13 August 2010

Move over Lender's

After putting it off, and putting it off, I have finally made my own bagels from scratch.  For some reason, I was very intimidated by the recipe, so I kept waiting for a day when I could have no interruptions and totally focus on the bagels.  With it being the middle of summer, and having a two and four-year-old running around, those undisturbed opportunities come few and far between.  Thankfully, there were a couple of events that pushed me over the brink to give me the extra motivation I needed to make these edible wonders.

First of all, I just got back from vacation, and I hadn't baked anything in over a week; so I really needed to get my hands in some dough.  Secondly, I just ate an unsatisfying store-bought bagel and was really craving the real thing.  Now, I am not a bagel snob by any means.  I enjoy bagels from Panera Bread, and also buy Thomas bagels at the grocery store every now and then.  However, I bought a package of frozen Lender's egg bagels that were basically just yellow, round, stale white bread.  No chewiness, no crisp exterior, just soft and bland.

Maybe I expected too much from the Lender's bagel.  I remember eating them at my grandparents' house piled high with cream cheese so many years ago.  The egg bagel had a certain something that made it different that I always enjoyed.  I saw the Lender's bagels in my grocer's freezer and was looking forward to rediscovering that flavor.  Unfortunately, these bagels only looked like the bagels from my childhood, the flavor was no where near what I remember.  Maybe it was a bad batch, maybe frozen bagels just aren't the way to go anymore.  Nevertheless, this experience did give me the little nudge I needed to get in the kitchen and make my own.

My bagel making experience what nothing but delightful.  Even though there were many steps, they all were fairly quick and easy.  The longest steps involved were just waiting for the dough to rise.  Even better, once I formed the bagels, they had to sit overnight in the refrigerator, so I was able to have them freshly baked for breakfast the next morning. 

These home-made bagels are absolutely delicious, and I plan on making more in the future.  They are chewy, dense, and full of flavor.  Plus, they toasted up nicely as we ate them over the next few days.  For my next batch, I may top them with some poppy and sesame seeds.  Oh, the possibilities!


  1. Luke, when you said you love developing gluten, was it for these splendid bagels? They look amazing!

  2. Thanks Eva! I can't wait for you to try one.

    As for my love of gluten declaration, I was actually making pizza dough at the time. But the bagel making was fresh in my mind. That's when the thought occurred to me.

  3. Do you have the recipe posted somewhere on your site?

    1. I didn't post the recipe since it came from the book 'The Bread Baker's Apprentice' by Peter Reinhart. Here are the ingredients, though:

      Sponge Ingredients:
      1 teaspoon (0.11 ounces) instant yeast
      4 cups (18 ounces) unbleached bread flour
      2 1/2 cups (20 ounces) water, at room temperature

      Dough Ingredients:
      1 teaspoon (0.11 ounces) instant yeast
      3 3/4 cups (17 ounces) unbleached bread flour
      2 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon malt syrup

      To Finish:
      1 tablespoon baking soda
      Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting

      I highly recommend the book, if only for the bagel recipe alone.



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