Some say that the first known bagel was baked in Austria in 1683 when a baker from Vienna, thankful to the King of Poland for saving Austria from Turkish invaders, reshaped the local bread so that it resembled the King’s stirrup.
Others say that the bagel was invented much earlier in Krakow, Poland, as a competitor to the obwarzanek, a lean bread of wheat flour designed for Lent. It was originally called a “beugel,” derived from the German word stirrup, “bugel.”
Living near New York, I know how much people like their bagels.
I know that many New Yorkers are even fiercely protective of the idea that New York makes the best bagel.
And I won’t pretend that I’ve never had fantasies about the whole-wheat everything bagels from Murray’s on Sixth Avenue.
People like bagels so much that in 2008, Canadian-born astronaut Gregory Chamitoff brought the first known batch of bagels into space on a mission to the International Space Station.
Even though you can’t bake a bagel in space, most people don’t realize that they don’t need to travel far and wide to get their hands on a delicious bagel.
You can make authentic, New York-style bagels in your own kitchen.
And before you start laughing I’m going to tell you that it’s EASY.
Time consuming, yes, but also simple and worth the effort
For the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, this week we’ve been charged with making water-boiled bagels from a simple recipe that calls for little more than white or whole grain bread flour, salt and malt syrup. Since I didn’t have the latter ingredient I successfully substituted honey.
For toppings, I used coarse salt and sesame seeds, but let it be said that I never expected them to turn out good.
I didn’t think I’d blow them up or anything but I didn’t expect bagels that looked and tasted like they’d come from a bakery.
I like bagels best when they’re slightly chewy and warm, but not so warm that it melts the butter or cream cheese.
These bagels delivered on all counts with an unexpected bonus: a great aroma that filled my apartment on an otherwise lazy Sunday morning.
As usual, we’re not posting the recipes to every kind of bread that we bake but similar recipes are available around the internet and if you have any questions about the recipes I’ve used feel free to email me with questions.
For more resources on baking bagels, feel free to visit these sites:
Bagels from Sugarlaws
Tammy’s Recipes — Homemade Bagels
Under the High Chair – DIY: Bagel Tutorial & More History
Wild Yeast – Sourdough Bagels