Monday, May 4, 2009

Parisian Bagels

I love bread. Any and all kinds. I've never had bagels before so I thought I'd make one. As I've never had any professionally made ones, I have nothing to compare mine to. However, I'd go so far as to say that they were terrific! Flavourful, chewy and crunchy, warm.. great eaten with butter and jam, and also poached eggs.

This recipe yields 10 bagels, adapted from Jo Goldenberg's Parisian Bagel

3 1/2 cups bread flour [I ran out of bread flour and used half all­-purpose flour]
1 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons, sugar
1/2 tablespoon, salt
1 1/2 cups, hot water (about 50 degrees)
3 litres water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white – beaten with 1 teaspoon, water
cornmeal for sprinkling on the baking sheet

1) In a mixing bowl measure 3 cups of the flour and stir in all the remaining dry ingredients. Pour in the hot water, and stir vigorously with a plastic spoon for about 2 minutes.
2) Add the remaining half­ cup of flour, a little at a time, stirring by hand. When the batter becomes thick and heavy, lift the dough from the bowl and place it on a lightly floured work surface for kneading by hand.
3) Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Add flour as needed if the dough is sticky in your hands.
4) First Rising: When dough is kneaded enough, place it in an oiled mixing bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature until it has doubled in volume – about 1 hour.
5) Near the end of this rising time, bring the 3 litres of water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the sugar; then, reduce the heat and leave the water just barely moving – at a slow simmer.
6) When the dough has doubled in volume, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and punch it down with extended fingers to remove excess gas.
7) Divide the dough into 10 pieces (each will weigh about 3­4 ounces). Shape each piece into a ball. Allow the balls to stand and relax for a few minutes – then flatten each one with the palm of your hand.
8) With your thumb, press deep into the center of the bagel and tear the depression open with your fingers. Pull the hole open, pull it down over a finger and smooth the rough edges. It should look like a bagel! Form all of the bagels and place them on your work surface.
9) Cover the shaped bagels with wax paper or parchment paper. Leave them
at room temperature just until the dough has risen slightly – about 10 minutes (this is called a “half proof”).
10) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
11) Grease a baking sheet with shortening (or use a non­stick baking sheet, or line a baking sheet with “Silpat” or similar material) and sprinkle the baking sheet with cornmeal.
12) Into the gently simmering water prepared earlier, slip one bagel at a time (use a large skimmer, and gently lower them into the water). Simmer only 2 or 3 bagels at a time – do not crowd the pan. The bagels will sink and then rise again after a few seconds. Simmer gently for one minute, turning each bagel over once during that time. Lift each bagel out of the water with the skimmer, drain briefly on a towel, then place each bagel on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all bagels are simmered, drained and on the baking sheet.
13) Brush each bagel lightly with the egg­ white­-water mixture.
14) Place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 25­30 minutes. When brown and shiny, remove the finished bagels from the oven. Place the bagels on a metal rack to cool.

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