A little more than a week ago, the dude and I found ourselves at Veganz, which is basically the only vegan grocery store in the whole of Berlin, and also the only place I know of in this city that sells vegan cream cheese, although The Bio Company does have a similar and more affordable version as well. The main purpose of our trek across town was to purchase Tofutti, and since we don’t frequently make trips to Prenzlauer Berg, I opted to buy two containers of the stuff – one for the recipe in mind and one for whatever else.
Back home, I thought that cream cheese really goes best with bagels, so I decided to try my hand at baking bagels. I used to make them once every few months, but it has been some time since I’ve done that, and I opted to try out a new recipe. The desire for variety aside, this is also due to the fact that my bagels always end up tasting delicious but looking disastrous, so I was hoping that maybe with a different method, I’d turn out some halfway-decent-looking bagels.
That said, I found this recipe for New York-style bagels on Sophisticated Gourmet and it turned out wonderfully. In fact, the only difference is that I used regular flour as opposed to a special bread flour, and they still taste pretty awesome – especially with that vegan cream cheese. And after browsing through the recipes on this website, it’s safe to assume I’ll be trying out more of them in the near future.
-Mix together 1/2 cup warm water, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons yeast. Let it sit for five minutes and then stir until the sugar and yeast dissolve.
-Stir together 3 1/2 cups flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the water/sugar/yeast.
-Pour 1/2 cup additional warm water into the mixture and stir it all together. If there is remaining flour, add up to another 1/4 cup water to make the dough moist and pliable, but not too sticky.
-Lightly flour a countertop or cutting board and knead the dough for 10 minutes.
-Coat the dough in olive oil and place it in a bowl, covered by a damp dishtowel. Let rise for 1 hour. Then punch the dough down and let it sit for 10 minutes.
-Divide the dough into eight pieces and shape each one into a ball.
-Cover your hands in light flour and use your fingers to make a small hole, or ring, in each piece of dough.
-Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover with the towel for 10 minutes.
-Heat up water in a giant pot until it boils, and then turn down the heat. Place bagels (a few at a time) into the water and allow them to boil for two minutes. Then flip them and go another two minutes, before transferring them to the baking sheet.
-Brush melted butter/margarine on top of the bagels if you want to add toppings. Consider using seeds, salt, garlic or onion. Plain bagels are also good.
-Bake for 20 minutes at 425 F (~220 C).