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Bagel, bagel, bagel

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Daikon View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 May 2012 at 13:59
I found a nice piece in the Morning News on bagels, their history, regional variations, and also this attempt to start an international bagel battle:

As a rule, New York bagels are salty and boiled in an alkaline water (made so through the addition of baking soda or lye). Montreal bagels are a little sweeter, boiled in a honey water, and smaller, too. Ed Levine, founder of the Serious Eats blog and the champion of New York bagels, suggests that the perfect bagel is 4 oz. Saul Restrepo, a baker at the famous St. Viateur bagel house in Montreal, counters that 3 oz. is just right. Some New York bagels are made with eggs, as are the noted Montreal bagels, so this comes out as a draw—though it should be noted that traditionally bagels and egg bagels have been distinct entities.

I called the best person I could think of to weigh in on the argument. Essayist Adam Gopnik spent much of his youth in Montreal and much of his adult life in the shining metropolis of New York, and he told me that there was no question as to the winner of a New York-Montreal bagel battle. “I have few fixed convictions in life, but one of them is that Montreal bagels are not just better than New York bagels or any other bagels, they’re so much better that I’m on kind of permanent house arrest about eating any other kind of bagel—I just can’t eat a New York bagel. If you toast it and there’s enough cream cheese and nova on it, it’s tolerable, but it just isn’t a bagel.”

Consider the gauntlet thrown.



The piece ends with this recipe:

A Recipe for Homemade Bagels
7¼ cups (900 grams) all purpose white flour
¾ cup (100 grams) whole wheat flour
2¾ cups (600 grams) water, divided
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (25 grams) light cooking oil
1 heaping tablespoon (20 grams) salt
1 packet (7 grams) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon (9 grams) molasses
2 tablespoons (25 grams) brown sugar
Seeds for dressing
A large stock pot
  1. Mix all of the flour, salt, oil and 2¼ cups (490 grams) room temperature water in a large bowl (it will look dry and crumbly) and set aside.
  2. Combine yeast, molasses, and ½ cup (110 grams) water (warm) in a small bowl and set aside until the yeast wakes up and starts bubbling (5-10 minutes).
  3. Add yeast mixture to the dough and mix until everything starts coming together. It will start out a dry mess, but with kneading you should get a tacky ball. Adding minimal flour to keep the dough from sticking to the table, knead vigorously for 5-7 minutes, thinking meanwhile about the bakers of yore who had to mix big doughs so tough that it was common for them to use their feet. Take your finished ball of dough, put it in an oiled bowl, cover it, and leave it somewhere cool (the fridge, an unheated porch) overnight, or for eight hours if you’re doing things backward.
  4. Take your dough out, and let it come back to room temperature. If you have a gas oven with a pilot light you can leave it in there for an hour or so. Alternately, you can place it in any cool oven with a bowl of boiling water. When the dough is warm, turn it out onto a floured board.
  5. Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C) and put a wide pot of water to boil on the stove. At home I use around 2 gallons (8 liters) of water in a 9.5-quart (9-liter) pot.
  6. Divide your dough into 12 to 18 balls, depending on how big you want your bagels. For each, 3 ounces (85 grams) gets you around 18, and 4.5 ounces (130 grams) will make you a dozen, give or take. Remember that the size of the bagel will affect the crust to crumb ratio—if you like big bagels, make them big, but try a few smaller ones too.
  7. You have two choices here. You could flatten each piece, roll it out a little, poke a hole in the center, and stretch it out. Or you could shape your bagels the right way: Roll out a snake, leaving the ends a little fatter than the middle, wrap the snake around your dominant hand, with the ends just overlapping under your palm, and roll it together. Good, now try to do that 30 times a minute. (I can’t.)
  8. When your pot has reached a rolling boil, add the brown sugar and toss your bagels in. If the gluten has tightened up your rings (which it should have) stretch them out a little before you drop them. The right way to do this is to hold a ring by its weakest point and slap it lightly against the table in a small, wrist-driven “wi-cht” kind of motion. Boiled bagels should come out of the pot when they A) have floated to the surface; and B) feel a little slimy, kind of like a very hot fish. In my pot I boil bagels four at a time for about 30-45 seconds.
  9. You can dress them immediately or wait for them to cool a little, but don’t let them dry completely. The easiest way is to fill a bowl with as many seeds as you think you’ll need, and flip your bagels in, over, and out. Use sesame and poppy, if you want to honor tradition, or anything else if you are a Philistine.
  10. Put your dressed or plain bagels on dry trays (you shouldn’t need to dust the tray with anything, as long as you let your bagels cool for a minute or two after they come out of the boiling kettle) and bake them until they start to turn golden, which should be just under 25 minutes.
  11. Eat them while they’re hot.
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AK1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 May 2012 at 22:02
I agree with Adam GopnikThumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 May 2012 at 04:04
Puleeeze!
 
New York defines bagels.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 May 2012 at 04:11
So, two martians land on a secret trade exploration mission. They agree to separate and meet back at the ship in a couple of hours to compare notes.
 
The one martian heads into town and walks into an old-fashioned deli. The kind where salamis and bagels hang from the ceiling.
 
Pointing to the bagels he asks, "what are those little wheels." The deli man responds, they aren't wheels, they're bagels."
 
"What's bagels?" the martian asks.
"Here," says the deli guy, "try one."
 
The martian carefully breaks off a piece, puts it in his mouth, and chews. His eyes light up, and he gets a glow to his smiling face.
 
"Gimme a batch of them," he says.
"They don't come in batches," says the deli man. "They come in dozens."
"So, okay. Give me a dozens!"
 
The martian returns to the spaceship where his partner waits, unsuccessful in his quest. He asks the first one how he did.
 
Handing one to his partner the first martian explains that they're called bagels, and he should taste one.
 
The second martian breaks off a piece and chews it thoughtfully. Breaks off another piece, which follows the first. He stares off into the distance for a few minutes, and says:
 
"You know what? These would go great with lox and cream cheese!"
 
Ba dump bump.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Daikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 May 2012 at 04:24
Here's a bit of bagel advice: If you find yourself at a party where bagels are on the buffet, never mistake the smoked salmon cream cheese for strawberry cream cheese and try to feed it to a four year-old.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 May 2012 at 09:24
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

Puleeeze!
 
New York defines bagels.
You're right! But Montreal just makes them properlyTongue
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