Are you ready for a bakers challenge? I won’t lie. You can’t throw together these scrumptious Real Deal Homemade Bagels just any old day. In fact, part of the secret of the recipe is retarding the dough overnight. So why would anyone go to all the trouble? There is one compelling reason. You may not have an authentic New York-style bagel bakery where you live.
If I could teleport you inside my body and have you take the bite I just took, you would understand completely. Oh, the crisp hot crust giving way to that marvelous chewy dough, lightly sweet and fragrant with cinnamon. Did I mention the perfect amount of moist, plump raisins in each bite? Homemade Cashew Cream Cheese melting and squishing between one’s teeth is a decadent bonus. But we both know teleportation isn’t likely.
So I will have to do a little more explaining. I grew up eating bagels baked by a man who moved from New York to California and opened a bakery. He used all the love and special technique that had been passed down in his Jewish family to make his sought-after bagels.
These were the bagels I came to know and love. The memory of those bagels is what inspired this recipe. When you know the taste of a bagel that has been made over two days’ time, with traditional methods, substitutes won’t do. Believe me, those flat, soft, pre-packaged poor excuses in the store are nothing like a true bagel.
So what are those traditional methods? First, it’s essential to use a high-protein flour and give the dough time to develop flavor. Then you briefly boil the bagels in barley malt water before baking. Finally, you bake them in a blazing oven, preferably on a pizza stone. These are the steps that make all the difference.
If you have tasted real bagels, or my words have helped you imagine it, then you know the satisfaction. Conversely, you and I are cursed when the craving arises, and you find yourself 3,000 miles from the nearest bona fide bagel bakery. Don’t despair, though. Take the time to make your own homemade bagels. When you toast them lightly and smear your favorite topping over your crackly-crusted, chewy bagel, I guarantee you will feel fully indulged.
Real Deal Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 3/4 cups bread flour*
- 2/3 cup raisins
- 12 cups water
- 1/4 cup barley malt syrup
Make and retard dough:
- Pour lukewarm water into bowl of stand mixer, (KitchenAid or similar). Add coconut palm sugar and stir to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast lightly over the top and leave several minutes to bloom.
- When yeast is puffed and bubbly, add salt and cinnamon. Stir until cinnamon is absorbed. Measure flour by scooping into a cup and leveling with a knife. Add flour to mixing bowl and stir until most the flour is incorporated. The dough will be dry and shaggy.
- Attach dough hook to stand mixer. Knead at medium speed (setting 4 on a Kitchenaid) for 7 minutes. Dough will be smooth and elastic when finished but should not sag. Knead in an extra tablespoon of flour if necessary to make a stiff dough.
- Turn dough out onto counter and dust lightly with flour. Roll out 1/8 an inch thick to a square at least 12 inches. Top with raisins and distribute evenly all the way to edges. Press raisins firmly into dough. Roll up jelly roll fashion. Coil dough into a ball. Lightly grease a bowl or rising tub. Place dough in, cover well and let rise 1 hour or until doubled. If your climate is hot, it's best to rise dough in the refrigerator for first 30 minutes and finish until doubled at room temperature.
- Deflate dough and press down. Allow some room for expansion and cover securely. Store dough overnight in refrigerator.
Boil and Bake Bagels:
- On baking day, preheat oven with a pizza stone on middle rack. Set temperature to 450 degrees.
- Bring water and barley malt syrup to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pan with a lid.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Divide dough into 7 equal pieces. Squeeze dough firmly in cupped hands to form round balls. If dough is sticky, lightly oil bottoms before placing on parchment. Place balls on parchment and cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Let rest 5 minutes from shaping of last ball, but no longer that 10 minutes all together.
- Take a dough ball and press thumb through the middle. Make a walnut sized hole. Stretch and shape dough into an even ring. Cover loosely with a slightly damp tea towel and tuck edges in. Rise 30-40 minutes or until puffy. You can test bagels by placing one in a small bowl of cold water. If it floats, it's ready to boil.
- Remove lid from simmering water. Slide the bagels in 4 at a time. Let simmer 2 minutes. Use two flat spatulas to flip bagels. Simmer 1-2 minutes more. Bagels will float on top of water. Remove and drain on a wire rack.
- Transfer drained bagels immediately to oven. Lay a sheet of parchment on pizza stone to prevent bottoms of bagels from sticking. All 7 should fit on a pizza stone. Bake at 450 degrees 20 minutes until nice and brown.