Good bagels are slightly sweet, a little chewy and have a soft, shiny crust. One of the strange things about making bagels is that you poach them before baking, but they are absolutely delicious.
To make 12 bagels:
500g Strong white bread flour To glaze:
5g “quick” dried yeast 1 beaten egg
10g salt (Optional) Poppy or sesame seeds
250ml warm water
50ml sunflower oil
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl to form a dough and knead for 5-10 minutes. Shape into a round and coat with a little oil. Wipe out the bowl and place the dough into it. Cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm area till doubled in size (approx 45 – 60 minutes).
When the dough has risen, deflate it and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each on out into a sausage shape. Wet the ends with a little water and press them together to form a ring. Cover and leave to prove for 20 – 30 minutes on a lightly oiled board – do not place on floured boards. Preheat your oven to 200oC (392 ºF)/ Gas Mark 6. Bring a large pan of water to the boil – make sure that the pan is deep, you need the water to be at least 10cm deep. Lightly oil a couple baking trays.
Turn the water down to a simmer when the bagels have finished proving. Place as many bagels as you can into the water (remember to leave them room to expand). Poach for a minute each side and then drain on a clean tea towel. When drained, place the bagels on the oiled trays and brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with seeds (optional). You may have to stick some of them back together if they become uncurled. Bake in the middle of your preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack – if you can!