for the ages

A long time ago I owned a bread machine.  With that machine I made my husband (then boyfriend) batches of everything bagels on a bi-weekly basis.  It was so easy to dump all of the ingredients in, leave the machine unattended for 3-1/2 hours, then boil and bake the bagel dough until golden brown.  Well, three years ago we bought a house.  A very small house with a kitchen that lacks any kind of storage space, especially space for a clunky bread machine.  So, three years ago Brian stopped getting homemade bagels for breakfast and instead made do with bagels from the local shop, sliced then frozen then thawed when desired.  And, for three years he’s been asking me to start making homemade bagels again.

bagels 1

I agreed to get rid of the bread machine not only because we had zero space for it, but also because I thought it would be a way to force myself to learn how to bake yeast breads from scratch.  It seemed like a great idea since I already loved to bake cookies and muffins and quick breads – Brian even bought me a beautiful book to help in my endeavors. Unfortunately, the arrival of that book in our house coincided with my first semester of graduate school, which means that nary a loaf nor bagel was baked as I studied the affect of wind on structures and built teeny, tiny models of buildings at all hours of the night.  Although I’ve been out of school for a full year now, I’ve just recently begun tackling yeast breads.  And two weeks ago, much to Brian’s delight, I tackled bagels.

bagels merge 1

It really wasn’t a difficult task, making bagels from scratch, especially with Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice as my tutor.  Yes it was handy to have the bread machine take care of all of the mixing and kneading and resting and kneading again, without my having to keep an eye on a clock.  However, with a little forethought and a a stand mixer (I’m sure you could make these with a handheld mixer and a lot of elbow grease, but I’m not that brave) the bagels can be started Saturday evening and baked up just in time for Sunday morning breakfast.  And they are delicious – so much better than the bread machine bagels of our past.  The overnight fermentation process adds a great flavor that you just can’t match in 3-1/2 hours.

bagels 4

Now, I’m not from New York or Philadelphia or any other city whose residents claim that they have the *best* bagel.  I didn’t grow up eating bagels every week so don’t have the kind of nostalgia associated with them that so many other people have.  I don’t claim to have had the best bagel of my life when I was growing up in such-and-such city, and certainly haven’t spent my life trying to find one that compares.  So, while I can’t personally claim that this bagel will match the bagel of your past, I do trust Peter Reinhart when he claims that this is a bagel for the ages.

bagels 2

This recipe produces a bagel with a chewy exterior, soft interior and endless possibilities for toppings.  I froze ours in gallon-size bags once they had cooled, and simply microwaved them for 30 seconds before slicing and toasting when we were ready to eat them.  The flavor and texture were still perfect.

Before typing out the [rather lengthy] recipe, I did a quick search to see if I could find a link online.  Luckily, Smitten Kitchen came through. For Peter Reinhart’s bagel recipe, from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, click here.

bagels 3


24 responses to “for the ages

  1. Can I send you my address so you can send me some of those?? They look amazing!

  2. Mmmm, those look delicious. I have been wanting to make bagels for quite some time now but wasn’t sure which recipe to use; thank you for the recommendation 🙂

    P.S. I wasn’t particularly fond of bagels growing up but I recently acquired a fond bagel memory at… Bodo’s Bagels! Haha. I’m sure your home-baked batch was better, though!

  3. WOW! Those look DELICIOUS! Now I want a bagel!

  4. I have the bagel recipe book marked in my copy of BBA. I think I will have to give these a go in August when I have time coming out of my ears (post-Bar).

    I love all of these pictures too! The table is just waiting for people to sit down and enjoy a tasty breakfast.

  5. Wow! Those look delicious! I am adding that to the list of recipes I want to try!

  6. I am always impressed when people make bagels. I can bread bake with the best of ’em but am beyond intimidated by bagels.

  7. oneordinaryday

    They look perfectly delicious. Yeast breads have yet to work out for me, but you’re making me want to try again. Thanks.

  8. Mmm, those bagels look awesome. WAY better than Bodo’s…though I do have a special place in my heart for that bagel shop. 🙂

  9. May I come for breakfast, please and thank you? What wonderful work and a lovely set table. You’ve rendered the bread machine obsolete, m’dear.

  10. Oh I want to make them. I HEART bagels. But I don’t have any kind o’ mixer other than manpower. Gasp I know.

  11. beautiful. I’ve been wanting to try some, too.

  12. Wow, this is very neat!

  13. I’ve always wanted to try making bagels…I’m not sure why I haven’t! I hope mine turn out as well as yours 😉

    I’m new to your blog. Love it!

  14. These are not mere bagels, my dear. These are everything bagels! My favorite. In Boston, we still haven’t found bagels that rival our favorites from New York. Perhaps it’s time to try my hand at making my own. Thank you for the inspiration. (Your photographs make me sigh. So inviting.)

  15. Gorgeous! Nice work dear…


  16. These look so tasty – SO tasty. How do you make everything look so beautifully amazing? *grins*

  17. Squill: Yay Bodo’s!

    Whitney: Thanks! I love BBA…LOVE it.

    Hangry Heather: You can do it, Sister…I’ve seen your breads!

    oneordinaryday: Go for it! Yeast bread seems intimidating, but they really aren’t too difficult! It just takes patience and practice…you’ll be amazed!

    Mica: I love Bodo’s too, but I gotta admit…these ARE better. 🙂

    Tara: You certainly may! 🙂

    Christina: I can’t imagine kneading these by hand, but I know its possible. Go for it!

    Vanessa: Thanks so much for stopping by! I love hearing from new readers. 🙂

    Jess: Everything are my hubb’s favorite too. I like them, but my fave is cinnamon raisin. Swoon! 🙂

    Cherie: Thank you my dear!

    Indigo: Awe, shucks! 🙂

  18. I want one! (or two, or three) those look amazing!

    I think you should do a giveaway and send someone some bagels. 😉 LOL

  19. I’ve made everything bagels before too, and agree that they taste amazing – definitely worth the effort!

    Yours look perfect!

  20. I recently added our hunky bread machine to the storage closet as well, freeing up much needed space in our tiny kitchen. Everything bagels are my fave and yours look like a splendid Sunday morning breakfast to me!

  21. Those bagels look so good! I would love to learn how to make bagels!

  22. Pingback: oh so pleased « bella eats

  23. Oh, my gaw, I wish I lived in your attic and could sneak down and steal all of this food you’ve been cooking! I just caught up on your blog and I’m pretty much dying of hunger and lust for food right now.

  24. I’m going to have to try to make some bagels. I didn’t even realize they were boiled until Meghann told me recently!

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