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Sunday, March 3, 2019

Homemade Bagels with Sourdough Starter

A bagel also spelled beigel is a bread product originating in the Jewish communities of  Poland. It is traditionally shaped by hand into the form of a ring from yeasted  dough, roughly hand-sized, that is first boiled for a short time in water and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior. Bagels are generally eaten untoasted, as they have already been cooked. However some people like them toasted. Bagels are often topped with seeds baked on the outer crust, with the traditional ones being poppy or Sesame seeds. Some may have salt sprinkled on their surface, and there are different dough types, such as whole-grain or rye. Though the origins of bagels are somewhat obscure, it is known that they were widely consumed by Ashkenazi Jews  from the 17th century. The first known mention of the bagel, in 1610, was in Jewish community ordinances in Krakow, Poland. Bagels are now a popular bread product in North America.

The basic roll-with-a-hole design is hundreds of years old and has other practical advantages besides providing more even cooking and baking of the dough: The hole could be used to thread string or dowels through groups of bagels, allowing easier handling and transportation and more appealing seller displays. At its most basic, traditional bagel dough contains wheat flour, salt, water, and yeast, bread flour  or other high gluten flours are preferred to create the firm, dense but spongy bagel shape and chewy texture. Bagels are traditionally made by mixing and kneading the ingredients to form the dough and letting it rise then shaping the dough into the traditional bagel shape, round with a hole in the middle, from a long thin piece of boiling each bagel in water for 60-90 seconds that may contain additives such as lye, baking soda, barley malt syrup or honey and then baking at between 175 °C and 315 °C (about 350–600 °F)
I have been looking for a good bagel recipe with Sour dough bread starter. I played with few recipes on line and then came up with this one that came out the best by tweaking and modifying the ingredients following way.
  • 1 packet of quick rising yeast
  • 1/4 cup of  warm water to activate yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of Honey or sugar
  • 1cup sourdough starter
  • 1/4 cup water (depending on how your sour dough starter is thick or thin, you may need less water or 1/4 cup
  • 1 cup of home made yogurt (or store bought plain Greek yogurt) (Recipe on this blog, don't use store bought plain yogurt it his too creamy due to gelatin in it and it won't work)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3  Cups flour
  • 3/4 Tablespoon salt or to taste
  • 4 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2  Tablespoon of baking soda for boiling
  • 2 Tablespoon of milk for glazing

For Topping: I used:
  • Fresh and pickled Jalapeno slices
  • Mexican blend Shredded cheese
  • Sesame seeds.
You can have following optional toppings:

  • Dried onions flakes, Dried garlic flakes, Poppy seeds, Asiago cheese,  Parmesan cheese,  or Kosher salt. 
Although I am not too crazy about sweet toppings on bagels (according to me they belong on Donuts or Cinnamon rolls) but you can use sugar and cinnamon topping on bagels too and or may add Blueberries or raisins or Cranberries in the batter if you like them.

  • Activate the yeast in warm water with sugar or honey melted in.
  • Cover and set aside for 5-10 min while you prep the other dough ingredients.
  • Combine salt, baking soda and flour until well incorporated
  • Using a dough hook in your stand mixer combine the dry ingredients, sourdough starter, water, oil, and yogurt and  mix  it for 30 sec. Add yeast and mix again for 30 sec. 
  • Let is all sit for 10 min allow the flour to absorb the liquid.
  • Turn the mixture on and at low speed mix all the ingredients for about 4 min.
  • Transfer the dough in a greased bowl  cover it with damp cloth and plastic wrap and let it it sit in warm place for 4 hours to rise.

  • Transfer  the risen dough on lightly floured board and kneed the dough until smooth and roll it in to ball.
  • Divide the ball in to  8 pieces for  medium sized bagels like I made or to  6 pieces for bigger bagels.
  • Make as smooth ball out of each piece and then make a hole in the center and stretch is slightly making the bagel shape and all the  surface smooth.
  • Place the bagels on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Cover the bagels with damp cheese cloth and let them sit for one hour.
*This recipe yields 6 very large bagels or 8 medium sized bagels like I baked here.

Preheat the oven to 465 F (baking temp is 450 F once you open the open to place the bagels and close the door you can turn the temp down to 450 F, but first prepare the bath for bagel prior to baking.

How to Prepare the bath for bagels:

  • Heat water in a shallow but large pot filled 2/3 with water.
  • Bring the water to boil, add baking soda.
  • Drop 4 bagels at a time and cook for 30 sec and the gently flip the bagel and cook for another 30 sec with stove on and water boiling. 
  • Gently take them out and place  on a lightly greased silicon baking pan or sheet with metal tray under (so can firmly grip the surface) 
  • Repeat until all the bagels are on the tray.
  • Brush the bagels with milk. (I used the silicon brush but you can use a sturdy paper towel soaked in milk and gently run over the bagel surface.)
  • Top the bagels with desired toppings, I used sesame seeds on couple of them, fresh Jalapeno slices and Mexican blend finely shredded cheese on couple and pickled Jalapeno slices and Mexican blend finely shredded cheese on 4 of them.
  • Place the bagels in preheated oven (remember I said preheat it 465 F, but then as soon as you place the bagels and close the door turn the temp down to 450 F so it will stay at 450 F).
  • Bake them for 30 min on the top rack.
  • Let them cool for 15 min before cutting.  
  • May serve the  toasted  with cream cheese or butter.

Enjoy !!

Bagel information source:

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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