I came to bagels comparatively late in life, in my late teens, the first time I visited the US. And then I went to the US several times in the span of a few years, but now it's been more than five years since the last trip and all that time I've been deprived of bagels. Because they aren't widely available here and I didn't crave them enough to go a-hunting.
Having been burned by my one and only bread book's naan and tortilla recipes, I sort of assumed the bagels would be similarly disappointing - that there are certain kinds of region-specific recipes that you just can't reproduce, even with a native's grandmother's super secret recipe.
And maybe it's just that my memory isn't quite what it was, but these are some fine bagels right here. They look right, except for the part where I can't bother to stretch the rings out far enough to make a proper hole in the finished product. (The hole is my least favorite part of the bagel anyway. It makes filling them a lot fussier than it need be.) I think the egg wash makes them too dark, but that's the only way the seeds and stuff will stay on when you eat it. But mostly, they just taste exactly right, chewy and slightly-sweet-but-not-really.
from Jorden runt på 80 degar by Annica Triberg*
800-900 ml (3.3-3.8 cups) all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
15 g (½ oz) fresh yeast
250 ml (1 cup) water, lukewarm
2 + 1 tbsp light syrup
2 tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil
1 egg + 1 white
sesame or poppyseeds for decoration
Mix 800 ml of the flour and the salt in a large bowl.
Dissolve the yeast in the barely warm water, then mix in oil, the whole egg and 2 tbsp of the syrup. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and work together. Once it's all smoothly mixed, let the dough rest for five minutes, then knead (adding more flour as needed) for ten minutes.
Rinse and oil the bowl from earlier, put the dough in and turn it around once so all surfaces are greased, then cover with clingfilm and let rise for an hour and a half.
Tip out onto a work surface and knead a few times, then divide dough into 12 pieces (will make fairly small bagels). Form each piece into a round bun, then press your finger through the middle and stretch out a largeish hole in the middle (will shrink like crazy as the bagels rise, so if you want a proper hole, make it HUGE at this stage). Let rise on a slightly floured surface, covered with a kitchen towel, for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C/400°F and bring a large pan of water, with the remaining tbsp of syrup and a dash of salt mixed in, to the boil.
Boil the bagels, a few at a time for about a minute, turning them halfway through, then drain and brush with the egg white and sprinkle with topping of choice. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on racks.
These are out of this world fresh from the oven, but I haven't quite figured out how to get them that way for breakfast. The best version so far is putting the boiled but un-garnished bagels in the fridge overnight (certainly this is better than refrigerating the pre-boiled ones, because those have tended to rise too much and then deflate), but the crust dries up and doesn't become as typically chewy and bagel-ish that way. Luckily, they're still very good the morning after, especially if you toast them first.
*highly recommended, despite the naan and tortilla mishaps. Of what I've made, the Estonian rye bread (which is just like Finnish rye bread), hamburger buns, and feta-garlic bread are firm favorites.