Overnight Sesame Bagels


 Prep Time : 10 + 15 + 20 Minutes | Cook Time : 5 + 20 Minutes | Total Time : 4 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! Who doesn’t love a good chewy bagel? Today we’re making perfect homemade bagels from simple ingredients. Adorned with seeds. Ready for your favourite toppings. This is a bit more complex than our previous bread recipes. It has an overnight step to improve flavour. And there is the bagel shaping and boiling to contend with as well. None of the steps are hard. There are just a few more of them. You’ve totally got this. The dough is quite stiff so I found it easier to work by hand than in a mixer. Hands are good for everything. Nature wants you to use them. Do the first step before you go to bed and you’ll be all ready to get your bagel on the next day. The 4 hours of time is all the active time plus proving and resting. Not the overnight part. I hope you’re all sleeping more than 4 hours a night! Bagels freeze really well so double the recipe and pop them in a zip lock bag in the freezer to pull out whenever you need a fix. Don’t forget to toast them if you’re into that sort of thing. Which we are.

Before bed the night before baking day measure out 100 grams of flour into a large bowl. In a separate bowl or cup measure 100ml of warm water and sprinkle over 1/4 teaspoon of active dried yeast. Go brush your teeth and wash your face. When you get back the yeast will have softened in the water. Add it to the flour and mix it all thoroughly. It will be a thick pasty goo. Perfect. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on the bench. Off to bed.

In the morning your goo will look like this.

The yeast has been fermenting overnight packing in extra bready flavour. Add the remaining 400 grams of flour to the bowl and put the salt on top. Use your fingers to mix the salt into the flour on top.

In a bowl or cup measure the remaining 190 mls of water. Dissolve the honey into this water then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of yeast over the top and leave to get foamy.

Add the yeast liquid to the big bowl. Get your hands in there and mix it all to a firm dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Tip the dough out and knead until smooth and tight. It’s a stiff dough so it will need a bit of working. Try kneading for 2 minutes then taking a break for 2 minutes. A few cycles of this should see you right. Gluten will develop during the resting periods as well and it will cut the work.

Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.

Tip the dough out and gently press out the excess air. Divide into 8 even sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and leave to rest for 10 minutes. While the balls are resting the gluten will relax a bit and it will be easier to stretch the bagels into rings.

Take each ball of dough and poke a hole in the centre with your index finger.

Stretch the hole a little so you can get both index fingers in and use a circular motion to gradually increase the size of the ring. They will be uneven. The beauty of handmade things.

When they have a good sized hole in the middle place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea-towel and leave to rise until they’re about half as big again. We want the yeast to develop air pockets that will expand more when we boil the bagels.

In a large pot bring 2 and a half litres of water and 1/4 cup of honey to a simmer. This very light ‘syrup’ will give the bagels a lovely dark chewy crust when baked. Heat the oven to 220C.

Set out a baking sheet and a small dish with a little bit of polenta in it. Set out a wire rack next to the stove and a shallow bowl with the sesame seeds in it.

We are going to poach the bagels in batches depending on how many can comfortably float in your pot. Slide them gently into the water. Watch for them to float and cook for 1 minute before flipping them gently with a spoon and cooking for a further minute. They should puff up further while poaching.

Lift them out with a slotted spoon and pop them on the wire rack to drain.

If there are any large air bubbles in the bagels they will collapse when you take the bagels out of the water. Don’t worry about it. Sesame seeds cover all sins.

After a minute or two carefully pick each bagel up and dip one side in sesame seeds. The surface of the bagels will be sticky and the seeds will adhere.

Turn it back over and dip the bottom in polenta before placing onto the baking sheet. Repeat until all the bagels are on the sheet.

Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is browned and the bagels feel light when you pick them up.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Hope you have some cream cheese ready. Or some Homemade Cultured Butter. A bit of jam. Or buttery banana spread.

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Overnight Sesame Bagels


Prep Time : 10 + 15 + 20 mins | Cook Time : 5 + 20 mins | Total Time : 4 hours | Difficulty : Bread | Makes : 8 Bagels

Delicious chewy bagels ready for your favourite toppings.

Ingredients:

  • 500 strong bread flour, divided
  • 190 mls warm water
  • 3/4 teaspoon active dried yeast, divided
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) fine salt
  • 1 teaspoons honey
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds, for coating
  • Additional honey for boiling, around 1/4 cup (80 grams)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fine polenta or semolina for the baking sheet

– If using metric cups, reduce volume measures by 1 tablespoon for every cup of dry or liquid ingredients – 

Equipment:

  • Bowls and spoons
  • Baking sheets and wire racks
  • Large pot and slotted spoon

Directions:

Before bed the night before baking day measure out 100 grams of flour into a large bowl. In a separate bowl or cup measure 100ml of warm water and sprinkle over 1/4 teaspoon of active dried yeast. Go brush your teeth and wash your face. When you get back the yeast will have softened in the water. Add it to the flour and mix it all thoroughly. It will be a thick pasty goo. Perfect. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it on the bench. Off to bed.

The yeast has been fermenting overnight packing in extra bready flavour. Add the remaining 400 grams of flour to the bowl and put the salt on top. Use your fingers to mix the salt into the flour on top.

In a bowl or cup measure the remaining 190 mls of water. Dissolve the honey into this water then sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of yeast over the top and leave to get foamy.

Add the yeast liquid to the big bowl. Get your hands in there and mix it all to a firm dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Tip the dough out and knead until smooth and tight. It’s a stiff dough so it will need a bit of working. Try kneading for 2 minutes then taking a break for 5 minutes. Gluten will develop during the resting periods as well and it will cut the work.

Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.

Tip the dough out and gently press out the excess air. Divide into 6 or 8 even sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and leave to rest for 10 minutes. While the balls are resting the gluten will relax a bit and it will be easier to stretch the bagels into rings. Take each ball of dough and poke a hole in the centre with your index finger.

Stretch the hole a little so you can get both index fingers in and use a circular motion to gradually increase the size of the ring. They will be uneven. The beauty of handmade things.

When they have a good sized hole in the middle place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea-towel and leave to rise until they’re about half as big again. We want the yeast to develop air pockets that will expand more when we boil the bagels.

In a large pot bring 2 and a half litres of water and 1/4 cup of honey to a simmer. This very light ‘syrup’ will give the bagels a lovely dark chewy crust when baked. Heat the oven to 220C.

Set out a baking sheet and a small dish with a little bit of polenta in it. Set out a wire rack next to the stove and a shallow bowl with the sesame seeds in it.

We are going to poach the bagels in batches depending on how many can comfortably float in your pot. Slide them gently into the water. Watch for them to float and cook for 1 minute before flipping them gently with a spoon and cooking for a further minute. They should puff up further while poaching.

Lift them out with a slotted spoon and pop them on the wire rack to drain

If there are any large air bubbles in the bagels they will collapse when you take the bagels out of the water. Don’t worry about it. Sesame seeds cover all sins.

After a minute or two carefully pick each bagel up and dip one side in sesame seeds. The surface of the bagels will be sticky and the seeds will adhere.

Turn it back over and dip the bottom in polenta before placing onto the baking sheet. Repeat until all the bagels are on the sheet.

Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is browned and the bagels feel light when you pick them up.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Cook’s Notes:

  • You can use a many or as few sesame seeds as you like. As you can see I like a lot of sesame. If you prefer you can dip the bagels in poppy seeds
  • If you don’t want to do the overnight step, double the yeast to 1 + 1/2 teaspoons and sprinkle it over the whole amount of water to soften. Then mix the liquid into the full amount of flour and proceed as per the rest of the recipe.

 – Bagels are delicious chewy and toasted for a few days – for longer keeping freeze them in an zip lock bag and thaw as needed – 

Adapted from Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman.

© 2017 The Winsome Baker. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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2 thoughts on “Overnight Sesame Bagels

    • Thanks! I found it’s not so bad – the poaching goes pretty quickly and outside of that it just bread roll steps really 😀 and now I have freezer bagels!

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