Jewish Food: The World at Table
by Matthew Goodman
This is it: the five-ingredient real deal, the kind of crusty, chewy, flavorful bagel that in only a couple of generations has become an endangered species. Malt syrup and high-gluten flour can be purchased from King Arthur Flour at www.kingarthurflour.com.
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon malt syrup
about 4 1/2 cups high-gluten flour
Poppy seeds or sesame seeds for topping (optional)
1. In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast and let stand until the mixture begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.
2. Combine the yeast mixture, salt, and malt syrup in the bowl of a standing electric mixer and beat to blend. Slowly add the flour, beating to create a thick, crumbly dough that holds together well.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead (the dough will seem very stiff) until smooth and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes. Cover the dough with a towel and let stand for 20 minutes.
4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 10 pieces, covering them with a towel while you knead and shape each piece. Roll each piece into a rope 10 inches long, tapered slightly at the ends. Attach the ends of the rope to form a circle, overlapping the ends by about 1 inch. Place the bagel on one of the parchment-lined baking sheets, gently pressing it down on top to flatten. Repeat the process with the remaining dough pieces.
5. Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Working in small batches, drop the bagels into the water and boil for 45 seconds, then turn them over and boil for another 45 seconds. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bagels to wire racks and let drain completely.
8. Transfer the bagels to the parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between them. If desired, sprinkle each bagel with poppy or sesame seeds. Bake until brown, about 16 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.