Once you learn how to bake bread, trying to make homemade bagels can be a fun culinary challenge. Though bagels require some baking know-how, these delicious hallmarks of breakfast can easily be made at home and only require a few staple ingredients. After making a batch or two, you’ll be an expert – then all you’ll have to do is whip up some fresh cream cheese. Here are five tips for making bagels in your home kitchen:
1. Practice shaping your dough
According to Serious Eats, there are two philosophies regarding how to shape a bagel: rope-and-loop or stretch-and-poke. The former involves forming the dough into a hot dog-style line and looping the dough around to form a circle. The latter philosophy relies on forming your dough into stretched-out, bagel-sized portions and then poking a hole in the middle. Once you’ve decided on your go-to method, it may take a couple practice rounds to mold your dough into the perfect bagel shape.
2. Allow your dough to ferment
The L.A. Times Daily Dish recommends allowing your bagel dough to ferment overnight – at least 12 hours. A slow, cold fermentation process allows the nuanced flavors in the flour to come out, and also gives your dough adequate time to rise and proof.
3. Choose your sugar
Bagel dough requires sugar, but what type of sugar you use is a point of preference. Malt syrup, honey and brown sugar are all possible options, so it may take a batch or two of testing to decide which sugar you most enjoy.
4. Choose your toppings
There’s nothing wrong with plain bagels, but if you want to take the flavor up a notch, you’ll need to decide on your toppings in advance. Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, onions and other toppings are added to bagels after they are boiled but before they’re baked, so you’ll need to have ingredients on hand.
5. Eat them fresh
According to Homemade Bagels, your final product tastes its best within three hours of baking. Luckily, bagels are easily made in the morning (since they ferment overnight) and are also a perfect breakfast food. Warm bagels garnished with cream cheese, lox, bacon or eggs are sure to be a hit with friends and family and add an element of sophistication to a Sunday brunch at home.