These had to be the hit of last week. They are sooo good: Jack said that they were the best bagels he's ever had. They are smaller than what you'd get at Einstein's, etc. I topped some of them this time with salt and sesame seeds, but we're thinking asiago cheese and cinnamon sugar would be good as well.
It's amazing that a change in technique can make flour, salt, yeast, and water taste so different. This recipe follows the traditional method of boiling, then baking. I'm estimating that each bagel is about 130 calories, which is much better than the typical 300 calorie bagel you can buy.
King Arthur Flour Bagels
Note: These bagels require a starter that develops overnight. You could also make the starter in the morning and make the bagels after 6-8 hours. If you use active dry yeast as I did instead of instant (which is not the same as Rapid Rise), your rise time will be longer.
1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) King Arthur (or other brand) Unbleached Bread Flour
1/4 cup (2 ounces) cool water
pinch of yeast
4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) cool water
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
water to fill a 10" - 12"-diameter pan about 1" deep
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Combine the starter ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, cover, and let rest at room temperature overnight.
Next day, combine the puffy starter with all of the dough ingredients and knead—by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine—to form a stiff but not dry dough. Since we're using a high-protein bread flour here, you might notice it takes a bit more effort and time to develop the gluten. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or large (at least 8-cup) measuring cup, cover, and set it aside to rise for 1 hour.
Gently deflate the dough, and let it rise for another 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes. They'll puff up very slightly.
While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water and sugar to a very gentle boil in a wide-diameter (about 10") pan. A 10" electric frying pan works well here.
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole till it's about 2 inches in diameter (the entire bagel will be about 3 ½" across). Place each bagel on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, or the end of a wooden spoon, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
Bake the bagels for about 22-25 minutes, or until they're as deep brown as you like. To top with seeds, remove them from the oven after about 15 minutes, spray with water or brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with seeds or kosher salt. Return to the oven to finish baking. Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a rack. Yield: 1 dozen chewy bagels.