It’s been a couple weeks since we got back from our trip to Manhattan. While my daughter loved Broadway, I really got into the food, in particular hunting down a couple good bagel bakeries and sampling their authentic wares.
Of course, this left me yearning for some New York back home, and wondering if I could replicate them in my own kitchen. And, this particular recipe seemed to do the trick:
New York Style Sourdough Bagels
200g active sourdough starter (stiff)
430g cold water (less for looser starter)
30g maple syrup
750g all-purpose flour
15g baking soda (for boiling)
15g brown sugar (for boiling)
150g toppings, eg sesame seeds
First, you should know that I use a fairly stiff starter with about 70% hydration. If you have a looser, wetter starter, your measures should calculate for less water. Bagels tend to target a stiffer dough with a hydration of around 60% so definitely account for that in your water percentage or else you’ll make breadier, lighter, maybe-not-bagels. For example, with a wet starter, say 90% hydration, you probably need about 100g less water.
Otherwise, you’re going to mix up these ingredients — starter, water, syrup, salt and flour –into a nice stiff dough that you can rest for a few hours to a couple days. Longer rests are going to develop the flavours better, of course, but work with the time you have.
After you’ve rested the dough, divide into eight (8) equal pieces, rolling these into balls that you can rest for another ten minutes or so. These balls eventually need to get shaped into the bagels which is an effort that involves rolling out a log that is 20-25cm long and then looping and pressing the ends together into that familiar bagel shape.
Because this is sourdough, you’re in for another 6-8 hours or rise time on your freshly shaped bagels, but when they have risen (which because of the stiffness of the dough is going to seem a bit less than you might get with bread) you can set up your cooking assembly line: a pot of boiling water with the baking soda and sugar dissolved, a plate or shallow dish with your toppings, and a cooking sheet with some parchment.
Boil the rings for about 20 seconds on each side, then as you pull them from the water dip or sprinkle on the toppings and set them onto the baking sheet with a little room to rise (so they don’t stick together!)
Bake at 450F for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
My results on the first try were fairly authentic from my week in New York. Tasty. Fresh. Firm on the exterior and chewy-soft on the inside. They cut and toasted beautifully.
My biggest problem is that I’m gonna need to go find myself a vat of whipped cream cheese to schmear atop them.