Bagels Glorious Bagels

By Ness on February 4, 2008 | Breads

dscf0081.jpgIt is times like this that I really wish the internet had a scratch and sniff option. I have just finished whipping up a delicious batch of gluten free bagels. The house smells amazing and not too far off from the bagel stores that peppered that the streets of the place I grew up. I think I can finally say that I am on my way to mastering the making of these wonderful wholly discs of dough.

Crisp on the outside warm and chewy on the inside. Anyone who knows me well knows that it is the bagel that I grieved most over upon my diagnosis of celiac disease. In fact a year ago I literally broke into tears when my father arrived Christmas morning with a big piping hot bag of bagels. I stood on the sidelines with my sad bowl of Gorilla Munch while the rest of the family devoured the luscious gluten laden bundles of joy. Over the past three years I have been plagued by nightmares where I can not resist a salty bagel schmeared with vegetable cream cheese. Perhaps it is not so much a nightmare as a fantasy but it always ends the same way…with me waking up and realizing that, sadly, it was only a dream. After having about three of these dreams in one week I decided enough was enough and that it was time for me to try and conquer the making of the bagel.

With Google and a creative array of keywords by my side, I set out on my quest to find the perfect bagel recipe. Fearlessly I hunted through a plethora of recipes claiming to be for bagels when really they were just recipes for doughnuts or bread in the disguise of the highly regarded bagel. To be avoided at all costs were recipes containing blasphemous ingredients such as butter, oil or worse yet the dreaded shortening. After several tiresome runs I was on the brink of throwing in the towel…when all of the sudden there it was! The most magnificent bagel recipe I had ever seen. I could barely believe what my eyes were blessed with reading. It was a recipe for “Real Honest Jewish Purist’s Bagels”. It was as though I had unlocked a secret trove in the sacred heart of Israel.

This recipe is absolutely fantastic but I must warn you that it is rather complex and will require a good amount of patience and probably a few attempts before you will be able to claim total victory. Don’t get me wrong, your first batch will taste just fine but they may lack in the department of bagel aesthetics. The dough itself will not be as smooth as gluten based dough so these bagels will have a slightly lumpy appearance. The key really is learning how to form the bagels…which I am afraid only practice will perfect. I wish you luck and hope that your path to gluten free bagels is paved with golden lox and cream cheese.

Real Honest Gluten Free Bagels
*This recipe with yield 7 bagels

Bagel Ingredients
3 ¼ cups WW gluten free flour mix
2 tablespoons yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum

Cooking Items
1 gallon water
4 tablespoons sugar
Tea Kettle of water
Vegetable oil for greasing a bowl
Kitchen towels
Cookie Sheet (I recommend aluminum)
Large stock pot
Slotted spoon

Dissolve the 3 tablespoons of sugar in the 1 ½ cups of warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the water and stir to combine. Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes to proof the yeast (the mixture should get foamy in appearance).

Lightly oil a mixing bowl with vegetable oil and set aside
Set the tea kettle on the stove to get it boiling

To the yeast mixture add the salt, xanathan gum and 1 ½ cups of the flour mix. Use your hand to mix the ingredients together. The mixture will be lumpy so do not fret. Continue to add the remaining flour a ½ cup at a time. When you have about a ½ cup remaining of the flour it is time to turn the dough mixture out onto a work surface. You will really need to knead the dough well to get all the flour to combine. The texture of the dough will be slightly sticky (remember this is not wheat we are dealing with). If you feel the dough is too dry keep kneading it and it should become tacky around the same time that your arms get tired. Form the dough into a nice neat ball and place into the lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel.

Place dough into the oven on the middle rack. DO NOT TURN THE OVEN ON. Place a baking pan on the lowest rack in the oven and fill it with the boiling water. Close the oven door and let the dough rise for about an hour. Adding the water into the oven really helps this dough rise. I have tired other methods but this seems to work best.

After 1 hour remove all items from the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface and gently punch it down. Divide the dough into 7 equal sections and begin forming the bagels. I like to roll the dough into a ball using a good amount of pressure (for smoothing purposes) and then I gently flatten it and use my index finger to punch the whole in the middle. Let the bagels sit and rise again for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime set a large stock pot with the gallon of water on the stove and bring the water to a boil. When the water boils add the 4 tablespoons of sugar and bring the water down to a simmer. Sprinkle the cookie sheet with a thin layer of cornmeal.

After the bagels have sat for 15 minutes drop 3-4 bagels into the simmering water and allow them to cook for about 4 minutes. After 4 minutes turn them over in the water and let them cook for about 4 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon remove the bagels from the water and place on a kitchen towel. After all bagels have taken a dip in the water arrange them on the cookie sheet.

You can also put a topping on the bagels such as poppy or sesame seeds. To do this you will want to whisk together 3 tablespoons of water with 1 egg white. Before you put the bagels in the oven brush a thin layer of the egg wash on the top of the bagels and sprinkle them with your topping of choice.

Cook the bagels in the oven for 25 minutes and then turn them over and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Let them cool for about a half hour before you try and cut them. If you try cutting them when they are still hot you run the risk of turning them into a glob of dough.