Ahh the breakfast of champions. And mid-afternoon snack of champions. And midnight snack of champions. And... well, you get the picture.
I've seen other recipes that include malt extract, but I never got that far in my bagel-baking journey. I can't tell you how to add it to this recipe because I never tried it! But from what I understand, that does give it that New York authentic flavor that everyone loves about bagels.
Does that mean this recipe isn't as good? Not really! I never had a problem with the flavor being lacking. The thing to ALWAYS include is the baking soda in the water bath, and the water bath itself. That's what will give your bagels their chewy, signature texture and flavor.
Yield: 6 bagels
1 Tb yeast
1 1/2 Tb sugar
1 1/4 cup water
3 1/2 cups flour (you can use all-purpose, but you'll get a chewier texture from bread flour)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda (for water bath)
Sprinkle yeast and sugar into water and stir to dissolve; let prove. Mix in flour and salt. Dough will be STIFF and you will need to knead it by hand (it's a bit intense for a home mixer).
Let rise for 1 hour, covered.
At the end of rise time, bring a large pot to boil, with the baking soda. While it's coming to a boil, shape your bagels. Roll into a ball and poke a hole in the middle with both your index fingers, then rotate your fingers around each other to expand the hole to about a half-dollar size. Place on lined baking sheet to let rise again for 15-20 minutes, or until the bagels puff up and leave an indent when poked.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
When ready to boil, ease the bagels in two at a time and boil for 1-1 1/2 minutes per side. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Once all the bagels have been boiled, bake for 20-25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
2/3 cup raisins
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Knead into dough at kneading phase. Continue recipe as written above.
2/3 cup wild blueberries (regular lacked the flavor I really wanted in a blueberry bagel)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Sprinkle blueberries with lemon juice. Knead blueberries and cinnamon into dough at kneading phase. Continue recipe as written above.
1/3 cup jalapenos, chopped (I left the seeds in for crazy hot bagels; you can de-seed yours for a milder jalapeno flavor)
Knead jalapenos into dough at kneading phase. Continue as written above. Can be topped with jalapeno slices if desired after they've been boiled for additional kick.
After bagels have been boiled, sprinkle liberally with everything bagel seasoning (I bought my most recent one at Costco, but you can totally make your own with 1 Tb sesame seeds, 2 tsp poppy seeds, 1 tsp coarse salt, and 1 1/2 tsp dried garlic). Bake as written above.
1/2-3/4 cup shredded cheddar, asiago, or parmesan cheese
Knead at least 2/3 of your desired cheese into the dough, conserving the remaining cheese for after they've been boiled. Bake as written above.
Tips and tricks
Keep an eye on your bagels after they've been shaped. If you let them rise too much before they're boiled, they'll deflate as they boil and you won't get nice, tall bagels. Warmer temps in your kitchen will cause them to rise faster, so be aware of the temperature of your house!