Now that we’re a few solid days into February it seemed appropriate that I acknowledge the fine dusting of flour on the floor, walls and furniture that is my loosely stated New Year’s resolutions.
I had been lamenting the lack of variation in my sourdough adventures and looking forward to a year of bread-based experimentation in the form of baked goods like doughnuts, English muffins and bagels.
So, it’s good that I can report I’ve checked at least one of those items off my list: bagels.
My initial attempt at making bagels — not just sourdough bagels, but bagels, period — full stop was based on a blurry-lined recipe I found online that was dancing between a New York style versus a Montreal-style bagel.
Sweetened, dry dough. Slow rise. Thick and chewy exterior.
200g active sourdough starter
360g warm tap water
635g bread flour
60g granulated sugar
10ml baking soda
1 egg white, whisked
sesame seeds, to taste
The flour, water, salt, starter, and honey went together just as I would have usually put together a basic bread dough. Blend. Hydrate. Fold. Rest. Fold. Repeat. And finally into the fridge for about 16 hours.
Things changed up on the back end, when after I let the dough warm back up for about an hour, I weighed out twelve equal(ish) portions and shaped into rings. The dough being fairly dry, this was a tough thing to do, at least in as much as I was hoping for smooth, beautiful loops. I wound up with scraggly rings that evened out a bit as they rose but even after twelve hours on the counter still bore my (trademark?) handmade look.
A pot of boiling water to which the granulated sugar and baking soda joined in to make a sweet alkaline broth gave each of the bagels, two at a time in my medium pot, a thirty-second-per-side bath before landing on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
A quick egg white wash on the top and a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds, and the dozen bagels were into the 450F oven for a solid 20 minutes before extraction.
They definitely had a homemade look, but the kid — a bagel aficionado already at age fourteen — scarfed two and declared them worthy. I guess I’m going to need to keep that recipe handy for another batch soon.