BBA Challenge (Week 3): Bagels

Bread Baking, Food
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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:

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Bagels from Sugarlaws

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Tammy’s Recipes — Homemade Bagels

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Under the High Chair – DIY: Bagel Tutorial & More History

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Wild Yeast – Sourdough Bagels

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan
    June 16, 2009 at 12:00 am

    These look awesome. I love me some bagels. I’ve tried to make them a few times, but haven’t quite gotten the hang of it yet.

  • Reply
    sara
    June 15, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Your bagels look awesome–totally gorgeous! Yum. 🙂 Great to be baking along with you. 🙂

  • Reply
    Shari
    June 12, 2009 at 12:00 am

    These look totally professional — only they taste way better, right? I thought they were fun to make. Enjoyed your post.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Goddess
    June 11, 2009 at 12:00 am

    OMG Maris those bagels look perfect, a really professional job 🙂 Very informative and interesting post too.

  • Reply
    Kerstin
    June 6, 2009 at 12:00 am

    They look perfect – great job!

  • Reply
    Chelsea Talks Smack
    June 5, 2009 at 12:00 am

    mmmm now I’m craving bread. AT 2 AM.

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    June 5, 2009 at 12:00 am

    They look perfect Maris! I have to admit the best ever bagel I had was in NY. It was snowing and I had a bacon, egg and cheese bagel for breakfast. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven! 🙂

  • Reply
    8 Women Dream
    June 5, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Is anyone ever going to make a decent gluten free one? I miss bread and sooo cannot have it.
    C

  • Reply
    Carissa
    June 5, 2009 at 12:00 am

    those bagels look perfect! just like from a bakery. I don’t think I will be making any at home any time soon, but you have inspired me to get some freshly baked bagels this weekend! 🙂 to top it off, you made my favorite kind of bagels: sesame! (my second favorite are the ones rolled in oats… yum! maybe I’ll get two.)

  • Reply
    magda
    June 5, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Impressive! I’ve never thought to make my own bagels. I can’t think they’d come out as neatly as this, but maybe something I’ll try at some point!
    I also loved the way you wrote this post. I learned so much!

  • Reply
    Jessica
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Wow those look really good. Nice work. I would like to buy one, how much?

  • Reply
    Cora @ Cora Cooks
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Maris, your bagels are stunning! I could eat one right now. It’s been a long time since I made them at home but, with your inspiration, I might just have to try it again.

  • Reply
    Susie
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Your bagels look great. Great job,
    Susie

  • Reply
    Jenn @ Pete Eatemall
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    I loved this recipe..your looks great..I will have to make some now that I am home – that will make batch number 3 1/2…Makes me wish I had a bagel now…happy baking!

  • Reply
    Catherine
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    The biggest culture shock moving from NYC to LA is the bagel. Can’t get a good one here! Yours look fantastic…

  • Reply
    ksgoodeats
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Oh my goodness, I LOVE bagels and those look incredible!!

  • Reply
    Sophie
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    MMMMM…Maris: your bagels look just perfect! yum Yum Yum!

  • Reply
    thatShortChick
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    oooohh freshly-baked bagels! I miss them SO MUCH.
    It’s near impossible to get a quality bagel here in Charlotte (although people have been telling me that I’m wrong about that. so far, from what i’ve tasted, my theory still stands).

  • Reply
    alexandra
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    There is nothing like a New York bagel. I miss bagels so much, though my town’s bagel shop (Bagel Shack) is pretty awesome. I have made this recipe. It is fabulous! so worth the effort

  • Reply
    elra
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Well done Maris! You beat me hear. I never made Bagel before, maybe I should try. I have the book, I shall wait no more!

  • Reply
    mandy
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    I have been wanting to make bagels since I found a recipe about a month or so ago. Can you please email me the recipe you used? The fewer ingredients the better, the other recipe was kind of complicated and scared me. =)

  • Reply
    kat
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Those look perfect!

  • Reply
    doggybloggy
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    first rate bagels – wow you got the shape and color down perfect

  • Reply
    Jamie
    June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Wow, Maris, your bagels are beautiful! They look like the best New York bagels I’ve ever eaten! Okay, you have convinced me to give bagels one more try….

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