I was looking for a new baking project the other day and I stumbled upon this recipe for bagels on Lottie + Doof. Yep, I thought to myself. This is happening.
I trust Lootie + Doof because Tim (the blogger) tells it like it is. In this case, he mentioned that the dough would be difficult to work with at first but that overall, the recipe was great. I’d agree with this assessment. You can find Tim’s thoughts on the bagel recipe here and you can get the original recipe from Peter Reinhart here, but I’ll add some notes below.
One of the easiest mistakes to make with this recipe is using the wrong kind of yeast. There are two types of yeast for baking, instant and active dry yeast. This recipe calls for instant yeast, or the kind that doesn’t need to be dissolved in water before you use it in a recipe. If you make a mistake and use active dry yeast, the bagels might still turn out but they will probably be harder and more chewy.
Another tip would be make sure you don’t over-roll the dough when you’re shaping the bagels. You’re supposed to do this on a counter without flour, and basically just use pressure from your hands and the counter itself to get the dough into an 8-10 inch rope. If you need help, lightly run a damp paper towel over the counter so the dough has some moisture to adhere to. You don’t want a wet counter, though.
I know I just made the bagel-making process sound scary and complicated but really, it’s not. If you follow the directions step-by-step and use all the correct ingredients, you’ll be fine. I’d recommend reading through the recipe a couple times before you start. I don’t always do this but when I do, I always see a difference. It’s like previewing a route before you start driving. You’ll be more familiar with the road marks so you’re less apt to get lost.
ANYWAY. Enjoy these bagels. You can top them with anything you want but I’d recommend poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Poppyseed bagels are my favorite. I used to get a breakfast sandwich every Saturday in D.C. that was melted cheddar, caramelized onions, arugula, and egg on a poppyseed bagel. I’m going to recreate that with the bagels I just made.
Here’s a song to get you started on your bagel-making journey. It also describes my feelings for these bagels.