Here are the top 5 reasons why you should make your own bagels:
5. You don't have to fly to New York to get a bagel that actually tastes like a bagel
4. Knowing your biceps are actually rock hard when you say "Got tickets to the gun show?"
3. The street cred and bragging rights
2. All of the inappropriate jokes and gestures you can make with the dough while poking holes into it
And the number one reason to make your own bagels is.... (drum roll drum roll drum roll drum roll)
1. THEY TASTE F*!#ING AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So it may take 2 days to make them, and you might burn out the motor in your Kitchen Aid mixer, but the results are totally worth it. You will never want to buy a store bought bagel ever again. And what better to top that bagel off with than homemade gravlax?
Gravlax is raw salmon that is cured in a mixture of salt, sugar, and dill. The prep time is very minimal, but takes about 3 days to cure, so be sure to plan ahead on this one. I received this recipe from my boss last Christmas, and it is as good if not better than any cured or smoked salmon that you can buy in the store. The thing that makes his recipe a little bit different is that the salmon, once cured in the salt and sugar mixture, cures in olive oil. This extra step keeps the salmon really moist and adds a layer of fruitiness to the fish.
1 piece of salmon, center cut if possible with the skin off, about 3 lbs.
2 cups salt
2 cups brown sugar
2 bunches chives
1 bunch dill
1 cup olive oil
3 days ahead:
Combine the salt and sugar into a bowl. Depending on the size of your fish you may or may not need more of the salt and sugar mixture. You basically need enough of this mixture to cover the entire fish so that it is buried, and no parts of the fish are exposed. In a non-reactive dish (ceramic or glass) spread an even layer of the salt and sugar mixture on the bottom of the dish. Place the salmon on top of the salt and sugar layer. Next, chop up the chives and dill, and cover the surface of the salmon with the fresh herbs. Then take the remaining salt and sugar mixture and cover the salmon completely so that none of the fish is exposed. Cover the dish in plastic wrap so that the plastic goes around the whole dish. Put the dish onto a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator. The fish needs to be weighed down while it is curing, so I usually take a large soup pot and put it on top of the fish, and then fill the pot with items in my refrigerator, like a gallon of milk.
The end of the 2nd day:
Take the fish out of the refrigerator and rinse off all of the salt and sugar. There should be a lot of liquid in the dish, which is just the water that the salt has extracted out of the fish. The herbs should be stuck to the surface and the salmon should have the firmness of a medium rare steak in the thickest parts. Rinse out the dish and dry completely. Place the salmon back in the dish and cover with olive oil. Wrap the dish in plastic wrap and put back in the refrigerator for another day or until you are ready to serve. Slice the fish on an angle, thinly, and serve on bagels or your favorite bread.
1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 cups water at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups bread flour
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon malt syrup
1 tablespoon baking soda
cornmeal for dusting
Everything Bagel Toppings
2 tablespoons dehydrated minced garlic, rehydrated
2 tablespoons dehydrated minced onion, rehydrated
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 teaspoon salt
yields 1 dozen bagels
Prepare the sponge by stirring the yeast into the flour into a large mixing bowl*. Add the water and stir until the sponge has the consistency of pancake batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until the sponge becomes very bubbly and has doubled in size, about 2 hrs.
Sponge after rising for 2 hours
Next, prepare the dough by stirring in the additional 1/2 teaspoon of yeast into the sponge mixture. Then add 3 cups of flour, salt, and barley malt syrup. Stir or mix on low speed with the dough hook attachment in an electric mixer. Once the dough has formed a ball, add in the remaining 3/4 cup of flour to stiffen the dough.
Continue to mix the dough on low speed in an electric mixer for approximately 6 minutes or transfer the dough to a work surface and knead for 10 minutes by hand. At this point, the dough should be extremely stiff, but smooth, where all the ingredients have been thoroughly mixed in. There should be no raw flour on the dough. To make sure the dough has been kneaded enough, put it to the window pane test, where the dough should be elastic enough to hold its shape while stretched very thinly. You should be able to see light through it, hence calling it the window pane test. If the dough is too dry and rips, add a few drops of water to the dough and continue kneading**. If the dough is too tacky add a little more flour and keep kneading. You want a satiny smooth dough that should not stick to your work surface.
Window Pane Test
Next, divide the dough into 12 equal 4 1/2 ounce pieces. Shape the dough into balls and then poke holes into them, stretching them out so that the hole is approximately 1 inch in diameter. Place the bagels onto lightly greased cookie sheets and loosely cover with plastic wrap that has also been sprayed lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
Once the bagels have rested they need to pass the "float test" before the rising can be slowed down in the refrigerator. Fill a large bowl with room temperature water. Place the bagel in the water, and if it floats within 10 seconds after being dropped in the water, you and your bagel have received an A+ and have passed the test with flying colors. If your bagel passes the test immediately return the bagel to the cookie sheet and place all of your bagels in the refrigerator overnight. If the bagel fails the float test, continue to let the bagels rest another 10-20 minutes and retest. Continue to do this until your bagel passes the float test.
*I used my Kitchen Aid bowl, but please note that unless you have a professional series mixer, do not attempt to make this recipe in your Kitchen Aid. I have the 6 quart professional model, and my motor was having a hard time mixing the dough for this recipe. Halfway through mixing I had to finish kneading the dough by hand to spare my Kitchen Aid's life.
** I found that I had to add water to my dough several time throughout the whole process. Just a few splashes here and there re-hydrates the dough to make it easier to shape and work with.
Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Prepare two baking sheets by spraying them with non-stick cooking spray and then lightly dusting them with cornmeal. Next, mix all of your topping ingredients together on a large plate and spread out in an even layer. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in the baking soda. Once the water has come to a boil drop in 2-3 bagels and boil for two minutes flipping the bagels over half way through.
After the bagels have boiled for 2 minutes remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to the plate with the toppings. Coat one side of the bagel evenly with the everything bagel topping and place on the prepped cookie sheet. Repeat until all the bagels have been boiled and topped.
Everything Bagel Toppings
Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, rotating the sheet pan every 5 minutes until the bagels are golden brown. Let the bagels cool completely before slicing.
Now it's time to reap the fruits of your labor. I topped my bagel with a nice layer of Cowgirl Creamery fromage blanc (similar to cream cheese, but with a tangier flavor and slightly grainy texture), a good heaping pile of gravlax, a few thin slices of red onion, capers, and a sprinkling of lavender salt. I guarantee that you will be dreaming of your next bagel and gravlax before you even finish the last bite!
Bagels and Gravlax