How to Make Bagels – Corn Flour Bagels

One of these days, I felt like baking and I had some corn flour on hand.  I started my usual cooking routine, with some ingredients all around the work surface, and most cabinets open, so I can see the stuff that I could also use. I ended up with doughnut-like buns with holes in the middle. The more I looked at them, the more they looked familiar. Because I’m not from the US (or Poland, for that matter), I needed some time to realise they looked like bagels. Which got me thinking… what is a bagel, really? Is it dairy, egg and nut free? And also, how to make bagels?

It was reading time. Wikipedia, food blogs, and so on. I didn’t need a lot of time to find that what’s crucial about a bagel is the procedure. I never knew they are actually cooked in boiling water before baking in the oven. That came as quite a shock to me. It was like making doughnuts, but instead of frying, cooking them in water. Finding out there is no need for any allergens we are avoiding because of my daughter – dairy, eggs and nuts, was a definite “go” sign.

how-to-make-bagels-corn-flour

Learning how to make bagels might surprise you with weird dough cooking… That makes perfect sense.

I have yet to try the bagels in New York, because everyone seems to be crazy about them. But these that I made yesterday were also great.  Original bagels seem to be made from the most basic yeast dough. A gluten heavy variety is even better. I made them with corn flour. I doubt that this is the best flour variety when one tries to learn how to make bagels, but I guess I did alright. Another thing that I added on my own was a little bit of honey. The sweetness really makes this bread special, and still not like a dessert.

Back to the weird cooking… Thinking back, It actually makes a lot of sense. It expands the little pockets of CO2 that formed during fermentation without drying the bagel out, like ordinary baking would. In addition to that, excessively wet outer layer takes longer to form a crust once in the oven, making the finished bagel softer on the inside, with a sexier crust on the outside.

This was my first attempt at bagels, but now I am pretty sure it wasn’t my last one. Plus, it made me really curious what some world famous bagels taste like. I read somewhere, that there are people on  the West Coast that pay a lot of money to have bagels shipped from New York. I know people have even crazier things than bread shipped from even crazier places, but hey… a bread that travels such distances must really be something special.

Enough talking about it, it’s time to do it!

Ingredients (for 10 bagels)

  • 250 g plain white flour (with gluten)
  • 250 g corn flour
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 250 ml water (plus more for boiling)
  • 2 table spoons honey
  • yeast
  • salt

Instructions

Investigating how to make bagels left me with what I am about to give you. If something seems off, please let me know.

First you need to dissolve the yeast in the water. For quantity, follow instructions on the yeast packaging, use enough for 500 g of flour. Measure 50 ml water in a glass or a cup, add yeast and stir well. You want it to totally dissolve. I personally like to use a glass instead of a cup, because it makes seeing yeast lumps easy.

how-to-make-bagels-mixer

Sift white and corn flour into a big bowl. Form a little hole in the middle and start adding the remaining ingredient into it. The remaining 200 ml water, yeast-water mixture, honey and salt. Mix everything into a dough. You can do it by hand, but an electric mixer is better. It makes the dough quicker and it ends up more uniform.

Cover the bowl and let the dough rest and rise for an hour. When an hour has passed and the dough (hopefully) doubled in size, flatten it a little and divide it into 10 or 11 pieces.

Then form these dough pillows into balls by pulling the edges and tucking them under the ball until what you get resembles a ball. I hope you can imagine what I mean, because it is kind of hard to explain. Lay the balls “seam side down” and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Still want to know how to make bagels? This is where it gets weird…

Boil 5-7cm (2-3in) gently salted water in a big pot or a deeper pan.

Back to the dough balls – flatten them a little and form a hole in the centre. I could go and make a science out of the hole punching, but I think you will find a way. Be it with your finger, a round handle of a kitchen utensil (around 2 cm in diameter) or a tube of some kind to act as a specialised tool or something. Don’t make a fuss about it just make sure there is a hole in the middle. Stretch the bagel from the inside out just a little.

how-to-make-bagels-before-baking

By now, the water should be boiling wildly. Reduce heat a little. You want it to simmer. Place the bagels in it and cook for 2 minutes on each side. If your flour and yeast and resting times were okay, the bagels shouldn’t sink. They should stay on the surface. But if they do sink, please don’t cry, just wait a few seconds for CO2 in them to expand because of the heat and that will make them float.how-to-make-bagels-boiling

Place bagels on a grill or something similar to drain and repeat the cooking process for the remaining bagels. In the meantime, preheat oven to 200°C.

Time for baking!

Now it is time for baking. You can sprinkle the bagels with condiments of your choice, the most common being poppy seeds, sesame, any other seeds… I used some corn grits (polenta). It adds little if any taste, but it looked great and gave my bagels some additional texture. You could as well use nothing.

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Place bagels onto a parchment paper lined baking tray and into the oven for 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness when you start approaching 20 minutes of baking time.

You are done!

how-to-make-bagels-done how-to-make-bagels-corn-flour2

The sad part about bagels if you are dealing with allergies is, that they are best with butter or fresh cheese spreads. Again, no need for tears, I am sure you will find a way to enjoy your fresh homemade bagels.

How to Make Bagels – Corn Flour Bagels

How to Make Bagels – Corn Flour Bagels

Ingredients

  • 250 g plain white flour (with gluten)
  • 250 g corn flour
  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 250 ml water (plus more for boiling)
  • 2 table spoons honey
  • yeast
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Dissolve yeast in 50 ml lukewarm water. For quantity, follow instructions on the yeast packaging, use enough for 500 g of flour.
  2. Sift white and corn flour into a big bowl. Form a little hole in the middle and start adding the remaining ingredients into it. The remaining 200 ml water, yeast-water mixture, honey and salt.
  3. Mix everything into a dough. You can do it by hand, but an electric mixer is better. It makes the dough quicker and more uniform.
  4. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest and rise for an hour.
  5. When an hour has passed and the dough (hopefully) doubled in size, flatten it a little and divide it into 10 or 11 pieces.
  6. Form "dough pillows" into balls by pulling the edges and tucking them under the ball until what you get resembles a ball. I hope you can imagine what I mean, because it is kind of hard to explain. Lay the balls "seam side down" and let them rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Boil 5-7 cm (2 - 3 in) deep gently salted water in a big pot or a deeper pan.
  8. Flatten the dough balls a little and form a hole in the centre.
  9. Stretch the bagel from the inside out just a little.
  10. By now, the water should be boiling wildly. Reduce heat a little. You want it to simmer.
  11. Place the bagels in it and cook for 2 minutes on each side. If your flour and yeast and resting times were okay, the bagels shouldn't sink. They should stay on the surface. But if they do sink, please don't cry, just wait a few seconds for CO2 in them to expand because of the heat and that will make them float.
  12. Place bagels on a grill or something similar to drain and repeat the cooking process for the remaining bagels. In the meantime, preheat oven to 200°C.
  13. You can sprinkle the bagels with condiments of your choice, the most common being poppy seeds, sesame, any other seeds... I used some corn grits (polenta).
  14. Place bagels onto a parchment paper lined baking tray and into the oven for 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness when you start approaching 20 minutes of baking time.

Notes

The sad part about bagels if you are dealing with allergies is, that they are best with butter or fresh cheese spreads. Again, no need for tears, I am sure you will find a way to enjoy your fresh homemade bagels.

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