Bringing St-Viateur to Redgate
About a couple of weeks into social distancing and essentially what I call “end-of life as we knew it” I was feeling homesick for my parents and of course, Montreal bagels. My kids had the answer. “Mom, just make them yourself!”. Hmmm, I thought. Why not?
So I did. Short of having a wood-burning oven in my backyard, which I am now seriously considering having installed, these tasted like home.
The finished product:
I found a fantastic recipe on NYT Cooking (yes, that irony was not lost on me). Here is my version:
- 1½ cups water, room temperature
- 2 packages dry quick-rising yeast (or 1 1/2 ounces fresh yeast)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup oil
- ½ cup honey
- 5 cups or more bread flour (you can use all purpose flour but bread flour is preferable)
- 3 quarts water for boiling
- ⅓ cup honey
- Sesame, poppy or Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend (Trader Joe’s) for sprinkling on top
- In the bowl of an electric mixer that has a dough hook, blend together the water, yeast, sugar and salt. Stir in the whole egg, the yolk, oil and 1/2 cup honey, and mix well.
- Add the 5 cups of bread flour, and mix until the dough is too stiff to mix by hand. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead to form a soft dough. Add a bit more flour as needed to prevent dough from getting too sticky.
- When the dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rest for about 20 minutes. Punch it down, and divide into 18 equal portions.
- Pour the water into a Dutch oven, along with the remaining 1/3 cup honey or malt syrup, and heat to boiling. Cover, reduce the heat, and allow to simmer while preparing the bagels.
- Shape the dough portions into bagels by rolling each portion into an 8- to 10-inch strand that is 3/4 inch thick. This step is important, you need to fold the ends over each other, pressing with the palm of one hand and rolling back and forth gently to seal. This locks the ends together and must be done properly or the bagels will open while being boiled.
7. Let the bagels rest 15 minutes on a towel-lined baking sheet.
- Preheat oven to 450℉. Bring the water back to a boil and remove the lid. Prepare bowls of seeds nearby (I use sesame and Everything but the Bagel)
- When the water is boiling, use a slotted spoon, and place three bagels into the water. As they rise to the surface, turn them over, and let them boil an additional minute before removing them and quickly dipping them in either bowl of the seeds. Continue boiling the bagels in batches of three until all have been boiled and seeded.
- Arrange the boiled bagels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake on a low rack in the oven (the recipe calls for the lowest rack but I use the one just above it to reduce burning on the bottom of the bagels) until the bagels are medium brown, approximately 25 minutes.
So while I still deeply miss my folks and the sights and smells of my hometown, it is great to be able to create a little bit of that right here in my Redgate Kitchen. Do yourself a favor and make them in yours. You can thank me later.