Confession: I’ve never made a bagel before, and while I was intrigued and excited to find a recipe for bagels from The Wednesday Chef, I’ll admit that I wasn’t overly hopeful- ask anyone I know, my attempts at baking don’t usually end well. Believe me, I’ve tried. Breads, cakes, muffins, cookies, even pizzas- more often than not, they end up turning from inedible hockey pucks to stale inedible hockey pucks because nobody wants to eat them. Yep, it’s that bad.
So apparently this is a magical recipe, because even I didn’t manage to screw it up.
I mean, the most difficult part of the recipe was waiting for the water to boil- it took a bloody 10 minutes.
Or maybe I’m just a very impatient person. Hmm.
I’ve never had a freshly made bagel. I would not dare to compare mine to the ‘authentic’ ones in New York, but what I dare to say is that these babies are so. darn. good. They have just the right amount of chewiness to give your jaw a good workout without actually breaking it, and I love how the hot water bath gives the crust a crunch and a unique flavour. That and also my secret ingredient- blackstrap molasses.
What!? I hear you say.
Now before you accuse me of sacrilege, let me explain.
Replacing the barley malt syrup and honey with blackstrap molasses was a hard decision. Those are probably the most authentic ingredients, but I didn’t have either in my pantry. I’ve also been trying to increase my iron intake through my diet, and because blackstrap molasses is so rich in iron, this was the perfect opportunity for me to sneak in some more of that metallic goodness without murdering my taste buds. Trust me, you won’t taste it in there.
Because of my troubled history with baking, I decided to halve the recipe. I also replaced some of the white flour with whole wheat flour to give it a little extra fibre and texture. Forming the bagels weren’t as hard as I thought either, though I had a long way to go compared to this.
Below is the recipe as I made it, except I made the terrible mistake of forgetting to oil the pan. The bagels were literally super-glued to the bottom. It was impossible to detach them from the tray without ripping them to pieces.Hence the lack of pictures of bagels sans baking tray. And if you look closely the position of the bagels are the same in every single photo.
After a few hours, the the bagels somehow managed to unstick from the tray.
Maybe the bagels elves decided to be nice today.
What did I tell you? This is a magical recipe.
Sesame Bagels Recipe
Adapted from The Wednesday Chef
(Makes 4 Bagels)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup bread or all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 + 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup water
rice bran oil or olive oil
8-10 cups water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- Mix flours, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.
- Dissolve blackstrap molasses in water. Add to the flour mixture and bring everything together to form a dough. Add more water or flour as needed.
- On a floured surface, knead the dough for 5 minutes and return to the bowl to rest for 45 minutes.
- Once the dough is rested, divide into four equal pieces. Using both hands, form each piece of dough into a rope with tapering ends. Wrap the rope of dough around your hand so that the two ends overlap under your palm, and with some force, roll it against a clean surface so that they fuse together to form a circle. This may take a few trials and errors.
- Arrange the circles onto a baking tray lined with cling film. Brush with oil, cover, and leave in the fridge to rise overnight.
- In the morning, bring the circles out of the fridge. To test whether they are ready, place one in a bowl of water. If it doesn’t float, leave the circles to rise for another half an hour. If it does, proceed to the next step.
- Preheat the oven to 240°C.
- Bring a 8 to 10 cups of water to a rolling boil in a pot. Add in 1 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda. Carefully drop in as many circles as you can fit into the pot. After 1 minute, flip them using a slotted spoon and boil for another minute.
- Remove the circles from the pot and briefly allow to drain. Remove the cling film and oil the baking tray thoroughly. Arrange the circles on the baking tray and sprinkle generously with white sesame seeds.
- Place the baking tray on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Switch off the oven without opening the door, and allow bagels to continue to cook and brown.
- After 30 minutes, remove the bagels and let cool completely. Enjoy!