredients for the sponge. Equally as important, a bottle of wine for you to enjoy.

Grab a medium-large mixing bowl and add in your flour and yeast. Mix together well and then add in your warm water. Stir until everything is incorporated and your batter is smooth. You should have a pretty wet sponge, similar to pancake batter and maybe a tad bit thicker. Add a tablespoon or two of water if your sponge is really dry. Once it’s all mixed together, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for two hours.

Ok, funny thing about yeast. You’ll notice that my recipe calls for instant yeast, however in the photo I have a big ol jar of active dry yeast. It wasn’t until I was mixing the dough that I realized that I had put in the wrong yeast. If this happens to you, don’t freak out! Instant yeast and active dry are from the same strain, it’s just that instant is finer and will proof faster than active dry. If you’re substituting active dry for instant, you’ll have to add 25% more yeast. It’s kind comparing kosher salt to table salt. Same thing, different granule size. Just keep an eye on the dough while it’s rising to make sure it doesn’t over proof. In fact I did an experiment; on Friday night I did the accidental active dry yeast recipe and on Saturday night I did the correct instant yeast recipe and both turned out just fine.

making homemade bagels from scratch. First mix together the sponge and let it rise
After mixing the sponge together, let it rise for 2 hours. Drinking wine and watching Netflix will help you pass the time.
Making homemade bagels from scratch. Letting the sponge rise for two hours.
After two hours, the sponge should be doubled in size and your wine should be reduced by half.

Next step is to add in the remaining ingredients for the dough. Start with the yeast, 3 cups flour, salt and honey (I used honey, but you could also use brown sugar or malt syrup). Mix well then transfer onto a floured surface and get to kneading. Make sure to keep an eye on your wine to make sure that it isn’t getting lonely.

Knead your dough for about 10 minutes or until all of the flour is well hydrated, adding in the remaining 3/4 cups of flour as needed.

Making dough for homemade bagels, kneading it on a floured surface.
Next, mix in the remaining ingredients (yeast, flour, salt and honey) and knead it for about 10 minutes, until all of the ingredients are hydrated and the dough is smooth and satiny.

Now it’s time to begin shaping the dough. Divide the dough into 4oz balls. I don’t have a kitchen scale so I just eyeballed it. I made rolls that comfortably fit in the palm of my hand. After you’ve formed the dough, cover with a damp towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Making bagels at home, forming the dough. Easy homemade bagels
Separating the dough into balls, prior to forming it into bagel shape

After the dough has rested 20 minutes, it’s time to form the bagel shape. My method was to just poke a hole in the middle of the dough and stretch the center until it’s about 1 1/2″-2″ in diameter. Remember, it’s going to rise and fill out so give the bagel shape room to breathe and expand. Once you’ve formed the dough into the bagel shape, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray. Place the bagel dough on the pans, lightly spray the dough with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest again for another 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, put one of the bagels to the float test. Grab a bowl of cool water and one of your bagels. Drop it in the water and it should float after 10 seconds. If it doesn’t, pat it dry and let it rest a few more minutes. If it passes the float test, you’re good to go! Put the pans in the fridge and finish your wine.

easy homemade bagels from scratch, forming into bagel shape
Forming the dough into the bagel shape. After you’ve let them rest for 20 minutes and done the float test, they’re ready to go in the fridge.

The next morning or whenever you’re ready to make the bagels (the can hang out in the fridge for 2 days), get a wide pot of boiling water ready and add in the baking soda. While you’re waiting for that to boil, preheat the oven to 500 degrees and get your toppings ready! I went with asiago cheese and “everything” toppings. Everything toppings are: poppy seed, sesame seeds, minced garlic, minced onion and a dash of kosher salt.

Once the water has come to a boil, carefully drop in the bagels (however many will comfortably fit in there… usually 2-3). While they’re boiling, lightly sprinkle the parchment paper with cornflower. Let them boil on one side for 1 minute, then flip them over and boil on the other side another minute. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and immediately place them on the parchment paper and start adding the toppings while the bagels are still damp and sticky.

Boiling bagels for homemade bagels.
Boiling the bagels in the morning. Remember, a bagel without boil is just a roll with a hole.

Once all of the bagels have been boiled and topped with toppings, it’s time to go in the oven! Place the pans on the center rack and bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 450 degrees and flip the pans around 180 degrees for another 5-10 minutes. The bottoms should be brown and crispy and the tops should be a light golden brown. As soon as they’re done, take them out of the oven and fight off crowds of people that will surely be gathering outside your kitchen.

Making homemade asiago bagels and everything bagels from scratch.
Everything and Asiago toppings fresh from the oven
how to make homemade asiago and everything bagels
Homemade bagels that even your bubbe would be proud of!

As soon as they were cool, we grabbed some chive and onion schmear and some lox for our favorite breakfast bagel combination. We really love bagel and lox around here. I think it’s in our DNA make-up. And for lunch we went with some pastrami, cheese and horseradish mustard on an everything bagel. Oh man, we really went to town on some carbs and Jewish deli food (and wine) this weekend! Worth it.

Here’s the recipe:

Yields 12 medium bagels

For the sponge:

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast (funny yeast story in a bit)
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups room temperature or slightly warm water

For the dough:

  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3 cups + 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 2 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey, brown sugar or malt syrup

Extras:

  • cornflower for dusting
  • parchment paper
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • bagel toppings (Everything topping: poppy seed, sesame seeds, minced garlic, minced onion and a touch of kosher salt)

1. Start with the sponge. Mix together the yeast and flour then add in the water. Let rise for 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in half

2. Add in the remaining ingredients for the dough (yeast, flour, salt and honey/brown sugar/malt syrup) and mix well to incorporate. Transfer to floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until all of the ingredients are hydrated.

3. Separate the dough into 12 equal sections and roll into a ball. Ideally, these should be around 4oz. Cover the balls with a damp towel and rest for 20 minutes

4. Form the bagel shape by poking a hole into the dough and stretching out the center to a 2 inch diameter. Put the formed dough on parchment paper lined baking sheets, lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Lightly spray the dough with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20 minutes.

5. After resting for 20 minutes, drop one of the bagels into a bowl of cool water. If it rises within 10 seconds, it’s ready to go. If it’s not fully proofed and sinks in the water, pat it dry and let it rest for another 5-10 minutes, until it passes the float test. After the dough passes the test, place in the fridge. At this point, the dough can stay in the fridge for 2 days.

6. When you’re ready to bake the dough, remove the pans from the fridge and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Grab a wide pot and start boiling water with added baking soda. Gently place the bagels in the pot, however many will comfortably fit, usually about 2-3. Boil on one side for 1 minute then turn over and boil for another minute.

7. As soon as the bagels come out of the water bath, add on the toppings while they’re still damp and sticky. After all the toppings have been added, place in the oven on center racks.

8. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 450 and rotate the pans 180 degrees and bake another 5-10 minutes, until bagels are light brown and cooked through.

9. Ward off the masses because as soon as they smell freshly baked bagels, they’ll be coming!


2 Responses

  1. February 7, 2013

    OMG, guess what I am doing tomorrow? You make this sound easy, I am going to make bagels. Living with a Jewish husband means no fruity bagels around here so I will make the everything bagels with lox. Yum. I happen to have a bottle or five lying around to help me make the bagels with. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. February 7, 2013

    Thanks Katie! Homemade bagels really aren’t as difficult as I thought they would be. Actually, I think it’s easier than making sandwich bread. We love our Jewish food around here, so expect some more recipes like this in the future. Let me know how your bagels turn out!

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