Everything Bagels

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The first time I ever ate an ‘everything’ bagel was in New York (not too shocking). It was in the form of a miniature bagel-shaped ice-cream, topped with sesame and poppy seeds and served with smoked salmon ‘threads’ (more shocking). To be honest I’ve always preferred bread over ice-cream so I wasn’t quite taken with the dish…..but the dining experience I had at wd~50 (on Manhattan’s Lower East Side) was extremely memorable; one in fact that I will never forget. Wylie Dufresne, the inventive cook behind this dish, named his inspiration the ‘thinking-man’s bagel’ – apparently it has “depth and complexity”. Put simply, it’s a meal in itself, and a New York favourite.

I remember watching them being made on TV (The Great British Bake Off I think it was…..), and ever since I’ve wanted to have a go. I found a recipe in one of my American baking books; a mighty thick and rather technical one aimed at professionals (I seem to remember having to persuade mum that it was worth carting back to the UK). It’s not a book I’ve used often…..but on this occasion it proved it’s worth. A quick word of warning – this recipe makes a very firm dough, so don’t reach for the flour when it comes to rolling and shaping.

250g water
15g fresh yeast
500g strong white flour
8g salt
4g oil (I used olive)
2 tablespoons clear honey (a last minute addition to the original recipe)
2 tablespoons black treacle (for the poaching water)

‘Everything’ for the topping…..

Black sesame seeds
White sesame seeds
Poppy seeds
Garlic flakes
Sea salt
Polenta (a good tip from Adam, this gave them added crunch)

1. In an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, bring all the ingredients together into a smooth dough – knead for 8-10 minutes on medium speed
2. Shape the dough into a neat ball, cover with a damp tea-towel and leave to rise for at least 1 hour (until it has doubled in size)
3. Knock the dough down, then divide it into 50-55g pieces – roll each piece into a tight ball, then cover all the balls with a damp tea towel
4. Working with one at a time, roll the ball into a short rope using the palms of your hands, then loop around into a doughnut shape – seal the ends together well by rolling against the work surface (I put my fingers through the hole and rolled back and forth)
5. Once all the dough has been shaped, arrange the bagels on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper – cover lightly with cling film then leave to rise for a further hour
6. Prepare the poaching liquor – my American recipe called for malt syrup, but treacle is a good alternative – bring a large pot of water to the boil with the treacle, then leave to gently simmer
7. When the bagels have risen nicely, lift them gently from the tray (you might want to cut the parchment and lift them one by one by the paper underneath), and lower them into the simmering water – don’t do more than four at a time
8. Poach them for approximately 1 minute on each side, then transfer them to another baking tray lined with parchment paper (be sure to space them at least 1-inch apart)
9. Brush the exposed surface of the poached bagels with beaten egg yolk, then scatter the topping on generously
10. Bake in a hot oven (230°C) until golden brown – I gave mine about 8 minutes before turning them over, then another 6-7 upside-down

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