Bagels are a delicacy that are not very common around here. We had that one bagel shop which used to make mean bagels that unfortunately closed down in Ziraoui, but besides a few places that may sell them, you won’t find bagels at your local bakery. And since my motto in life is « if you don’t find it, do it », I did do it, I made honest to god bagels. The bagels I used to dream of whenever Sandy Cohen would say « I schmeared it for ya ».
When I started looking for recipes it wasn’t a shock for me to find out that I needed to put round balls of dough into boiling water before plopping them in the oven. I guess watching too many youtube videos made me impervious to the fact that putting dough inside water is very counterintuitive, but I learned that with cooking and baking nothing is really extraordinary. My eyes don’t bulge out and I’m not like what, did I hear that right? Whenever I read something uncommon. I could be reading a recipe that calls for setting fire to my whole pie before serving it that I’d be like okay, where’s my torch? Everything’s fair game in the world of making edible stuff out of your own hands.
Most recipes call for Barley Malt Syrup, but since I live in Morocco and there’s no way I’d wait for someone to bring me that to try out my recipe, I went for honey instead. Honey is good, honey is here, I like honey.
This recipe was so good that I made it twice, both my parents and my in-laws received special delivery, and I left some for my husband and I to snack on in the wee hours of the morning, hectic ramadan schedule oblige. Toasted with just a schmear of cream cheese, it’s light and airy, perfect for a light snack.
- 340 g all purpose flour
- 21 cl warm water (warm, not hot)
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
I chose sesame seeds and a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds but you can choose whatever you like : sea salt, poppy seeds, even grated cheese is a killer for bagels.
- Pour the yeast and 1 tbsp of honey on your warm water and let it sit for a couple of minutes before stirring.
- Meanwhile, mix together your flour sugar and salt with a spoon, then add the water mixture using a mixer with the dough hook.
- Work your dough for 8 to 10 minutes on low, until it comes together in a round ball. If it’s still a bit runny, add some flour and help scoop your dough with your hand to form your ball, then continue whisking.
- Cover your bowl and let your dough rise for 1hour and a half or two.
- Once the waiting is done, scoop your dough out of the bowl and onto a floured surface, and cut it into 6 pieces.
- Form little round shaped balls with your hands before dusting your fingers again with flour and making a hole with your thumb inside the dough. Roll them around your fingers to make large circles (just like you would with donuts), don’t worry if the hole is too wide, it’s gonna shrink in the oven. Line your bagels on parchment paper on your baking pan with enough space between them.
- Boil 1l of water and pour it in a large pan (I used my dutch oven), add the remaining two tbsp of honey and start boiling your bagels, 30 seconds on each side is enough.
- Remove the bagels from the water and sprinkle the toppings of your choice on top.
- Pop those babies in a pre-heated oven at 200°C. Let them cook for about 12 to 15 min.
I honestly didn’t think I’d succeed at my first try; bagels seem like such a foreign concept, but I’m proud they turned out how they did. I think having been playing with dough and trying out my hand at bread helped me a little, in the sense that I knew how the dough was supposed to look like before rising and after proofing. That tight little bounce back when you poke it is oh so satisfying. But yeah, make bagels, it’s fun, it’s a workout for your arms, and they’re SCRUMPTIOUS !