Bagels. One of my worst guilty pleasures. Nothing beats a warm, soft, chewy, fresh bagel on a cold morning. When I used to work in the Glebe, my office was next to Kettleman’s. Awesome, right? Well, not so much. Besides the hit my bank account took due to the almost daily bagel sandwiches, I also knew that they weren’t that great for me. So Katie and I took a vow. Bagels on Fridays only. It was our little end of the week reward. But now that I no longer work in the Glebe, we started buying Kettleman’s bagels by the half dozen and making our own bagel breakfast sandwiches on Fridays.
And then something happened. My favourite food blogger, Ottawa’s own Kelly Brisson (also known as The Gouda Life) shared a recipe for Montreal-style bagels. I’ve always wanted to make my own bagels, but I’ve been hesitant, thinking that they would be really difficult. I couldn’t believe how easy they were to make. More incredibly to me was how well they turned out. I’m now not only addicted to home made bagels, but also addicted to making them. So, who wants a dozen? My apartment has officially become a bagel factory.
Slightly adapted from The Gouda Life
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey (1/4 cup for the dough, 1/4 cup for boiling)
1 egg (whole) + 1 egg yolk
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup poppy seeds
Are you ready to bagel? Okay, let’s go.
In a large bowl, combine the water and yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it has become frothy. Add in the sugar, salt, oil, 1/4 cup of honey, whole egg and the egg yolk. Whisk together until combined. Add in 1 cup of the flour, stirring until it is combined. Add in the remaining 3 cups, mixing until it has combined into a shaggy dough.
Transfer your dough on to a well floured surface and begin to knead with your hands for about 8-10 minutes. Fold, push, punch, press, stretch and repeat until the dough is nice and smooth. Cover with your mixing bowl and let it rise for 20 minutes.
Cut your dough into 18 equal pieces – I cut it into thirds, and then each third by six. It’s time to form your beautiful bagels. Using your hands, roll the dough out and pinch the ends together firmly, forming your bagel ring. Tip: Make them skinnier and smaller than you think they should be – they will rise and grow during this process. Set the bagels aside on parchment paper lined baking sheets and cover with a towel for another 20 minutes.
In the meantime, start preheating your oven to 500F. Also, prepare you bagel toppings. Fill a shallow bowl with sesame seeds, and another with poppy seeds if you’d like. I made “everything” bagels too, combining sesame, poppy and flax seeds in a third shallow bowl.
In a large pot, bring about 16 cups of water to a boil. Add the 1/4 cup of honey. Add the bagels, three at a time, to the boiling water. Let them boil for 1 minute, and then flip them over allowing them to cook for another minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean dry towel to cool for about a minute. Once they are cooled enough that you can touch them with your hands, roll the bagels through the seeds of your choice, and then place back on to the parchment paper lined sheet. Continue this process until all of your bagels are boiled and seeded.
Since you’ll end up with 18 bagels, you’ll most likely have to bake them in two separate batches. Place your first sheet in the over for about 10 minutes, until the bottoms start to turn golden brown. Flip, and return to the over for another 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them to ensure that you don’t overcook them – but you want them to get that golden brown “fire roasted” look. If you have a wood burning oven, well good for you. Invite me over sometime please. But if you’re like the rest of us, a normal oven will do just fine.
Serve the bagels warm however you like them – with cream cheese, peanut butter, or even as a breakfast sandwich. They will keep up to a week in an airtight container, or freeze them for future use.