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Bagels Pt 1


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Ingredients:

  • 2 tb Unsalted butter; melted
  • 2 1/4 ts Active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 c Tepid water; (80F to 90F)
  • 2 tb Granulated sugar
  • 3 tb Solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 tb Salt
  • 2 ts Fresh ground black pepper; optional
  • 6 c High-gluten flour; bread flour, or unbleached flour

Directions:

Makes 10 large bagels.
 
Like croissants, bagels, have transcended their origins to become all-American. These are chubby bagels - boiled, then baked - with a cakey, open sponge; they are not heavy, stretchy, or chewy. They are made with high-gluten flour, the kind your local pizza maker uses. He might give you some, or you can order the flour by mail, but don't let not getting your hands on this stop you from bageling - you'll like what you get if you use bread flour or unbleached all-purpose flour.
 
Brush the inside of a large (about 8-quart) bowl with some of the melted butter; set aside. Reserve the remaining melted butter for coating the top of the dough.
 
Mixing and Kneading: Whisk the yeast into 1/4 cup of the tepid water. Add a pinch of sugar and let the mixture rest until the yeast has dissolved and is creamy.
 
Pour the remaining 2 cups water into a large bowl and add the shortening. Add the yeast mixture along with 2 tablespoons sugar, the salt, and the black pepper, if you're using it, and stir with a wooden spoon to mix.
 
Stirring vigorously with the wooden spoon, add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stopping when you have a soft, sticky dough that is difficult to stir. (You will probably use almost 6 cups of flour, but the dough will still be soft and sticky - and that's just the way it's supposed to be.) Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 to 6 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Add additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to you hands and the works surface.
 
(To make the dough in a mixer, proof the yeast in 1/4 cup of the warm water in the mixer's bowl. Fit the machine with the dough hook and add the remaining 2 cups water, the sugar, shortening, salt, and the pepper, if using it; mix on low to blend. With the machine still on low, gradually add 5 1/2 to 6 cups of the flour, mixing for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the ingredients are blended. With the machine still on low, gradually add 5 1/2 to 6 cups of the flour, mixing for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the ingredients are blended. Increase the miser speed to medium and knead for about 6 minutes, adding additional four by the tablespoon until the dough is smooth and elastic. At this point, the dough may still be slightly sticky and it may not clean the sides and bottom of the bowl completely - that's OK.)
 
Rise: Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to the buttered mixing bowl. Brush the top of the dough with a little melted butter, cover the bowl with buttered plastic wrap, and top with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in bulk.
 
Chilling the Dough: Deflate the dough, cover as before, and refrigerate for 4 hours, or, if it's more convenient, overnight. *** At this point, the dough can be well wrapped and refrigerated for up to 2 days. ***
 
When you're ready to make the bagels, position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500¡F. If the bagels are to bake on a stone, preheat the baking stone too and generously dust a peel with cornmeal. If they will bake on baking sheets, brush the sheets with vegetable oil (or spray them) and dust them with cornmeal. For added flavor, use one or all of the suggested topping ingredients in combination with the cornmeal to dust the peel or the sheets. (To create steam in the oven, you'll be tossing ice cubes and water onto the oven floor. If you don't think you oven floor is up to this - it can be tricky with a gas oven ~ put a heavy skillet or roasting pan on the oven floor and preheat it as well.)
 
While the oven preheats, fill a stockpot with water and bring the water to a rapid boil.
 
Line 2 baking sheets or trays with kitchen towels. Rub flour into 1 of the towels and place both sheets close to your work surface.
 
Shaping the Dough: Deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough in half; cover and chill one piece of the dough while you work with the other. Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces; work with 1 piece at a time and cover the remaining pieces with a towel.
 
continued in part 2