You’ve likely seen these bagels before. Luisa just raved about them last week. Because of her wonderful post, I considered not posting them here—but it is too important. Think of this post as a public service announcement. You need to make these bagels. For those of you that have experienced the joy of making your first loaf of no-knead bread, this is like that, but with bagels. I mean, what else is there to say? You. Can. Make. Bagels. And not just any bagels, really amazing bagels.
The dough is very stiff, and not that easy to work with. Be careful if you use a stand mixer. The dough has destroyed mixers, at least according to the internet.
I kneaded my dough by hand for the suggested 2-3 minutes and it was far from smooth. It was sort of a mess. I freaked out a little. It definitely would have gotten a D on the windowpane test. But, I am lazy, so I just decided to proceed with the recipe and hope for the best. These bagels were the best, so I guess it all worked out in the end. My advice is not to stress about the dough at this stage, you’ll still have awesome bagels.
After the formed bagels have proofed in the fridge overnight, you drop one in a bowl of cold water to see if it floats. If is does (and this is what was left out of the recipe, but is included in Reinhart’s book) return the pan of bagels to the fridge until you are ready to boil them. Otherwise, you risk them over-proofing. If the bagel sinks, let it warm up a little more and try again. But again, once it floats return it to the fridge until you are ready to boil.
I used malt barley syrup, but I imagine honey would be fine, it is such a small amount. Luissa used both honey and all-purpose flour, and ended up with beautiful bagels. The recipe seems pretty forgiving. You can also add a tablespoon of barley malt syrup to the mixture you boil the bagels in.
You can top these with whatever you like. If you are using a topping, I recommend an eggwash to help the topping stick. It gets brushed on just before baking.
My biggest problem was that I didn’t join the ends as well as I should have when forming the rings. Press hard. Harder than you think. Otherwise, your bagel will unravel a little, which is actually not a big deal, but less perfect looking.
I strongly recommend that you make a double batch. This recipe makes 6 bagels. Unless you live alone and will not share these with anyone else, make a dozen. They freeze beautifully and Bryan and I managed to eat 7 in 2 days (we gave the rest to friends).
The bottom line is that this recipe is fantastic. Believe the hype. Make bagels.