Serves: Makes 8-12 Bagels
Approx cost: €0.60
Approx calories (per bagel): ~190
Approx preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes preparation + ~80 minutes cooking and proving
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”]Presumably, everyone here has heard of bagels – those glorious, slightly chewy, doughnut-shaped bread concoctions which just rock, in every way possible. I always used to buy them when I lived in England, but as with bought pita bread, bought bagels just don’t cut it – and they’re darned expensive too. Let’s face it – a pack of five remarkably small bagels which seem to be ever so slightly stale even when their best before date isn’t for another week (yuck!!!) for the “bargain price” of €2.50 just isn’t cool. I am talking about, of course, the type of bagels which are made at a “bakery” (if you could call a giant mass-producing factory that) a long way away from the stores and then shipped out to the supermarkets. If you know a decent local bakery which makes fresh bagels and you pay €2.50 for five then I’d say you’re probably getting a good deal.
Bagels however are not something that is a common sight in France. You can occasionally buy some sort of bread-roll, with a hole, which seems to be masquerading as a bagel. The texture is invariably terrible and I’m not even convinced it actually is a bagel, in the strictest sense. I won’t even start talking about the ready-made “bagel” sandwiches which are neatly packaged and stored in refrigerator cabinets. Anyone who’s had a refrigerated bagel will know the pain and disappointment of which I speak!
Perhaps I’d better give a brief explanation of bagels – just in case there is anyone who hasn’t heard of them. Bagels are essentially bread. The dough is first boiled briefly, and then baked, which results in a slightly chewy exterior. You can flavour them in all sorts of ways – in this post I decided to use plain old onion. You don’t have to flavour them at all of course though, and the best, I mean the best, way to eat them is toasted, with butter and Marmite. If you don’t fancy that then some cream cheese, smoked salmon and dill also works a charm.
I have to say though – I’m impatient, and when I decided on Sunday that I needed bagels – trust me… I needed bagels, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to wait 12 hours for the dough to rise, as per the “traditional method“:
Bagels are traditionally made by:
- mixing and kneading the ingredients to form the dough
- shaping the dough into the traditional bagel shape, round with a hole in the middle, from a long thin piece of dough
- proofing the bagels for at least 12 hours at low temperature (40–50 °F = 4.5–10 °C)
- boiling each bagel in water that may or may not contain additives such as lye, baking soda, barley malt syrup, or honey
- baking at between 175 °C and 315 °C (about 350–600 °F)
Give the fast version a try – one day I’ll have a shot at making the “long version”, but that’s going to require some planning ahead I think! Have a great Wednesday everyone! 🙂
Fast Onion Bagels
[learn_more caption=”Video Recipe”]
- 500g Plain Flour
- ~325ml Water, warm to the touch
- 2 Onions
- 1tbsp Caster Sugar
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2tsps Dried Yeast
- 1tsp Salt
- Start off by placing the yeast and sugar into a small bowl and pour in a few tablespoons of the warm water. Mix or whisk well and set aside for about 10 minutes, in order to activate the yeast. After this time, the yeast should be puffing up and bubbling nicely on top.
- While the yeast is “activating”, place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Peel and grate the onion on the largest grating size – the one where the holes are about 3-5mm wide. Take the grated onion in your hands and squeeze it to get rid of as much excess liquid as possible, before placing the onion into the bowl with the flour. Mix well, and form a well in the centre. Pour in the activated yeast mixture and the remainder of the water and mix to form a moist dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, dust the dough with flour and knead for 5 – 10 minutes, adding extra flour as needed (or should I say “kneaded” 🙂 ), until you have a manageable dough.
- Clean the large mixing bowl and place the olive oil into the bottom. Place the ball of dough into the bowl, and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for ~1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Uncover the dough, punch down and turn out. Roll into a sausage shape and cut into 8 – 12 equal pieces. Form each one into as perfect a sphere as you can (as you can see, I’m not so good at this part!) before setting down to rest on a surface. Leave for 10 minutes while you place a large pan of water to boil on the stove, and also preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
- While the water is coming to the boil, carefully poke a whole through the centre of each dough ball using your finger and form into as best a bagel shape as possible. Pull out the hole slightly so it is ~1 to 2cm in diameter. Set onto a non-stick baking sheet and when the water is boiling, transfer a dough piece onto a large flat spoon and carefully lower into the boiling water. After 30 seconds, turn the bagel over in the water, and then cover the pan and boil for about 2 minutes. I cooked two bagels at a time – feel free to do them one by one, or more, though not too many, else you will lower the water temperature too much!
- Take the bagels out of the water and place once more onto the baking sheet. I found it good to wait a few minutes and then gently turn them over on the sheet, dabbing at the bottom of the bagel, and the tray itself, with some kitchen paper, to ensure there wasn’t too much water there. Place into the preheated oven and bake for ~20 minutes, or until starting to turn golden brown, before removing and allowing to cool. Enjoy your bagels! 🙂