Bagels originated in eastern Europe and were brought to the United States by Jewish immigrants. They are best eaten toasted for breakfast or used as a sandwich. A traditional way of serving bagels is to split and toast them then spread thickly with cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon.
450g strong white flour.
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt.
225ml mixed milk and water at room temperature.
1 teaspoon caster sugar.
1 teaspoon malt extract.
30g butter, melted and cooled.
1 egg beaten.
1 tablespoon malt extract.
2 tablespoons sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Whisk the yeast into the milk and water. Add the sugar and malt extract.
Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and salt. Add the melted butter and egg.
Mix to a dough and knead for 10 minutes by hand or 6minutes by machine, until smooth and elastic.
Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat in the oil. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 1 1/2-2hours or until doubled in size.
Knead the dough for 30 seconds then divide into 12 equal-sized balls. Shape each ball into a neat round. Make a hole in the centre of each ball and swing each one around your finger to increase the size of the hole to a diameter of at least 4cm.
Place the bagels on a greased baking sheet and cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave for 20 minutes in a warm place or until soft and pillowy.
Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan with water and add 1 tablespoon malt extract. Bring to the boil, then turn down the temperature so an occasional bubble rises to the surface.
Heat the oven to 220c. Place a baking stone, if using, in the top third of the oven and a roasting tin on the shelf below the baking stone.
Drop the bagels one or two at a time into the saucepan. Poach for about 10 seconds per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tea towel to drain. If the bagels collapse after poaching you have poached them for too long. Do not leave them on the tea towel for more than 5 minutes or they will stick to the towel.
Place the bagels on the baking stone or a lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Bake for 20 minutes. Add iced water to the roasting tin and spray the bagels with a plant mister during the first 5 minutes of baking.
Place on a wire rack to cool.