These things are too good to only make once or twice a year - but after making them I remembered why I wait so long in between.
The process isn't that difficult, but you do have to plan ahead, an attribute that surely isn't among my top ten. So I keep thinking, "I'd really like to make bagels this weekend," and suddenly it's Sunday afternoon and too late (because I am NOT getting up at 3:30 to bake bagels without getting paid for it).
Anyhoo, the steps for gorgeous chewy bagels are as follows:
1. Mix high gluten flour, yeast and water to make a sponge. Let it sit for two hours or until bubbly.
2. Add more flour, barley malt, salt and a little more yeast and knead. This dough is very, very stiff and is a workout for even a good mixer.
3. Shape into balls and wait 20 minutes. Shape into bagels (I punch a hole in the middle of each ball and spin it on my finger to make the bagel. Some people roll ropes and join the ends.)
4. Wait another 20 minutes or so until the bagels float when put in a bowl of water. I'm not sure what that means from a baking science perspective, but I assume it means it's risen enough to have sufficient gas for the next step.
5. "Retard" the bagels in the fridge overnight.
6. Boil the bagels for a couple of minutes the next morning, and top with seeds if you like.
7. Bake at a high temp until beautifully golden brown.
Decided to go old school black and white with these photos, because I liked the way it looked. Digital photography sure is a lot easier than standing in a hot, stinky darkroom, dipping your hands into volatile chemicals for hours at a time.