Homemade Bagels

Unfortunately there is only one bagel shop in Jersey City and sometimes the thought of waiting in line kills the craving. So as crazy as this may sound, one weekend I decided to just make my own. I had heard from a colleague that it was pretty easy and in any event, it’s a good skill to have down in case I ever move from the area. So after doing a little bit of online research I decided on the following recipe,  which is adapted from Emeril, of all people. I know its bizarre, the guy known for Cajun cooking. But many of the recipes require the dough to stay overnight and I REALLY wanted to have them that morning. It still took a few hours but they came out fabulous:

  • 2 cups warm water, about 110 degrees F
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • poppy seed, sesame seed, or other toppings

Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl and let stand until foaming. Next, gradually mix in 4 cups of the flour and the salt. Add a cup of additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to make the dough stiff. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed (and not too much!). Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.

After the dough is done rising, remove from the bowl and punch it in the middle. Then divide into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ball and roll into a log. Join the ends and place fingers through the hole and roll the ends together. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place on a lightly greased surface, cover with a clean cloth, and let rest until risen but not doubled in a draft-free spot, 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with the remaining teaspoon of oil or use a silpat liner (which I prefer).

In a large, heavy pot, bring 12 cups of water and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to a boil. In batches, add the bagels to the water and boil, turning, for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Dip the bagel tops in your desired toppings. Flip bagels onto the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and cook for another 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

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