Easy homemade bagels
- July 2021
- Makes 6 bagels
- Hands-on time 20 min, plus resting/proving/overnight proving, oven time 20 min
Bake Off champion David Atherton shows you how to get that crucial chewy texture (and the correct sized hole) when you make the New York deli favourites. Scroll on down to watch a video showing you how to make the bagels.
Bagels are poached before they’re baked, which gives them their distinct chew, and the use of malt extract in the poaching liquor ensures a beautiful brown crust to be proud of. David’s recipe benefits from a 10 hour overnight prove, which also happens to mean they’re ready in time for breakfast – win win.
This recipe is from Good To Eat by David Atherton (Hodder & Stoughton £25), out now.
Love bagels? Check out our take on the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese topping here.
- 3.1g (0.5g saturated)
- 56.7g (6.6g sugars)
- 1 tbsp malt extract
- 50g prunes
- 225g warm water
- 350g strong white bread flour
- 50g strong wholemeal bread flour
- 4g fast action yeast
- 6g fine salt
- 20g poppy seeds
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
For the poaching pot
- 2 tbsp malt extract
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Caraway seeds, for scattering on top
- Sesame seeds, for scattering on top
You’ll also need…
- Blender or food processor
- Large baking tray lined with compostable baking paper
- Compostable cling film
- Blend together the malt extract, prunes and warm water until fully combined and smooth.
- Put the flours, yeast, salt and poppy seeds into a large mixing bowl, add the wet mixture and mix to form a dough. Knead for 5 minutes in the bowl, adding a little more flour if the dough is very sticky, then leave, covered with a tea towel, for 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 6 pieces (each about 110g). Shape each piece into a tight ball. Shape your bagel by sticking your finger through the middle and stretch it outwards (you want it to be twice as wide as you would like the final hole, as it will rise when baked).
- Put the bagels on the prepared baking tray, leaving enough room around them to rise. Pour the vegetable oil into a reusable proving bag. Now cover the bagels with this and place in the fridge for about 10 hours or overnight.
- The next morning heat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 6.
- Fill a large saucepan with 2 litres of water, add the malt extract and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer then add the bicarbonate of soda (make sure the heat is low as the bicarb will make the water foam and overflow if it is still boiling).
- Gently drop in each bagel and poach for 45 seconds on each side. Place [Put] the poached bagels back onto the baking tray and sprinkle with the caraway and sesame seeds. Bake for 18 minutes until golden.
- Place the bagels on a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or slice in half and freeze.
David’s tips: To make the hole, stick your index finger through the middle of the dough ball, then push your other index finger through the opposite way. Rotate your fingers in a circle to stretch and open up the hole evenly.
When shaping your bagels in step 3, be sure to make the middle hole twice as wide as you would like the final hole to be, as it will close up when the bagel is proving and baking. The bagel will look skinny once you’ve shaped it, but don’t worry, it will fatten up and you’ll end up with the perfect size hole.
When poaching the bagels, roughly cut the baking paper they’ve been proving on. You can then pick up the bagel using the paper and tip it while holding onto the paper so it peels off gently into the water.
Easy swaps: Swap the caraway seeds and/or sesame seeds for fennel, poppy or pumpkin seeds.
Watch how to make the bagels:
While the bagels are best eaten the day they’re cooked, they freeze well. Cool completely, slice in half and pack into freezer bags, then freeze for up to 6 months. Toast the frozen bagels or warm through in a low oven for about 10 minutes.
Leftover bagels can be toasted, or you can use them to make bagel crisps. Thinly slice, toss with a glug of oil and some salt, spread over a large baking tray and bake at 180C fan/gas 6 for 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden.
Malt extract, also sold as barley malt extract, is a sweet, dark, treacle-like substance (beer brewers also use a dried version of it). Buy it in Waitrose and health food stores such as Holland & Barrett.
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