Saturday, March 5, 2016

Montreal Bagels

This is another recipe from the Cooking at New York Times website, though you might also want to check out other recipes, like this one from The Splendid Table.  It's a great recipe for beekeepers who have lots of extra honey on hand.  It uses 1/2 cup of honey in the dough and then another 1/3 cup of honey in the water bath the bagels are poached in before baked.  Unlike New York bagels, Montreal bagels are supposed to be smaller, sweeter and have a larger center hole.  You can see from my photos that I didn't quite achieve that effect.  These are delicious, though--and because of the honey in the dough, they toast very nicely!  If you get an early start, they can even be ready for a late Sunday brunch.

Montreal Bagels
1 1/2 cups water, room temperature
2 packages quick-rising yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
5 cups bread flour (may need a bit more)
3 quarts water for boiling
1/3 cup honey
sesame or poppy seeds for sprinkling on top 

You can mix this dough by hand, but a stand mixer with a dough hook makes go a lot faster!  In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast, sugar and salt. Stir in the egg, egg yolk, oil and honey and mix until well combined. Add the 5 cups of flour and mix until too stiff to mix by hand. Turn onto a floured board and knead until the dough is soft and supple. (If using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook for this.) Add as little extra flour as you can while kneading, just to keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. (At this point, you can refrigerate the dough if you'd like and make the bagels the next day.  If you do, bring the dough to room temperature before proceeding.) 

If proceeding with the recipe, then let the dough rest for 20 minutes.  Gently punch the dough down and divide into 18 even pieces.  Place the three quarts of water and 1/3 cup of honey into a large pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down to simmer while you get the bagels ready.

Take one dough piece, roll into a long rope (about 8-10 inches long).  Join the ends, pinching and rolling to firmly adhere them.  If they're not firmly adhered to each other, they can come apart in the water bath.  Place the formed bagels on a towel-lined baking sheet and let rest for 15 minutes.  

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Bring the water bath back to a boil.  Gently lower three bagels at a time into the water bath.  When they rise to the surface, turn them and let them poach for another minute.  Place the boiled bagels on a baking sheet (remove the towel!) and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Continue boiling and seeding and placing on the baking sheet. 

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until they are nicely browned.  You can freeze thoroughly cooled bagels, wrapped well, for future use. 

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