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Bagels Pt 2

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  • See part 1


To form a bagel and develop the gluten, cloak that will give it its structure, draw up the dough from the bottom, stretch it, and pinch it at the top. Keep pulling the dough up and pinching it until you have a perfectly round, tightly packed ball of dough with a little topknot or pleat at the top.
Turn the dough over so that the knot is against the work surface and plunge your index finger into the center of the dough. Wiggle your finger around in the hole to stretch it, then lift the bagel, hook it over the thumb of one hand and the index finger of the other, and start rotating the dough, circling your thumb and finger and elongating the hole to a diameter of 2 to 2 1/2 inches. (At this point, the dough will look more like a piece in a ringtoss game then a bagel, but it will soon boil to bagelhood.) Put the bagel on the baking sheet with the floured towel, and cover with another towel. Shape the remaining 4 pieces of dough into bagels. (You'll shape the refrigerated dough after you've completed boiling and baking there bagels.)
The Water Bath: 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon baking soda Add the sugar and baking soda to the boiling water. With a large slotted skimming spoon or slotted spatula, lower the bagels, one at a time, into the boiling water. Don't crowd them - the bagels should swim around in the water without touching one another; it's better to boil them in batches than to cram them into the pot all at one time. The bagels will sink to the bottom of the pot when you put them in, then rise to the top. Once the bagels have surfaced, boil for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side, flipping them over gently with the skimmer. Remove the bagels, shaking the skimmer over the stockpot to get rid of some of the excess water, and put them on the baking sheet with the unfloured towel, keeping the smoothest side of the bagel up. (Do not discard the sugar-water - you'll use it to boil the dough that is still in the refrigerator.)
Keeping the smoothest side up, transfer the bagels to the peel or prepared baking sheet. (Work quickly, because the wet bagels have a tendency to stick to the towel.)
The Glaze and Toppings: 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon water, Sesame, poppy, and/or caraway seeds; kosher or sea salt; minced onions sautŽed in vegetable oil; and/or dried garlic chips or dehydrated onions softened in hot water (optional)
Whisk the egg whites and cold water together until the whites are broken up, then push the glaze through a sieve and brush each bagel with the glaze. Try not to let the glaze drip onto the baking sheet or peel, or it will glue down the bagels. Don't worry if the bagels look wrinkled - they'll smooth out in the oven. Brush with another coat of glaze and, if you're using a topping, or more than one, sprinkle it, or them, evenly over the bagels now.
Baking the Bagels: Put 4 ice cubes in a 1-pint measuring cup and add 1/4 cup cold water. Put the bagels into the oven and immediately toss the ice cubes and water onto the oven floor (or into the hot pan). Quickly close the oven door to capture the steam produced by the ice, turn the oven temperature down to 450¡F, and bake the bagels for 25 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the bagels remain in the oven for 5 more minutes. Open the oven door and leave the bagels in the oven for another 5 minutes. Transfer the bagels to a rack and cool. If you've used a baking stone, sweep the excess cornmeal from the stone. Before baking the next batch of bagels, be certain to bring the oven temperature back to 500¡F.
While the first batch of bagels is baking, cut and shape the remaining dough. Boil, glaze, and bake these bagels just as you did the first batch.
Storing: Cooled bagels can be kept for 1 day in a paper bag. For longer storage, pack into airtight plastic bags and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.
Bagel Chips: Cut stale bagels into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Spread lightly with softened herb butter and sprinkle with coarse salt. Place on a wire rack set in a jelly-roll pan and bake in a preheated 375¡F oven until uniformly crisp and golden brown. Start checking after 10 minutes; remove any chips that are crisp and brown and keep baking the others. The chips will probably need about 15 minutes in the oven, but some slow-crispers might take up to 20 minutes. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight tin.
Per serving: 343 Calories; 7g Fat (19% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 60g Carbohydrate; 7mg Cholesterol; 644mg Sodium
NOTES : Recipe and Information Source: Baking with Julia Child
Posted to Bakery-Shoppe Digest by Ron West <> on Feb 19, 1998