Bagels are doughnut-shaped yeast-leavened rolls characterized by a crisp, shiny crust and a dense interior. They are almost a symbol of the city of New York, and are staple of the United States’ culinary tradition.
Their unique soft texture with a golden crust outside is obtained by cooking them first in boiling water, and then in the oven.
They can be found in sweet and salty versions, and they are usually enjoyed in the morning, for a delicious breakfast and brunch, or for a quick and tasty lunch. Today, we have paired our black coffee with a nice salmon bagel. In this article we share with you the recipe to prepare them from scratch, step by step.
Bagels belong to a Jewish-Slavic tradition. In fact, their recipe is mentioned for the first time in 1610 in Krakow, Poland, where it was customary among the local Jews to give them to pregnant women as a gift of good luck.
The bagels arrived to America with the migration of the Polish Jewish people to the United States. Now, in the US bagels are so loved that there is a National Bagel Day, celebrated on February, 9.
HOW TO PREPARE THEM
To make 10 bagels according to the traditional recipe, you need the following ingredients: 4 cups (520 gr) of bread flour • 1 tbs brown sugar • 2 tbsp (30 g) dry yeast • 2 teaspoons of salt • 1 1/2 cups (360 ml water). For the water bath: 2 quarts water (almost 2 l) • 1/4 cup (60 gr) of honey or sugar. To fill them: 8 slices of smoked salmon • 2 cups (200 g) of cream cheese • fresh chives.
1. Make the dough with flour, salt and sugar combined in a big bowl. Crumble the dry yeast into a glass 1/2 filled with lukewarm water. Add water and the yeast mixture to the bowl, and keep kneading.
2. Once the dough is dense, let it rest for almost 2 hours at room temperature.
3. Punch the dough to get rid of any air bubbles. Knead it again and shape into 10 balls. Place them on a baking tray you have slightly dusted with flour. Shape them into doughnuts by making a hole with your finger in the center of each ball. Let them rest for about an hour.
4. Then, put the bagels, 2 or 3 at a time, in a large pot with boiling water combined with sugar or honey. Make sure they cook on both sides. One minute per side should be enough.
5. Once they come to the surface, drain them and let them rest on a clean cloth.
6. Once dry, place them on a baking tray in the upper part of the oven, and cook at 392 F for about 40 minutes, or until golden. If you want a more golden and shinier crust, you might brush them with whisked egg white before cooking.
7. Once cooled down, cut them in half and spread cream cheese on one side, sprinkle with chives, and add the smoked salmon on the other one. Close them together and enjoy with a long coffee.
Photos by Gaia Menchicchi | Food idea by Diletta Maria Secco.