Friday, 10 June 2011

Poppy Seed Bagels

Making bread always brings out the baker in me. I love the springy, bounciness of just risen dough and the feeling of satisfaction when, what feels like hours of constant kneading, transforms it into a smooth, elastic ball of loveliness. The smell in the kitchen as it’s baking away is heavenly and that first bite into a slightly crunchy outside yet super soft inside is simply delightful.

There are so many different types of bread I like to bake, but this is one of my favourite recipes, Poppy Seed Bagels. Bagels are fantastic, filling and so versatile. They make a great breakfast with butter and jam, a satisfying lunch with cream cheese and chives, mini ones are great for parties, the possibilities are endless! So bring out the baker in you and try these delicious Poppy Seed Bagels.

Poppy Seed Bagels


375ml warm water
1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
2tbsp caster sugar
600g plain flour
2tsp salt
2 litres water, extra
1 egg yolk
1tbsp milk
2tbsp poppy seeds

In a small jug add the warm water, dried yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Stir until combined and leave to one side for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl mix the flour and salt together and make a well in the middle. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir until combines. As the dough gets thicker use your hands to bring together.
Lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and springy; if you press your finger lightly in the dough it should spring back into shape.

Place the dough in a large bowl, cover loosely with a slightly damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large saucepan pour in the extra water and 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar. Put on a high heat, bring to the boil and then reduce heat to a medium simmer.

Brush three baking trays with oil and divide the dough into 12 even balls. Push a lightly floured finger through the middle of the ball to create a hole and spin carefully on your finger to widen it. Place on the oiled tray (4 bagels for each tray), flatten slightly and repeat with the remaining dough balls. Leave them to rise on the trays for 10 minutes.

Carefully drop 4 of the bagels into the simmering water, cook for 3 minutes then turn over with a slotted spoon and cook for a further 3 minutes. Use the spoon to remove them one by one and place them back on the oiled tray. Repeat in two more batches for the remaining bagels.

Whisk the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl and using a pastry brush, spread a little over each bagel. Sprinkle some poppy seeds on the top of each bagel. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. Place on a wire rack and cool and serve either on their own or with a filling of your choice.

Belle's Top Tip
You can make a sweeter version of this bagel by adding an additional tablespoon of sugar into the yeast mixture, throwing in some sultanas when you mix the flour and salt then topping them with granulated sugar rather than poppy seeds for a sweet, sugary crust.