A multi-purpose recipe that can be used to make a variety of bagels including savoury onion bagels (superb with cream cheese for lunches), sweet spiced fruit bagels (ideal toasted for breakfast) or just plain.
Photos show onion bagels. This recipe can easily be adapted for other flavours, e.g. chive or other herbs
Essential Ingredients (makes six to eight, depending on type)
450g strong white flour
12-14g fresh yeast
230g cold water (215g if using pre-soaked fruit)
30g barley malt syrup or extract (lower to 25g if making onion bagels, raise to 50g if making fruit bagels. Brown sugar or honey can be substituted if you don’t have malt.)
1tbsp high smoke point oil, eg rapeseed (half this if using fried onions)
30g sugar (or barley malt syrup/extract, if you can get it) dissolved in 2l boiling water for boiling (if you need to increase the amount of water, eg if using a bigger boiling pan, scale the barley malt syrup/sugar too)
For onion bagels: 2 finely chopped medium, white or yellow onions, caramelised by frying slowly in high smoke point oil on a medium heat until brown. Allow to cool.
For fruit bagels add 120g mixed fruit, pre-soaked and well drained to the dough during mixing along with 1.5 tbsp mixed spice and 1 heaped tsp cinnamon. You can adjust spices to taste. This quantity makes a well spiced bagel.
Fresh chives added to the dough work really well as an alternative to either of the above.
One egg white mixed with 1tbsp water for wash (optional - use to glaze or if “dipping”)
Seeds for dipping (poppy, sesame, etc) (optional - use if dipping)
1.5 tbsp diastatic malt powder and 1 tbsp essential wheat gluten (only use these in combination. Though definitiely not essential, the diastatic malt powder helps with the rise and the essential wheat gluten counters the "weakening" effect of the diastatic malt.)
Combine the yeast, flour, salt, barley malt or sugar, diastatic malt and wheat gluten (if using), 230g (or 215g) water, and oil (don't forget to reduce the amount, if using fried onions) in a mixing bowl and mix by hand or machine.
You need a stiff, strong dough, so it's good practice to retain 5-10ml water and add as needed to allow for the flour taking up more/less water.
When the dough comes together and starts to develop well, add the other ingredients - onions if making onion bagels, spiced fruit, if making fruit bagels, or chives just as the dough begins to strengthen. Total mixing time should be 6-8 minutes, until a well developed, tight dough is formed.
As the dough needs to be strong and tight, it may be difficult to incorporate the additional ingredients by mixer, in which case turn out slightly early and do an additional knead by hand, folding the ingretients in to mix well.
Turn out into a covered bowl (to prevent skinning) and prove until doubled in size.
Knock back and scale into 6-8 portions. Each will be around 125g, or 130g for onion/fruit bagels. If making fruit bagels you may be able to get 7 or 8 115g bagels out of the same quantity of dough.
First mould into “rolls” - I do this by knocking back each scaled portion, then rotating under a cupped hand, whilst applying gentle pressure on an un-floured work surface. The adhesion to the surface builds the tension that moulds the roll. It takes a little practice, and it helps to do each roll in two or three stages, relaxing the dough for half a minute or so between each stage.
Prove the “rolls” for 30-45 minutes on a silicon sheet, covered to prevent skinning. (I use an up-turned plastic container with a cup of hot water under it too.)
This stage sounds complicated, but the dough should be strong enough for you to handle it easily, so be bold and you'll find it's much easier than it sounds!
Use just enough flour on your hands and thumb (be very sparing) to prevent the dough sticking, and poke a thumb into the centre of each roll. Pick the roll up (in very lightly floured hands and punch the thumb hole right through the centre of the dough using your thumb and first finger.
Turn the dough circle gently between your thumbs and first fingers, slowly shaping and teasing the hole apart. The hole should end up about 4-5cm in diameter, but you may need to do this in two stages, allowing the dough to “relax” for a minute in between to get to this point. The hole will look too big. If it doesn’t let the ring rest for a minute and stretch a little more; you need to leave plenty of room for the final prove.
Prove for 45 minutes on a silicon sheet. Towards the end of proving heat your oven with a pizza stone in it to 220c, and get the 2l of water with 30g sugar (or malt syrup) dissolved in it up to a rolling boil.
Drop the proved “doughnuts” into the boiling water in batches, bearing in mind that they will spring (increase in size) by a lot more than you expect! I can just fit three into a 25cm pan, but it’s a squeeze. You want to boil for two minutes, turning them over after one minute, then take them out with a large (10-12cm) “skimmer”, draining them as you do and put back on the silicon sheet.
Brush with egg wash and dip the washed side in seeds (if using) then bake in a pre-heated oven (200-220c) for 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to burn them and cover with another silicon sheet towards the end if necessary.
Added by: Neil Palfreyman
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The Shipton Millers