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Spending 2 months in Schefferville means you’ve got to get really creative with your food. It is difficult getting most groceries; food goes bad quickly (or is already bad when you buy it), it’s expensive, and the selection is about half of what you think of when you think “limited”. Soon after arriving here I decided I was going to learn how to make bagels. Why not? I’d heard of one other person I know making their own bagels. Maybe I could do it. Turns out I can! And it’s pretty easy too.

These bagels come out very much like your typical Montreal bagels, which are more tough than the soft American Dunkin’ Donuts bagels. But still good. Plus, I think if you knead them less and cook them slightly less, they’re softer. The third batch I did came out softer than the others, so it takes a bit of practice. I’ll give you the basic recipe first, then at the bottom I’ll tell you how I also made cinnamon raisin bagels & pretzel bagels (which became a huge new favorite for both Eric & I).

Stuff you need:

– 4 cups of flour

– 1 tablespoon of sugar

– 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt

– 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

– 2 teaspoons of instant yeast

– 1-1/2 cups of warm water

Do to:

– Mix everything together all at once, the dough should be stiff.

– Dump the dough onto a surface and knead it by hand until it appears uniformed and smooth (this can also be done in a mixer if you like. I’ve used both at different times and the finished consistency is about the same).

– Cut the dough into equal sized pieces. Anywhere from 8 to 12, depending on how big you like your bagels.

– Allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes (20 minutes in this recipe is the magic number).

-Once rested, roll each dough ball into a chubby snake, until it’s long enough to circle around your palm, across your knuckles, and meet back at your palm again. Roll & pinch the ends together to make your bagel shape.

– Again, let your dough rest for another 20 minutes.

– While resting, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

– Also, get a big pot of water boiling, with enough water to allow your bagels to float. I’ve heard that un-boiled bagels are simply rolls with a hole.

– You’ll also want to prep two cooking trays with a little oil to keep the bagels from sticking.

– Finally, get a cooling rack and set it over a bowl or even in your (clean) kitchen sink.

– With the water boiling, carefully slip enough bagels into your pot so that they all have their own space to float (don’t crowd them). I typically ease them in by setting them on a slotted spoon and dipping that into the water.

– After one minute, flip the bagels and let them boil for another minute (2 minutes total).

– After boiling, carefully scoop them out with your slotted spoon and set them to drip-dry on your cooling rack. They don’t need to be totally dry. I usually leave them on the cooling rack until I’m ready to replace them with new bagels from the pot.

– If you’re sprinkling a topping on your bagels (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc), sprinkle them while they’re on the cooling rack, then flip them onto your cooking tray and sprinkle the other side.

– Slide the trays into the oven, back for 7-9 minutes, then flip your bagels and back for another 7-9 minutes. Tada! Hot, fresh, delicious homemade bagels!

So, that’s how to make plain bagels with a seed topping. To make cinnamon raisin bagels I added a few steps while I was kneading:

-Flatten dough out with your hands (don’t bother with a rolling pin) and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the flattened surface.

-Add a sprinkling of raisins, then roll the whole thing up like cinnamon buns.

-Flatten it again, repeat. Continue doing this until your dough seems marbled enough, then separate into pieces for bagels and continue as normal.

To make super delicious and amazing pretzel bagels (seriously, Eric and I both ate like 3 the first day I made these!):

– Everything is the same until you get to the boiling.

– When preparing the water for boiling measure out for every 2 cups of water, one tablespoon of baking soda. And a little salt. That’s the secret to the most amazing flavor of bagels you’ll ever try.

– If you want, after setting them on the cooking tray you can cut slits into the tops, just be careful not to cut them too deep.

– Sprinkle with salt.

– Bake, but don’t flip these ones.

– Watch them carefully. Once they’re golden, they’re done.

Finally, how about some awesome delicious ideas of what to do with your fresh new bagels? We tried homemade bean burgers with melted cheese and sautéed onions, garlic, & mushrooms, bagel egg-wiches, and cream cheese sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. All good.

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