- 1/2 cup unbleached bread flour
- 1/4 cup cool water
- pinch of instant yeast
- 4 cups unbleached bread flour
- 1 1/4 cups cool water
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- water to fill a 10” diameter pan about 1” deep
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Combine the starter ingredients in a medium bowl, cover, let rest at room temperature overnight.
- Next day, combine the puffy starter with all of the dough ingredients and knead – by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine – to form a stiff but not dry dough. Since we’re using a high-protein bread flour here, you might notice it takes a bit more effort and time to develop the gluten. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set aside to rise for an hour. Gently deflate the dough, and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball.
- If you desire to add cheese or cinnamon and raisins, or any other additives, add to the individual balls at this time, reshaping them as needed.
- Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up very slightly.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water to a very gentle boil in a wide-diameter pan.
- Add the molasses and baking soda. Stir.
- Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each dough ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole till it’s about 2 inches in diameter. I actually used a small round cookie cutter which allowed me to save the center and cook them as bagel bites.
- Place each bagel on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gentled simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.
- Add your favorite adornments – sesame seeds, poppyseeds, everything bagel spice mix, etc.
- Bake the bagels for about 25 minutes, or until they’re as deep brown as you like. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack.