Sunday Mornings – bagels, why not?

I’m an early riser.  I can’t say the same for a large part of my family.  They like to sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays, and I can’t really blame them.  Hey, we spend 5 days with homeschooling drills, chores, and work.  Weekends are for relaxing and watch movies.

My problem is, since my heart incident in October 2018, I wake up around 6am every day.  I start dozing off like a granddad around 9.30pm, right after I take my last heart medicine tablet.  It’s like clockwork.  Then I fight for another hour with Mr. Sandman and head over to dreamland a few minutes after my head hits the pillow.

I get a nice long sleep and sleep like a baby (again).  Being sick, and doing a full recovery, has made me rediscover sleep.  So, that is why I wake up early.

As I’m roaming around in the house, silently and alone, I try to stay busy and productive.  I can’t sit around doing nothing, so my chores normally revolve around laundry, cleaning, and surfing the internet.

Lately, like probably many housebound people, I’m practicing my home-chef skills.  Less swearing than Gordon Ramsay, more dressed than the Naked Chef, and not designing my own recipes.  Then I browse the internet for stuff to make, and then I modify them to suit my dietary preferences.

One food that I really miss, is the New York style bagel.  They were a stable part of our weekends before I got sick.  We would buy a dozen and eat them for breakfast and lunch.

It is time for us to reclaim a part of life and making bagels for the family.  So, here’s how I approached that challenge, and it was not as complicated as I had thought.

You only need a few ingredients that I’m sure you can find in your kitchen cabinets.

  • 1 bag of dry yeast, approx. 7 grams
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 4 cups of regular flour

… simple, right?

Now, let’s get baking.  And, like my other recipes, baking takes time, mainly because the dough needs to rise.  That’s just part of baking and the magic of yeast.

Here’s how you make dough for bagels:

  1. In a large bowl, add the warm water, sugar, and yeast, and gently whisk it making sure there are not years lumps floating around.
  2. Let the yeast mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it foams and bubbles.  That means the yeast has been activated.
  3. Once the yeast is activated, it is time to make some dough
  4. Pour the flour into the yeast mixture, and gradually add more until you have a nice thick and smooth dough.  It should not stick to your fingers, but yet be a little moist and sticky.
  5. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
  6. When ready, throw some flour in a large bowl, and place the dough gently in the bowl to start the rising process
  7. Place a tea towel over the bowl

Here’s a trick for raising bread.

When ready to cover your dough, heat your oven to 200 F degrees.  As soon as it reaches 200 F degrees, turn it off and place the bowl inside the oven.

This will speed up the process slightly, and make sure you do not use a plastic bowl.

The dough should grow to at least double in size.  If you use the trick above, the process will take about 30 minutes.  If you decide to do it old-school, then you should calculate at least an hour.

Assuming your dough has risen and doubled in size, we can start the next phase of the bagel creation.

  1. As soon as the dough is ready, knock the air out it and knead a couple of minutes
  2. Let it sit for another 10 minutes
  3. Then you cut it into eight (8) pieces and roll each piece into a round ball
  4. Place the balls evenly on a baking tray covered with baking paper
  5. With a finger, poke a hole in the middle and make sure it is open all the way through the bagel.  I take an extra minute to make the hole a little more visible and defined.
  6. Gently press the dough balls to flatten the shape
  7. Allow the bagels to rest for another 10 minutes, covered by a damp kitchen towel

While you wait yet another 10 minutes, I suggest you turn on the oven to 425 F (220 C).

You should also take this opportunity to, assuming turning the oven on is fairly quick, find a large pot and fill it with regular tap water.

Turn the heat up and bring the water to a gentle boil

  1. Using a slotted spoon, place a bagel in the boiling water.
  2. You can probably place 3-4 bagels at the same time.
  3. Boil the bagels for 1 minute, then flip it and boil the other side for 1 minute
  4. Place the boiled bagels back on the baking tray, on the baking paper
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until you have completed the process for all bagels
  6. Now is the time when you sprinkle your bagels with toppings; garlic powder, crushed pepper flakes, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or any other topping you fancy
  7. Bake the bagels in the oven for 20-22 minutes.  They need to develop a nice golden color
  8. Remove from the oven and let them cool off for at least a few minutes before you dig into these wonderful homemade bagels

The worst thing about home baking is that you tend to eat the warm bread way to fast.  You spend more time preparing, kneading, rising, and baking than it takes eating them.

I served these bad boys to my family for brunch, and they were gone in 11 minutes!

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