Sweet and Chewy Montreal-Style Bagels

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by Susan Hanna

We love bagels, but it’s hard to find ones without additives and preservatives. So I was looking forward to trying this recipe in the Toronto Star, which is adapted from one in Feast: Recipes & Stories From a Canadian Road Trip. It takes a bit of time, but the results are worth it — the bagels are light and chewy with a hint of sweetness. Rolling the dough and forming the loops takes a bit of practice — not all of my dough loops held together — but they still tasted good! If you want these to be less sweet, reduce the sugar by 1 or 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml). If you prefer a denser bagel, reduce the rising time to 30 minutes.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your oil and honey are preservative-free. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1-½ cups (375 ml) warm water
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) active dry yeast
  • 5 tbsp (75 ml) white sugar
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil, plus extra for coating dough
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 cups (1 L) all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1-½ tsp (7 ml) salt
  • 12 cups (3 L) water, for boiling
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
  • Sesame and poppy seeds for garnish

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, combine water and yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until mixture begins to foam (meaning yeast is active).
  2. Add in sugar, oil, maple syrup and egg and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir until well mixed.
  4. With dough hook attachment on lowest speed, stir large bowl, adding in flour-salt mixture 1 cup (250 ml) at a time, leaving about 30 seconds between each cup. Using a spatula, scrape down any flour that sticks to the sides. Continue stirring until dough is sticky and consistent in colour without visible streaks of flour.
  5. On a lightly floured countertop, place dough and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon (5 ml) flour on top. Knead dough for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary but don’t overdo it — dough should be sticky but pull away from hands and countertop easily. Shape dough into a ball and set aside.
  6. In a medium-sized bowl, add ½ teaspoon oil. Roll dough ball in bowl until covered. Cover bowl with damp tea towel or plastic wrap and let dough rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.
  7. When dough is nearly ready, in a large pot over high heat, add water and honey and bring to boil.
  8. Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C) with one rack at top and another on bottom.
  9. Punch down dough, place on counter and divide it into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into roughly 8-inch-long (25 cm) rope, then bring ends together, rolling ends until they stick together, forming a loop.
  10. Using a large slotted spoon, place bagels gently one at a time into boiling water. Cook 3 or 4 at a time. Do not let bagels overlap. Boil for 90 seconds, flipping bagels halfway. Remove with the spoon and place on cooling rack.
  11. Let bagels cool about 5 minutes. Coat with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
  12. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, place bagels about 1/2 inch (1 cm) apart. Place on the top rack in oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip bagels and place sheet onto bottom oven rack. Continue baking until tops are golden-brown, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  13. Remove bagels from oven, transfer to cooling rack and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Bagels can also be stored for several days in a zip-lock bag; allow to cool fully before bagging.

Enjoy with cream cheese and smoked salmon, tomatoes, avocado and/or capers.

From the Toronto Star