There are a lot of things I miss about New Jersey. I miss being familiar with a place because I grew up there. I miss the weekly football gatherings at my dad’s house, having about 50 authentic Italian restaurants within a 5 mile radius, only being a few (traffic-filled) minutes away from Manhattan, the “accent” that I didn’t realize existed until I moved to Kentucky – and I miss the bagels.
Every deli in New Jersey sells bagels. I’m not sure which are better, New York bagels or New Jersey bagels, but I have to say the texture and flavor of both are something I haven’t found anywhere else. We have a Panera nearby and they definitely make a decent bagel – but the slightly dense, slightly sweet, slightly salty, steamy and rich bread encased in the chewy caramelized crust of a fresh New Jersey bagel just can’t be beat.
Needless to say, when I found a recipe online for “Authentic New York-Style Homemade Bagels”, I almost passed out. The ingredients are simple, the method is fairly easy and the bagels are to die for. They are the closest thing to an East Coast bagel I’ve tasted in 2 years!
If you’ve never been to the metro area for a bagel, you may not understand what all the fuss is about – but if you try this recipe, you’ll know!
What are some recipes you’ve learned to satisfy a craving for something you couldn’t find locally?
Homemade New Jersey Deli Bagels
Adapted from Authentic New York-Style Homemade Bagels on cdkitchen.com
Yields 8 bagels (307 calories each)
1 1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp molasses
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
6 quarts water
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp salt
In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together water, yeast and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes.
With a spoon, stir in vegetable oil, molasses and 1 cup of the flour. Add salt and the rest of the flour, and mix on a low setting with the dough hook attachment.
Once a dough forms, continue to knead on the same low setting for 10 minutes. At this point you can get a large pot or dutch oven, fill it 3/4 full with water, place it on the stove over medium heat and cover.
Move the dough to a board, cover with a towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Form your dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal sections (a pastry cutter makes this easy).
Roll each section into a 10-12 inch rope with tapered ends, make a loop and “knot” the ends together. There are many ways to shape bagels – I personally like the knotted look, but if you want a more traditional looking bagel, watch this helpful and short video on bagel shaping, its great! You want to shape your dough on a somewhat rough surface so the dough doesn’t slide around while you’re rolling. I like to use an unfinished wood cutting board.
Place your dough rings on a lightly floured board, cover with a towel and let them rest for 15-20 minutes. I place my board near the stove to give the dough a warmer environment to rest during the oven preheat.
Add the 2 tbsp molasses and 1 tsp salt to your pot of warm water, and bring it to a boil. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet (or 2 medium baking sheets) with parchment paper, sprinkle with cornmeal and set aside.
Line another large baking sheet with a kitchen towel and set it near the stove. Reduce your boiling water to a simmer and cook 2 bagels at a time (no crowding!) 45 seconds on each side. You can flip the bagels with tongs. Once the first 2 are done, move them to the towel-lined baking sheet to drain and continue with the rest of the bagels. The bagel ends may start to come loose during the boil, but when you move them to the towel-lined sheet you can reseal the ends by pushing gently on them with your tongs.
Carefully place the bagels on the parchment-lined baking sheet(s), and put them in the oven. Immediately reduce your oven temperature to 425 degrees F and bake for 17-20 minutes. When you still have a few minutes left, flip the bagels and let them finish baking on the other side. Definitely use your tongs for this!
Transfer bagels to a wire rack to cool. Eat warm and enjoy!! If your bagels end up a bit misshapen and imperfect (like mine), call it character and be proud that you just made bagels from scratch! 🙂
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