mr. delagar's family owned a bakery in trenton for five generations -- this is an adaptation of the recipe they used in their bakery. It's not the same receipe, because their bakery kept kosher, which I don't, yikes, don't tell mr. delagar about the butter on the baking sheet, will you? and I've made some other changes. But the product is, all the same, satisfactory. Even mr. delagar has to admit that.
You’re going to need
(1) Good flour. By this I mean a high protein flour of some sort. I recommend King Arthur white flour. Feel free to ignore me at your own peril. But I’ll just tell you what I have learned in all my years of cooking and baking: The One True Thing: Good Product comes from caring about what you do, and starting with good ingredients.
So go get the right flour, damn you. And DON’T use any of that snotty whole wheat flour, thinking you’re going to make these bagels good for you, or I will haunt your dreams. Yes I will.
(2) You also need barley malt syrup. You can get this at health food stores. I don’t know where else you can get it. If you live in the real world, and not Arkansas, it’s probably available in gas stations.
(3) Aside from good flour and barley malt syrup, you need only water, salt, yeast, and oil. Isn’t this cool? Oh, also toppings, if you’re the sort who wants to fancy up the bagel.
Okay. Here we go.
Take two cups of really cold water. Ice water works best. Put it in your industrial grade mixer. I use a Kitchen Aid stand-up mixer. If you don’t have one, use what you have. You can even mix bagels by hand and I used to before I married mr. delagar and he brought the Kitchen-Aid into the marriage. Gives you strong wrists, mixing bagels by hand.
Mix one cup of flour, the yeast – about a spoon full – and a spoon full of salt, and a spoon full of oil, and a spoon full of barley malt syrup, in with the water.
Mix the whole lot for one minute. Add another cup of flour. Mix another minute. Add another cup. Mix another minute.
When you get to clean up – when the flour comes away from the sides of the bowl and starts adhering to the mixer paddle, in other words -- start adding flour in smaller increments, about a fourth of a cup, but keep mixing for a minute each time. Switch to the dough hook if you’re using a Kitchen-Aid around this point. If you’re mixing by hand switch to stronger music on your i-pod and keep kneading.
Knead/mix for about ten to fifteen minutes altogether. When the dough is very nearly not sticky but still just a tiny bit sticky, stop. It’ll be a stiff dough but not really dry. Put it in an oiled bowl. Cover, let it rise for an hour.
Punch down, cut it into eight or nine bits. Shape by rolling into snakes and then hooking the ends together. You need to wet the ends and roll them together and smush them to get them to stick. Even then you’ll have to be really firm with them. Don’t take no for an answer.
Put the shaped bagels on a greased baking sheet. I grease my baking sheet with butter because I like how that makes the bagels taste, but use what you like.
Have a five quart pot filled with water started on the stove. Have the oven heating to 400 degrees. Put a spoon full of malt syrup in the water.
Let the bagels rise for about 15 minutes, while the water heats and boils. Once the water’s boiling good, drop the bagels into it. Boil one side 30 seconds, flip and boil the other side another 30 seconds. You can boil 3 or 4 bagels at a time, depending on how big your pot is.
Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a towel. If you’re the sort who likes bagels with stuff on them, sprinkle stuff on them while they’re still damp. (Stuff: sesame seeds, Kosher salt, poppy seeds, minced dried onions, whatever strikes your fancy.)
Put the bagels on the greasy cookie sheet and stick that sucker in the 400 degree oven.
Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the bagels over.
Bake another 15 minutes. Take them out. Cool.
They freeze well, or you can eat them all now.