Bagels are a breakfast staple for many, sometimes with savoury spreads, sometimes with sweet spreads, and sometimes even on their own. And these honey beauties are just that good. The honey does give them sweetness, but they are simply great with cream cheese. If you would like a more balanced flavour, you can increase the salt amount ever so slightly, so they are of a more neutral flavour, which would, in turn, be fantastic with smoked salmon and freshly cracked black pepper.
These ones are specially crafted to be full of honey, soft, fluffy, and amazing, as the recipe itself is entirely inspired by and dedicated to the dearest friend of ours.
For the bagels
400 grams strong bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 ½ teaspoons salt
300 ml warm water
For the baking soda solution
500 ml boiling water
3 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons raw honey
For the glaze
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon raw honey
Take a large bowl, and sift in the bread flour. Add the yeast, and mix really well. Add in the warm water, honey, and salt, then mix with a wooden spoon until a ball of dough forms. Once the dough ball forms, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it with your hands for about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft, smooth, and elastic. Depending on your flour, you might need to add another tablespoon or two of flour. Place the dough into a large, greased bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rest and rise, in a warm spot, for about 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, press to deflate it in the bowl, then transfer it to a floured surface, and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a sphere, and let them rest for 30 minutes, covered. When they have rested slightly, working quickly, shape each piece into a bagel by pinching a hole through the centre of it. Keep the rest of the dough pieces covered whilst working and shaping them. Let the formed bagels rest and rise for another 30 minutes.
While they are resting, prepare the baking soda solution – let the water come to a boil in a deep pot or a saucepan, then reduce the heat and let the water just simmer. Add in the baking soda and honey (it will bubble up, so be careful, and use a deep pot), and prepare for dipping the bagels.
Dip each bagel completely into the baking soda solution, and let it bathe for 10 seconds, then remove it, and place it onto a silicone mat on a large baking sheet. Continue doing the same with the rest of the bagels, then immediately place the baking sheet into a preheated oven, at 200°C (400°F), and bake the bagels for 15-20 minutes. While they are baking, mix together the softened butter and honey, and keep it ready for the bagels. Once you take them out of the oven, use a silicone pastry brush to generously coat them with the honey butter.
Serve warm. Yields 12 small bagels.
By Tina Vesić