We can get many different breads, of course, either in one of the area's six or seven boulangeries, or at the supermarket, but not bagels. Normally, we get our bread delivered by the porteuse de pain — the bread-delivery woman — four days a week, but starting yesterday she officially went on vacation for two weeks. We are on our own.
That means we get to sample the breads from all the other bakeries around here, which will be an interesting change from our simple daily baguette made by the village boulanger. But it also means we have to drive three to five miles, round-trip, just to buy fresh bread, unless we need to go out for other reasons. There's another option, of course: make bread at home.
Walt did that yesterday. He made bagels — "water bagels," to be precise. Bagels are made using a yeast-risen bread dough that is shaped into the familiar fat rings, left to rise, and then boiled in water for a few minutes before getting their final cooking and browning in the oven.
Here's the recipe, in case you want to try it:
There are many variations possible. You can sprinkle sesame seeds, onion seeds, finely chopped onion or garlic, or some coarse salt on the boiled bagels before putting them in the oven. You can add some cinnamon and some raisins to the dough before shaping and boiling the bagels.Water Bagels
Makes 12 bagels
2¼ teaspoons (8 g) active dry yeast
1½ cups (12 fl. oz.) warm water
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
4¼ cups (530 g) all-purpose flour
4 liters water
1 Tbsp. honey
Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl. Add the sugar, salt, and flour, and stir to form a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover the dough with a lint-free towel and allow to rise for 15 minutes.
Flatten the dough, then roll it out to a thickness of one inch, and about 12 inches long and 6 inches wide. Cut it into strips 12 inches long and one inch wide. Roll each strip between your hands into a cylinder about one-half inch thick.
Cut each cylinder in half crosswise, form each half into a ring, and pinch the ends together to form closed circles. Cover the bagels with the towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a large pot and preheat the oven to 375 deg F. Add the honey to the boiling water, and drop in the bagels. Reduce the heat and simmer for seven minutes, turning them over about half-way through. They will float and puff up in the water.
Remove the bagels, drain well, and place on baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Slice open the finished bagels and toast the halves (or not, as you wish). Spread with cream cheese. Lay on a slice of smoked salmon and maybe a couple of thin slices of cucumber. Good for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack.
Here's a post from three years ago about making bagels...