Introducing Your Next Baking Project: Homemade Bagels
Sorry sourdough, you've been dethroned.
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Growing up on Long Island, Saturday mornings meant one thing: bagels. And no, I'm not talking about the pre-packaged kinds you find in the freezer section or next to the sliced bread in the grocery store. I'm referring to the freshly baked bagels. The ones that don't have to be toasted because they have a chewy bite and doughy goodness that cannot compare to anything you could find on a supermarket shelf.
When I moved away from the New York area for a few years, I would crave those bagels and be disappointed by what I could find. It seriously put a damper on my weekend breakfast game. If only I could just make my own, then I could enjoy straight-from-the-oven bagels no matter where I lived. I could pick up and move anywhere (hello, Hawaii!) without sacrificing my Saturday morning routine. But, the idea of making bagels from scratch? Super intimidating.
Then I discovered the bagel baking class on the Food Network Kitchen app. Taught by Melissa Yanc, longtime baker and winner of the Holiday Baking Championship, this video tutorial breaks it all down. Covering everything from making the starter to mastering the boiling and baking process, she really demonstrates each step in a way that dials the intimidation factor down a few notches.
First, we make the biga, the mix of flour, water and yeast that works as the starter for the dough. Next, we finish mixing the dough using just one bowl and our two hands —no special equipment needed, whatsoever! Then, we start cutting and shaping the bagels. I found this part to be fun and surprisingly therapeutic. Last, we finish off the project by boiling and baking the bagels. This cooking method is the secret to the OMG-worthy texture, by the way.
In full disclosure, the process takes a total of 14 hours at least, but as Melissa says, "time means flavor." Besides, most of that time is spent letting the dough rest (read: taking lots of TV breaks). Plus, you end the experience with a dozen beautiful bagels — with crisp exteriors and doughy insides. All in all, I'd call this a day well spent.