Montreal Bagel

Recipe adapted from Marcy Goldman-Posluns

1 ½ cups water, at room temperature
4 teaspoons active dry yeast (not quite 2 packets)
1 large pinch white sugar
1 whole egg + 1 yolk
¼ cup canola oil, or other neutral oil
½ cup honey, plus an additional 1/3 to 1/2 cup for boiling
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for boiling
About 5 cups bread flour, plus more for work surface
Water for boiling
1 cup sesame or poppy seeds, or any other bagel topping you enjoy.

Place the water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir to combine.  Wait for it to become foamy – about 5 minutes. 

While you wait, add the eggs, oil, and ½ cup of the honey, to the bowl of an electric mixer (you can use a large mixing bowl and do this by hand – it will just take a bit more time and effort) and stir to combine. 

Finally, add the flour and salt to a third bowl, stirring to combine.

Once the yeast mixture is foamy, add the yeast to the other liquids and stir to combine. Add the flour and salt, and either run the mixer or stir with a spatula. If mixing by hand, stir until no dry spots remain, then transfer to a lightly floured work surface and begin to knead it. Fold the dough over itself and push down to flatten it, then turn the dough 90-degrees and repeat. The dough should be a little moist to the touch, but should not be too sticky to handle. If it’s too wet add flour about 1 tablespoon at a time until it can be comfortably handled.  Knead until smooth and stretchy, about 7 to 10 minutes.

If using a stand mixer, mix on low for about 5 to 7 minutes – the dough should be supple and stretchy and pull away from the bowl. 

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover it. Let it rest and rise for about 20 minutes. 

You can use part of this time to prepare your boiling zone and the mixture that you will use for boiling. The boiling works best when you have everything on hand – there should be a baking sheet lined with parchment paper on which to place the bagels, along with any seeds you are using.  Add the honey and a few pinches of salt to the pot and bring it up to a boil.

Next, remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a clean work surface. Divide it up into chunks about the size of a lemon. You should be able to make 12-14 if portioning them correctly. Roll them into balls and let them rest while you work – keep track of which was formed first and start with that one when you begin to form them.

There are two ways to form the bagels: the traditional method is to roll each portion into a rope about 8 to 10 inches in length, and roll the seam against the work surface until it seals. The other method is to flatten the ball into a disc, and then use your fingertips to form a depression and gently tear a hole into the dough. Both can work well and are valid methods of making the same exact thing. The bagels should rest about 15 minutes – it’s best to keep track of which one was formed first so that the rest times are accurate.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. 

Once the water is boiling, place the bagels in the pot a few at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the pot. When they have floated up to the surface, let them boil about 1 minute, then flip them and boil another minute. Remove from the water and add seeds immediately. 

Place on a prepared baking sheet and bake as soon as possible after boiling. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip them and bake for another 8 to 12 minutes. They are done when they appear golden brown with darker spotting – it should take about 18 to 22 minutes. 

These are best served warm. They also freeze very well.

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