These are poppy seed and sesame seed bagels, made with a blend of white and rye flour. Aside from substituting in the rye and using treacle (I think this is molasses in America) instead of malt, I followed this recipe. I recommend this recipe because it resulted in a beautifully chewy texture; in a way that distinguishes a bagel from bread in a doughtnut shape.
My reason for using treacle instead of barley malt syrup was that well first of all, I didn’t have malt syrup. But it did make an excellent substitution in the end. Though treacle is sweeter, there is a only a small amount in the recipe so the bagels remained savoury overall. It definitely does add a lot of depth to the flavour and helps give the bagels that dark, glossy colour. The addition of rye also lends the bagels a slightly deeper colour, and contribute to a lovely flavour. And of course – to get the shine and the chewy crust, boiling the bagels prior to baking is essential!
Now, on to the recipe.
Ingredients for bagels (makes about 8):
- 17g molasses/treacle
- 3g/1tsp instant fast action yeast
- 10g salt
- 260ml lukewarm water
- 110g rye flour
- 345g strong white flour
- 1 egg (to brush on top of bagels before baking)
- plus some sesame and poppy seeds to sprinkle on top
Ingredients for the poaching liquid:
- 64 to 96 ounces of water
- 28.5g of malt syrup, treacle or honey
- 14g or 1 tbsp of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 tsp salt
1) To make the dough, first dissolve the treacle, salt and yeast into the lukewarm water. Then mix this with the flours (rye and white). Mix until it forms a rough ball. Add a little extra water if neccessary, but it shouldn’t be a wet dough.
2) Knead until the dough seems stiff but smooth and supple. It should be a tiny tiny bit tacky but not sticky at all. It shouldn’t stick easily to the table. Place in a bowl, cover with oiled cling film and let rise for about an hour.
3) Before shaping the bagels, prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment paper (lightly oiled otherwise the bagels will stick during baking). I used two baking trays, as I didn’t want to run the risk of any bagels sticking to each other. Roll the dough into a sausage shape and divide the dough up into equal pieces. I weighed each one out to be 110g, and I made 8 in total.
4) Now time to start shaping up. There are two primary ways to shape bagels, and I use the method that is not apparently preferred by professional bakers – but it works. I also find this method kind of relaxing. I shape the dough into a smooth ball, then poke a hole in the middle and gradually stretch it by spinning it around my finger. The hole should be larger than you want it to be in the end, because it will close up a little whilst boiling and baking.
5) Now they need to rise again. This can be done overnight in the fridge (then taken out 60 mins or so before baking), or you can let them rise on the counter on that day if you, like me, are impatient. I covered the bagels loosely with cling film and let them rise for about an hour.
6) Next comes boiling the bagels time. I always get a little scared here, but I think if you’re prepared and have everything at hand it’s fine. The bagels need to be easily accessible, aka right by the boiling pan/wok. The egg wash and the seeds you want to sprinkle on top should be right by too. You need to have a utensil that effectively drains the water at hand. And the oven needs to already be preheated to 200C. To prepare the poaching liquid, boil the water, then let simmer. Then, add the treacle, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
Now, boil each bagel for about a minute, then use the slotted spoon to drain the water and transfer the bagel to the baking tray. You can turn them over and give the other side another 30 seconds which is what the recipe on the website tells you to do, but I didn’t because when I’ve tried to flip them in the past I managed to deflate them a little. I’m not sure whether it’s really neccessary but that’s just my view on it! I like to boil 2 bagels at a time as I feel that any more is too much to keep an eye on all at once, and any less is too slow. Ideally, you want to get the bagels into the oven as quickly as possible after boiling. So brush on that egg wash as fast as possible, sprinkle on the seeds and get those bagels in the oven.
7) Bake the bagels for about 8 mins, then check whether they are getting too dark (especially underneath). If they are getting too dark underneath, place another tray underneath. If they are getting a little too dark on top, move them down a few oven shelves. Bake the bagels for another 10 mins, and then they should be ready.
I had mine with cream cheese and salmon, it was the best ever.