Ever since my incredible visit to New York six years ago, I have longed to create my own NYC bagels recipe. I wanted to relive the smell and taste of the Big Apple. It has taken many aborted attempts, but I got there. I probably baked hundreds of bagels which were yummy, but not quite right.
During lockdown I decided to use all this extra time I had to refine the recipe. Get it just right.
I’d like to share it with you now – my very own NYC bagels recipe. If you’re looking to bake a gorgeously doughy and dense plain bagel – none of that cinnamon or raisin nonsense – this one is for you.
- 7g sachet dried yeast
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 450g bread flour
- poppy, fennel and/or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top (optional – you choose)
- First, add the yeast and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar into a large bowl. I’ve used caster sugar for this recipe, but if you only have granulated that’s not a problem. Pour over 100ml warm water. Leave for around 10 minutes until the mixture becomes bubbly as the yeast works its magic.
- Pour a further 200ml warm water into the bowl. Stir in the salt and half the bread flour (225g).
- Keep adding the remaining bread flour (you may not have to use it all, don’t panic if you have some left over!). Mixing with your hands (yes, get involved) until you have a soft, but not sticky dough. The dough should be pliable but not leave any on your fingers. If it does, it is too moist, add some more flour.
- Then knead the dough for 10 mins until it has a smooth and elastic consistency.
- Shape into a ball and put in a lightly-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place to prove for about an hour or so, until the mixture has approximately doubled in size.
Time for the slightly fiddly bit…
- Preheat your oven to 200C (390F).
- On a lightly floured surface – kitchen worktop or tabletop is fine – divide the dough into 10 pieces.
- As a guideline (get your weighing scales out) each dollop of dough should weigh around 85g. Roll each piece into a thin rectangle using a small amount of flour on the work surface. Take one of the long lengths and fold it into the middle of the rectangle. Lightly roll into a sausage shape. Pinch the two ends together and….yes, you’ve guessed it…you have something shaped like an NYC bagel!
- Move it to a flat baking tray, cover loosely with cling film and crack on with the rest.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and tip in the remaining sugar.
- Gently lower the bagels into the boiling water. I’d recommend no more than three or four at a time so they don’t bunch up or get stuck together.
- Cook for 1-2 mins, turning over in the water until the bagels have puffed-up slightly.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and drain away any excess water. While you’re cooking the others, the ones you have par-boiled will go a bit wrinkly. Don’t freak out, this is quite normal and won’t affect the end finish.
- Sprinkle over your choice of topping (if you want one, no pressure) and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper or non-stick silicone parchment.
- Bake in the oven for around 25 mins until browned and crisp. Keep an eye on them towards the end, and don’t be afraid to give them a few more minutes if they are still pale.
- Like a good loaf of bread, the bases of these bagels should sound hollow when tapped.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack, then serve these plain bagels with your favourite filling.
Equipment you will need for my NYC bagels recipe
Add a splash of colour to the kitchen with this bold red melamine mixing bowl. 3 litre capacity. Non-slip ring, ergonomic handle and a spout for easy pouring of mixture. Dishwasher and refrigerator safe.
Stainless steel electronic scales with a large LCD display and a ‘sero’ function so you can weigh several ingredients without removing the previous contents. Measures dry and wet ingredients with volume indication. Detachable large stainless steel mixing bowl with 21cm diameter, 10cm height. 5kg capacity. Metric and imperial units.