Kate Johnson: Homemade bagels: crispy, chewy and delicious (recipe)

Kate Johnson’s homemade bagels recipe adapted from a Serious Eats recipe.

Kate Johnson’s homemade bagels recipe adapted from a Serious Eats recipe.

This week I am going to share one of my recipes for homemade bagels.
I actually do make a version that is an artisan style with the ingredients mixed up — no kneading — and placed into the refrigerator to be used over two weeks.
However, the recipe I am sharing today is made up in the food processor, bagels formed and left to proof over night in the fridge, then boiled and baked the next morning.
This recipe is adapted from a Serious Eats recipe where I was introduced to a Japanese method of making bread that uses what is called a “yukone.” This is a simple method of combining flour and water, cooking it in a pan over medium heat to make a paste and later adding it to the dough. The result is a very crispy outer shell with a nice moist crumb on the inside. These bagels store well for several days after baking.
One of the defining characteristics of a bagel is that it has malt added to both the dough and to the boiling water bath for cooking. If you do not have dry malt (it can be purchased locally at the “Just Brew It” brewing supply store), you can substitute with sugar. I have used both and find the malt to produce a more authentic, chewy outcome. However, either is delicious.
You may note that when I share recipes for baking I do include measurements for ounces/grams. This is because when it comes to baking, accuracy plays a relative role in the finished product. If you add too much or too little flour or water — you will not have the optimum outcome.
This being said — not everyone has a kitchen scale available to them and, therefore, standard measuring cups must be employed. If this is the case be sure to lightly spoon or fork your flour into the cup so you do not get too much. It is easier to add a little flour to a tacky dough rather than trying to add more water.
I will say that kitchen scales are quite affordable and can be used for other things when needed (postage questions, weighing out yarn for knitting projects, figuring out if you have enough of an ingredient for a recipe, etc).
As for bagels, well you just can’t say “no” to something that crispy, chewy and delicious. They toast up like a dream and Mark and I love them with a nice covering of cream cheese or goat cheese topped with smoked fish, onion, tomato, lettuce and capers. Likewise, they go great with scrambled eggs or made into sandwiches with various toppings.
I do personally prefer the “everything” bagel. While I have made my own topping mix throughout the years, it doesn’t really pay off anymore when you can simply buy the “everything bagel mix” at Trader Joes or Costco (both are delicious). This mix is wonderful on many other things as well — sprinkled into scrambled eggs, over cottage cheese topped with cucumber, tomato, onion and red pepper, over mac and cheese, on avocado toast, grilled vegetables, etc.
I hope that you will enjoy making up some homemade fresh bagels. Store any unused bagels in a brown paper bag and cover with a plastic bag with holes. This allows moisture to get out and keeps them very fresh! This is my preferred method of storage for all of my homemade breads. Happy eating!
Homemade Bagels Recipe
Source: Adapted from a Serious Eats recipe
Yield: makes 8 three-inch bagels
Serving: 8
For the Yukone:
6 ounces cold water (3/4 cup; 170g)
3 1/2 ounces bread flour (about 3/4 cup, spooned; 100g
For the Dough:
12 1/2 ounces bread flour (about 2 3/4 cups, spooned; 355g)
1/2 ounce malt powder (non-diastatic) or sugar (1 tablespoon; 15g)
2 1/2 teaspoons (9g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt use half as much by volume or use the same weight
1 teaspoon (4g) instant dry yeast
3 1/2 ounces water (1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon; 100g)
To Boil:
1 ounce Diastatic malt powder (4 teaspoons; 30g)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Everything Bagel salt
For the Yukone: In a 10-inch skillet, whisk water and flour over medium heat until thick, like mashed potatoes, about 2 minutes. Scrape onto a plate, spread into a 1-inch layer, cover and cool until to about 75 degrees F around 30 minutes.
For the Dough: Pulse flour, malt, salt, and instant yeast in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Once combined, add cooled yukone and water. Process until dough is silky smooth, and a small piece can be stretched into a sheet without tearing, about 90 seconds. The exact timing will vary with the power and capacity of a given machine. For smaller machines, the reduced capacity and power will necessitate dividing dough in half to process in stages.
To Shape: Turn dough onto a clean, un-floured surface, and divide into 8 roughly equal portions (3 ounces or 85g each) and cover with plastic. Cup a portion of dough beneath your palm and work in quick, circular motions to form a tight ball, with only a tiny seam along the bottom. If the seam is large or irregular, continue rounding until the bottom is nearly smooth. Keep the shaped dough covered in plastic and let rest 15 minutes.
To form the bagels, poke a hole into the center of each portion with a damp fingertip, then gently stretch into a 3 1/4-inch ring, wetting your hands in cold water as needed to prevent sticking. Arrange on a well greased, parchment-lined half sheet pan, cover with plastic, and refrigerate 24 to 36 hours, depending on your schedule.
To Boil: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 425 degrees F. Fill a stainless steel pot with about 3 inches of water, stir in malt powder and baking soda and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet or cutting board with a tea cloth. Working two or three at a time, boil the bagels about 30 seconds per side. Sprinkle with toppings and drain on tea cloth for two or three seconds, then transfer to a parchment-lined half sheet pan.
To Finish: Bake the bagels until blistered and golden brown all over, about 25 minutes. Cool at least 15 minutes. To serve, split horizontally with a serrated knife. Uncut, bagels can be stored up to 48 hours in a paper bag (or loosely wrapped in parchment), then sliced and briefly toasted to serve.
Kate Johnson is a longtime resident of Carson City. She practices pharmacy locally at Costco Pharmacy and is an avid gardener, musician, cook and lover of dogs.


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