This is big. There’s no going back from statements like this. Claiming something as my absolute favorite baked good is like asking a musician for a favorite song or band. But seriously, this is my definitive favorite thing that has come out of an oven ever in the history of ovens. For 22 years (or for however long I’ve been eating them) I have loved bagels.
Harris, my best friend, calls me an honorary Jew because, among other reasons, I am obsessed with bagels. In fact, when I told him that I had made bagels from scratch his actual response was, “Stop it you’re so Jewish.” (You can check Facebook if you don’t believe me.)
I just love bagels. LOVE THEM. I don’t discriminate: I love all flavors, all shmears. I will go out of my way to find a good bagel (like walking 20 blocks in NYC looking for just the right one). They take me back to my competitive swimming years when we’d eat them at swim meets. My gym even gives them out for free on the 1st Tuesday of the month. I dream of bagels.
But since moving to Texas, I’ve been sorely disappointed in the bagels. They say bagels from New York are the best (and they are) but it is as if anywhere off the East Coast cannot make a good bagel. Except for chains like Panera and Einstein’s, I have yet to find a passable bagel here in Austin. I don’t think they boil the bagels here. They’re like circular lumps of dry bread.
I searched the Internet far and wide for ideas and recipes and came up with my own, a minimalist type of recipe so all that you taste is the goodness of the bagel. Nothing fancy here, just chewy bagel goodness. And they’re even vegan so I can serve them to Bess when she visits this weekend!
I now plan on baking 50 dozen bagels (of various flavors) and eating my way out of my apartment. I’ll see you when I get out of my bagel coma.
Plain Bagels (makes 6 bagels)
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 T sugar
2/3 cup warm water + extra
1/2 T vegetable oil
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
In the bottom of your mixer bowl, combine 2/3 cup water, sugar, and yeast and let the yeast develop for about 5 minutes. Add in flour, vegetable oil, and salt and mix with a dough hook (or by hand) until the dough is elastic and tough. You may need to add in a bit of extra water, but do it little by little. Let the dough sit and rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead. Cut into 6 equal pieces. Roll each individual piece into a “snake” long enough to wrap around your palm. Dip each end of the dough in water and press together in your palm, forming a circle. Place the formed bagels on a floured board and allow to rise another 20-30 minutes. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. When the water is gently boiling, place 2-3 bagels into the water for 1 minute and then flip to boil on the other side for another minute. Remove the bagels, place them on paper towels to take off excess moisture, then place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels. Bake in the oven on 425* for 18 minutes, turning them over after 10 minutes. Enjoy!