January 7, 2009


King Arthur

Back in November, I cashed in on part of a gift certificate to King Arthur that Gordie had given me for my birthday. I have taken several of their classes in the past, the most influential two being pie making and their basic bread class. I doubt the bagel class I took will be as thoroughly useful to me as those classes have been, but it was really fun because I had no clue how bagels were made. One important thing I learned is that using high-gluten flour is crucial. Otherwise, you would just get bagel-shaped bread. High-gluten flour gives bagels the tight grain and the distinctive pull when you take a bite. The other non-everyday ingredient important in making bagels is non-diastatic malt powder, which is used both in the bagels themselves and in the water bath in which you boil them briefly.

Bagels (makes 8; can be doubled):
4 C (18 oz.) Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour
2 t salt
1 T non-diastatic malt powder
1 1/2 t instant yeast
1 1/4 C (10 oz.) water

Water Bath:
2 quarts water
2 T non diastatic malt powder
1 T sugar

Combine all of bagel ingredients and knead in a stand mixer on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes. Unlike bread, you don't have to be afraid of going to far-- the instructor just had us let it beat for a while while she went over the next steps. (To make cinnamon-raisin bagels, knead about 2/3 C raisins into the dough toward the end of the kneading process. Just before you're done kneading, sprinkle work surface heavily with cinnamon-sugar and give the dough a few more turns; it will pick up the cinnamon-sugar in irregular swirls.) Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and set aside to rise until noticeably puffy, though non necessarily doubled in bulk, 30 - 40 minutes. (For good flavor, the instructor said you could skip this step, and instead shape the bagels and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight. We skipped this rising step entirely because of time restrictions and the bagels turned out great.)

Transfer dough to a work surface and divide into 8 pieces. (The dough feels much denser than bread dough, it's very smooth, and an imprint made by your finger stays in it rather than popping right back up.) Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 15 - 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating all ingredients to a gentle boil in a large, wide pot. Preheat the oven to 425.

Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole till it's about 2 inches in diameter, the entire bagel about 4 inches across. (She showed us two other ways to make holes which do not work as well: cutting a small hole with a cookie cutter, which looks unsightly and leaves a rough "wound" on the inside of the bagel once they are cooked, or rolling the ball into a snake and then sealing the ends together, which was a bit more work and didn't seem as smooth a product.) Place each bagel on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Transfer bagels, a few at a time, to the simmering water. Cook the bagels for one minute in the water, flip them over with tongs, and cook one minutes on the other side.

Using a skimmer or strainer, remove bagels from water and place them back on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or sesame seeds or poppy seeds if desired at this point. You can brush bagels first with an egg white glaze (1 egg white and 1 t water) if desired to make them even shinier. We didn't do this in class though and I was happy with their sheen.

Bake bagels for 20 - 25 minutes, or until they are as deep brown as you like, turning them over about 15 minutes into the baking time (to help them remain tall and round-- although I am pretty sure we didn't do this in the class). Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

(To make onion-topped bagels, bake bagels for 20 - 22 minutes and remove from oven. Glaze with an egg white glaze, and sprinkle with minced dried onion. Return bagels to the oven for no more than 2 minutes more.)


  1. Hey. I put a bagel recipe on the Greenmen site awhile back.

  2. I am impressed.....and aspire to be as daring as you are. Maybe one day when i have a nice kitchen, like yourself, i will step it up.