Quarantine Provisions: Everything Bagels

Long time no post. We’re all living in that nether-space of Blursday, the Eleventy-Shifth of Marprilay, and it’s been hard to keep up with things. Mea Culpa.

I decided to become the ultimate Quarantine Stereotype, and try my hand at bread-baking — but because it’s me, I went for one of the things that I miss most about living in NY: Real, honest-to-god BAGELS.

So first: A brief highlight reel:

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Quarantine achievement unlocked: homemade bagels.

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OK, so first, you’ve got to make a Sponge, or a starter, or a levin.

Here’s how:

2 1/4 cups of bread flour.
1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar (AKA yeast munchies)
1 2/3 cups of warm water.
1 teaspoon of dry active yeast.

Put it in a bowl, mix the shit out of it, cover the bowl with a cloth, and let sit at room temperature for at least 3-4 hours. It should get all bubbly, and nearly triple in size.

Then, when you come back to it, you add the rest of the ingredients to the sponge to make the dough:

another 2 1/4 cups of bread flour.
2 teaspoons of salt
3 tablespoons of Carnation Malted Milk Powder (recipe called for barley malt powder AND powdered milk, and whaddayaknow, this has both).

Mix that all together with the sponge, until it comes together as a ragged dough. Turn it out onto a lightly-floured table, and knead the ever-loving hell out of it. (I suppose you could use a mixer with a dough hook, but I don’t have one, so I just did it by hand.) It should be kneaded for at least 15 minutes.

Then, let the dough rest for another 15 minutes.

Once that’s done, divide the dough into 8 parts. Take each part, roll it into a ball. Place each ball on the table, mush into a disk with your hand, and then, using a wet finger, poke a hole in the center of the disk. Use two fingers to stretch out the hole to larger than you think it needs to be (since it will shrink as the dough rises).

Place the 8 proto-bagels onto a greased parchment sheet on a baking pan, cover with a cloth, and put in the fridge overnight — at least 12-14 hours — for a secondary fermentation. The skin will dry out a bit, and the bagels will rise.

The next morning, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees, and put a pot on the stove with 1 gallon of water. Bring the water to a boil. When the water is nearly boiling, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda (which turns the water alkaline, which greatly aids in crust development) and about a half-tablespoon of molasses (you could substitute honey — this is just to aid in the carmelization of the outer crust).

2 at a time, gently drop the bagels into the boiling water, and boil them for at least 1 minute on each side. Take them out with a slotted spoon, spatula, or spider, and place them, top side down into a wide bowl in which you have placed one entire container (2 1/3 oz) of Trader Joe’s Everything But The Bagel seasoning mix. Coat the top side in the tasty bits, then place the bagel, clean side down, on the greased parchment on a baking tray.

Once you have all 8 bagels boiled and topped, put the tray in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes or so. Take out, remove from the parchment, place on a cooling rack — and then give up and dig in to warm Everything Bagels.

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