I recently took a trip to New York City with my mom and sisters for my mamma’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. Ever since I can remember, she’s always wanted to visit the city, but has never gotten around to it. Between you and I, I think she has always wanted to go because one of her favorite movies is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Anyhow, so my sisters and I wanted to surprise her with a destination trip for her big day. We didn’t tell her exactly where we were going but rather told here what to pack and how long we’d be gone. Once we got to the airport and printed our boarding passes, we told her she could read her pass and then we yelled out, “Surprise!!!” She practically cried and then people stared at us like we were crazy. It was awesome and grand and everything she never knew she wanted. And just in case you didn’t read all about it already or see all of my instagram posts during the trip, you can check it out here.
My sisters had never been to New York either so I wanted to make sure we did as much as possible and visit all of the places they wanted to see. The great thing about visiting a city with people who haven’t before, is that you get to experience it for the first time all over again. We did most of the tourist things that I didn’t even do the times I’d gone before. So that was nice. Aside from all of the incredible sights we saw and museums we visited and walking we did, the best thing about New York is the food. There are literally a million places to eat. Everywhere you turn there’s something else. So of course that makes it a bit hard to settle on something. We did have some incredible food while on our trip though. Almost too much food. Almost. I say that with a grain of salt because there isn’t such a thing as too much food. Well…maybe on Thanksgiving, but even then I’m not sure.
One of my favorite meals was in the East Village at a small restaurant called Caracas Arepa Bar. It’s a little spot with barely any space for sitting, let alone walking, but oh man was it good. I ate all of the arepas and a micheladas. The place had to close down for the day after that because I ate them all (not really, I wish). I did eat delicious Lobster Bolognese at City Crab and Seafood Company for my mom’s b-day dinner celebration, though, along with a few (okay more than a few) Moscow mules. One late night I convinced my mom and sisters to eat hot dogs and tater tots with me from Crif Dogs. Any place with tater tots is an ace in my book. The best thing I ate during the entire trip was a bagel at Tompkins Square Bagels that I washed down with a fresh watermelon juice with a hint of lime. Winning combination. It was an everything bagel with the works. We loved them so much we went back the next morning and did it all over again (on my sister’s persistence). The second morning I had a breakfast sandwich with an everything bagel and it was even better than the first time. So here I am now, back home wishing I was still in New York and dreaming about those bagels. Except now I’ve made my own at home and came to the conclusion that I need a New York style bagel every morning for the rest of my life.
Bagels aren’t that hard to make. Well, let me put it another way. Bagels aren’t harder to make than any other yeast bread that takes time to rise and double in size. If you have a bread machine or a stand mixer, then this recipe is even easier. I made this entire recipe by hand (just to prove that it’s doable by hand) and so if I could do it, anyone can. Let’s start the dough making process by waking up our active dry yeast.
Dissolve a packet of yeast (2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast) in the warm water. Allow to sit for a few minutes in a warm spot until foamy and frothy.
**Note: Make sure the water isn’t too hot because it’ll kill the yeast, but at the same time, make sure the water isn’t cold because it won’t waken up the yeast. You want it warm to the touch.**
Combine the flour, salt, yeast water mixture and the malt syrup in a large mixing bowl.
**Note: Malt syrup or Barley Malt Syrup (as it’s also known) is a crucial ingredient in order to make awesome tasting New York style bagels that taste just as good as the originals. You can find malt syrup in most health food stores or beer/alcohol stores or even online here on Amazon!**
**Tip: If you can’t find any malt syrup, you can also use malt powder. Again, most health food stores (like Whole Foods) will have either one of those.**
Stir with a wooden spoon (or stand mixer fitted with the dough hook) until the dough comes together. It’ll be firm and somewhat dry.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 8 to 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and somewhat elastic-y.
**Note: You can skip the kneading by hand step and just do it in a stand mixer with the dough hook. Knead on high for about 3 to 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and somewhat elastic-y.**
Lightly oil a large bowl and drop in the dough. Turn it over to coat both sides and cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel.
Allow the dough to sit in a warm spot for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. It should look fluffy and a bit larger (not necessarily doubled in size, since it’s such a dense dough).
**Tip: I like to allow my dough to rest and rise in the oven, that’s turned off of course, because it’s warm and dark. My fridge is next to my stove so I sometimes also place dough on top of the fridge because it’s warm up there too.**
Cut the dough into 12 even pieces, about 3 ounces each.
Transfer the dough pieces to a baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel, to prevent them from drying out. Working with one piece at a time, shape the bagels. You can do this either two different ways, one, you can roll the dough into a 9-inch rope and then shape it into a circle, sealing both ends with a bit of water. Or you can roll the dough into a tight ball, using the palms of your hand and then punch a hole into the center with your thumb, then you can stretch the center hole.
Place the shaped bagels onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and lightly greased with cooking spray.
Allow the bagels to rest for about 10 to 15 minutes. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil. Pour in the malt syrup and baking soda, lower the flame, bringing it down to a simmer.
**Tip: Adding malt syrup and baking soda helps create a great texture, taste and color to the bagels when they’re boiled!**
Add a few bagels at a time (about 3 depending on how big your pot is) and boil until they float to the top. Cook for about 30 seconds, flip over and cook for another 30 seconds. Return to baking sheet and continue boiling the rest. Once all are boiled, brush with egg wash (egg white whisked with water) and sprinkle with different toppings.
You can keep them plain or have them all be one flavor with the same toppings. I like to have a variety, especially when I’m having people over to enjoy them. It gives them a chance to pick and choose which ever they prefer.
I did an assortment of poppy seed, sesame seed, asiago cheese, and everything bagels (my personal favorite).
Bake in a preheat 425ºF oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, until deep golden brown and crusty on the bottom. Remove from oven and allow to cool down (on a baking sheet) for at least 30 minutes.
**Tip: The longer the bagels sit to cool the better texture wise they become. They’ll become chewy and perfectly awesome.**
Once the bagels have cooled, you can cut one (or two) open and toast it because toasted bagels are so much better than non-toasted bagels and slather it with cream cheese and just devour it as fast as humanly possible.
If you don’t plan on eating the bagels right away, you can store them in a paper bag covered at room temperature for a few days. Make sure the bag is closed tightly so that they don’t get super hard and then double as a lethal weapon.
Now let’s talk about the most important thing, how to properly eat these bagels. You can go the simpleton route and just do a simple cream cheese with your bagels. That’s good. I’ll never say no to that. But my most all time favorite way to eat bagels is super toasted slathered with cream cheese and layered with sliced cucumber, tomato, avocado, red onion, capers and a pinch of salt and pepper. It’s the ultimate bagel experience.
I never ate bagels with all of those toppings and ingredients until I met Julian. One of our first dates was a bagel/coffee/orange juice outing and then a hike. He had coffee and I had orange juice because I don’t like coffee and then he forced to go on a hike and I had to pretend I liked the outdoors and the sun. The bagel was worth it though.
The great thing about this bagel recipe is that it’s a great foundation for any flavor you prefer. I love a good cinnamon raisin bagel, and if you do too, then add some cinnamon and some raisins to the dough. Make whatever flavored bagels your heart desires!
Don’t let the kneading and resting and shaping and boiling and baking deter you from making these bagels for yourself. And even if you don’t think you need all of those bagels around your house, you’re wrong. Make these bagels. Have one or two for breakfast or a late morning snack. Turn the leftovers into lunch sandwiches or brunch sandwiches with bacon, eggs, and cheese! No matter how you plan on eating these bagels, just make them today. Once you make bagels at home, you’ll find it rather difficult to buy bagels at the grocery store. Enjoy!
- 1 packet (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1½ cups warm water
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons plus ⅓ cup malt syrup
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons granulated onion
- ¼ cup grated asiago cheese
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the sugar, yeast, and water. Allow to sit in a warm spot for about 10 minutes until dissolved, foamy and forthy.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, 2 tablespoons malt syrup, and water yeast mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon (or with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer) until the dough comes together. It'll be somewhat dry and firm. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead by hand for about 8 to 10 minutes until somewhat smooth and elastic-y.
- Oil a large bowl and add in the dough. Turn it over to coat the second side. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot for about 1½ hours until spongey and not quite doubled in size.
- Transfer dough to a work surface and cut into 12 even pieces about 3 ounces each. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth so that it doesn't dry out. Working with one dough piece at a time, roll it into a 9-inch rope. Shape into a circle and attach both ends with a bit of water to seal them. You can also shape the dough into a tight ball and make a hole in the center with your thumb. Then stretch out the center to make a large bagel shape. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly greased with cooking spray. Continue shaping the rest. Once done, allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425℉. Fill a large pot with cold water and bring to a rapid boil. Add in the baking soda, and the remaining ⅓ cup malt syrup. Allow to dissolve and then reduce heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer.
- Add in the bagels a few at a time and boil until they float to the top. Cook for about 30 seconds and then flip over and cook for another 30 seconds. Return the bagels to the baking sheet and continue boiling the rest. You might have to divide the bagels between two baking sheets so they fit.
- Brush the boiled bagels with egg wash (egg white whisked with a splash of water) and sprinkle with toppings. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until deep golden brown and crusty on the bottom. Rotate the pans halfway through baking for even browning.
- Remove the bagels from the oven and allow to cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Eat right away or store in a paper bag, sealed tightly for up to 3 days. Enjoy!
- yields: 12 bagels