Hearth Bagels

The flavor of a good bagel begins with a simple but firm dough, and is developed over time. The boiling stage forms a skin on the exterior, which quickly cooks the skin of the bagel so it can't expand freely in the oven, resulting in a dense, delicious interior. This is the classic "blank canvas" recipe for bagels. They can be flavored or topped any way you please.
Prep
1 hr
Bake
18 to 20 mins
Total
2 hrs 43 mins
Yield
Eight large bagels
Hearth Bagels

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the water, barley malt syrup, yeast, and 1 cup of flour. Cover and let work for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly.
  2. Stir in the salt and an additional 2 1/4 cups of flour, adding the remaining 3/4 cup of flour if the dough is too sticky.
  3. Mix until the dough comes together and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn out onto a well-floured work surface. Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, then cover and let rest while you clean and grease the mixing bowl.
  5. Knead for 3 to 4 minutes more, until the dough is smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky. If adding a flavor (see tips below), add it at this point.
  6. Place the dough in the bowl and cover. Let rise until almost doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Gently deflate the risen dough and roll it out to about 1/2" thick on a floured surface.
  8. Choose a method to form your bagels from the techniques below and place them on lightly floured parchment to rest (about 15 minutes) while you preheat the oven to 450°F.
  9. Method I: Portion the dough into 8 equal pieces and round each into a ball. Stick your finger through the center of the dough ball and twirl the dough around your finger until the center is about 1 1/2" in diameter.
  10. Method II: Use a doughnut cutter, or a 3" round cutter for the circle and a 1/2" round cutter to cut out the center. Pull the hole open a little larger before boiling.
  11. Method III: Portion the dough into 8 equal balls (2 5/8 ounces each) and roll into a log about 6" long. Wet the ends and overlap them. Flour your fingers and put them through the center of the bagel; roll them over the dough where it overlaps to seal it.
  12. To boil: Placed the water in a large saucepan. Add the malt syrup for shiny bagels (or the salt for a salty exterior). Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil.
  13. The bagels are ready to cook when they've risen slightly (they should still be firm enough that the surface will bounce back a bit when lightly touched).
  14. Reduce the heat to medium and slip 2 or 3 bagels into the water.
  15. Cook for 1 minute, then turn over and cook for 2 more minutes more.
  16. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and return to the baking sheets.
  17. Brush the tops with egg wash (if using), and sprinkle with the garnish of your choice (see baker's tips below).
  18. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.
  19. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack.
  20. Store in a paper bag on the counter for one day; or slice and freeze for up to two months for longer storage.

Tips from our Bakers

  • After boiling, use the egg wash and sprinkle on a topping for crunch and flavor. Caraway, poppy, flax, or sesame seeds are delicious. Pretzel salt, dried onion, or pearl sugar are all possibilities. Can't decide? Have it all with Everything Bagel Topping.
  • One bagel variant are "bagins", which are just bagels with the holes left in. This English muffin/bagel hybrid was devised to maximize the surface that cream cheese or other yummy things can be spread on.
  • To make a classic egg bagel, make up a batch of Hearth Bread dough, replacing the 2 cups water with 2 extra-large eggs (equals 1/2 cup liquid) and 1 1/2 cups water in which you've boiled potatoes.
  • Knead in some cinnamon sugar and raisins, dried cranberries and orange zest, dried onions, or chunks of cheese before the dough's first rise.