Where we live they are not easy to find. When you do they are normally a tad disappointing… so I started making our own using this recipe. Now I am not entering into any arguments re the use of Lye BUT… if you want to get THE true texture, this is TOTALLY necessary. Like all ‘risky’ things, common sense applies with the use of any chemical. Some blog posters are simply OTT about the dangers and miss the whole point – using boiling water is also dangerous. Your goal would be to keep yourself and small furry animals out of harms way and the bagels in the water. While Lye IS ‘dangerous’, you should take some sensible common sense steps with it. A true case where RTFM applies…
Homemade bagel recipe
4 cups bread flour (1 cup = 125 grams )
1 Tbls sugar
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 Tbls vegetable oil
2 tsps instant yeast (I use two small packs of the Maizena Levadura)
1-1/4- 1-1/2 cups of warm water. (1 cup = 8 fl oz = 2.4 dl = 24 cl = 240 ml)
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. You don’t have to worry about soaking the yeast when you use instant yeast (most yeast sold these days is instant yeast). The dough should feel stiff, but add the extra water if it’s really stiff, or you can’t get all the dry flour incorporated.
Plop the dough down onto the counter, and knead for about ten minutes, or until the dough is uniform and smooth.
Cut the dough into 8 equal sized balls, and let rest for 10-20 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 425F.
Now, take each of the dough balls and using two hands, roll it into a little snake on the counter. When the snake is longer than the width of your two hands, wrap it around your dominant roiling hand. The dough rope should be wrapped so the overlapping ends are together at your palm, near the start of your fingers. Now take the two overlapping ends, and use your palm to squish/roll these two ends together. Once the dough is fused, you should have a perfectly circular bagel-to-be! This is the only part of the process that can take a little practice before your bagels will look really professional. Don’t get discouraged if they don’t look perfect, it just takes practice! Alternatively, I have found this method to be far better: simply poke a hole through with thumb/finger and shape into bagel…
Let your bagels rest on the counter for about 20 minutes, and meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil/have a beer/shower etc, and grease a large baking tray lightly. You can just rub a splash of vegetable oil onto the tray. I have tried using baking soda as is often recommended (professionals use lye which is rather dodgy to handle) and without they are equally good although I would not consider them true bagels.
After the 20 minute wait, your bagels will start to look puffy, and it’s time to get them boiling! Add them as many at a time as you can to your boiling water without crowding them. Boil for about a minute, turn them over, and boil for another minute. Take them out a let dry for a minute and then place them on your oiled baking tray. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled.
Add the tray to the oven, and after 10 minutes, flip the bagels over, bake for another ten minutes; and they’re done!
Let them cool for at least 20 minutes.