sunday morning bagels.

over the weekend jake and his girlfriend gaby, joey and his fiancee hannah, and josh and i went home for the wedding of a family friend. it was the first time we'd all been together, with my parents, under one roof, and it was sensational. and loud. there was a lot of talking and a lot of laughing and a lot of eating. (oh, and there were dogs, too. my parents' 85 pound lab emmy and jake and gaby's 5 pound something or other mia. cute doesn't begin to describe their friendship.) i know how blessed i am to genuinely like my family. to actually want to spend time with them. to consider them my closest friends. even when they annoy me.

sunday morning i woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep. as i learned on saturday, jake and gaby and joey and hannah are exceptionally good at sleeping late. josh had a couple hours of work ahead of him. my mom probably wouldn't stir for another hour or so. i tiptoed downstairs and found my dad reading the paper and emmy stretched out on the couch. it's funny that a space so filled with life and noise and movement at night can transform into a silent baker's heaven by morning. the dishes had been put away. the counters had been cleared. the timing was perfect. there was nothing for me to do but make bagels.
i made bagels once before on a lazy weekend afternoon when josh was out. i loved everything about the process, from the kneading and the rising to the shaping and the boiling. they came out beautifully and they were delicious. josh and joey agreed, and we're a tough audience for bagels because we have some of the best ones in the world a few blocks in any direction. i couldn't remember what recipe i used the first time, so i chose this one because it looked simple and quick enough. also it would produce eight bagels. and there were eight of us (not counting the dogs).
fist bagel experiment.
ingredients for the bagels:
kneaded dough
1 packet dry active yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/3 cups warm water
3 1/2-4 cups flour (i used all purpose)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt

1 tsp baking soda

ingredients for "everything":

poppy seeds
sesame seeds
dried onion flakes
dried garlic flakes
sea salt

to make the bagels:
1. combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. slowly add the water and either start mixing either with a fork or the lowest setting on a stand mixer. when it comes together, start kneading with your hands or pick up the speed of the stand mixer for about ten minutes. i know, it's exhausting. but it'll be worth it. when it's smooth and not sticky, spray a large bowl with non-stick spray or spread some oil around it and put the dough in it, then cover it with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let it rise for an hour to an hour-and-a-half.
2. when the dough has risen, gently turn it out onto a counter dusted with flour and let it rest while you preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and bring a big pot of water to boil. when the water starts boiling, reduce it to a simmer and add the teaspoon of baking soda.
3. divide the dough into eight even pieces and form each piece into a ball. use your finger to press a hole through the center of each ball and stretch the whole so it's about 1/4 the diameter of the ball. cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and let the bagels rest, covered in plastic wrap or a tea towel, for another 10 minutes.
4. while they're resting, prepare your toppings. you can make plain bagels or any combination of toppings you'd like. use as much or as little as you'd like, depending on your preference. i like my bagels really covered in "everything" so i mixed heaping tablespoons of the seeds, garlic, and salt on a plate.
5. slowly lower the bagels into the uncovered, simmering water two or three at a time. flip them after a minute and then let them float in the water for another minute. and yes, they should float. remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and rest them on paper towels before transferring them back to the parchment lined cookie sheets.
6. dip your bagels on your "everything" plate and cover as much as you want. i left one plain and covered one in only sesame seeds because that's what my mom likes. i also made two into flagels, or flat bagels, because my mom and hannah prefer those to big, puffy bagels. i don't have any idea why.
7. bake the bagels for 20-25 minutes, or until they're golden brown on top and look scrumptious. i left my mom's bagel in for a couple extra minutes cause she likes them nice and dark.

they're best eaten fresh, and i'd recommend toasting them if you eat them after the day they're made. and they're great with all kinds of spreads, like butter or cream cheese.

by the time the bagels were done everyone was awake, hungry, and making noise in the kitchen. 
we were really lucky. we got to eat them with my mom's perfect tuna salad. 


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