Skip to content

The Boy wants Bagels

February 16, 2009
tags: ,


I am a firm believer in breakfast.  I wake up to a screaming stomach on a daily basis.  Sometimes, I wake up at like 3am, eat breakfast, and go back to bed.  This makes sense to me.  We sleep for 8 hours each night, of course we are going to be starving when we wake up!  And all the Kellogg and Quaker Oats commercials say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Okay, maybe Kellogg and Quaker just want to sell more disgustingly-shelf-stable-oat-bars, but still.  They’ve got to have a basis for the statement or the government would be out to get them.  Right?

So, I’ve been trying to get my husband to eat breakfast for about 2 decades now.  He says he cannot because he has “morning mouth.”  I’ve never experienced this.  But I know he has it, because I’ve gone through the entire breakfast aisle at the local market trying to find something he’s willing to shove down his throat before 11am.

I’ve tried bananas, toaster strudels, instant breakfast…

I even bought this amazing egg sandwich toaster:

It professes to make an egg McMuffin in 4 minutes flat.  And it’s true!  It certainly is a nifty device.  But does the hubby ever use it for breakfast?  No.  I mean, if he happens to want a egg sammie for dinner, he’s more than happy to use this device, but has he ever wanted an egg sandwich for dinner?  Nope.

SOOO, we were sitting on the couch last night and he said: I need to buy some bagels at the grocery store.

I must admit, ladies, this caught me by surprise for a couple of reasons.  

  1. I cannot remember the last time he went to the grocery store.  And now he wants to swing by and pick up some bagels?
  2. The man doesn’t eat breakfast!

Naturally, I question his motives.  Apparently he’s been eating bagels with cream cheese when his carpool buddy (you know who you are, and I know you’re reading!) stops at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way to work.  He says they aren’t dry and that he can handle this type of breakfast.  Immediately I begin the inquisition: What about that morning mouth you have, honey?  Why don’t you eat those bananas?  How can you eat a bagel when you can’t even drink the instant breakfast?  Remember that EGG TOASTER I BOUGHT YOU!?

And then I cave.  And I make bagels.  Because I love to bake bread in my kitchen and I have the day off my husband and the boy wants bagels.

imgp0688And bagels he shall have!

Bagels (slightly adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, 10 Speed Press, 2001. via Annie’s Eats)

Yield: 6 large bagels



1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

2 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour (NO, you cannot use all purpose flour.  Just go to Dunkin’ Donuts right now and buy your own bagel if you do not have bread flour available to you.  Believe me, I’m saving you from massive disappointment)

1 1/4 water, at room temperature


1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

scant 2 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour

scant 1.5 teaspoons salt

1/2 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)

grand finale:

1 tablespoon baking soda

cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting (:) I used grits) 


1. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in the bowl of your mixer.  Add the water, whisking or stirring until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter).

imgp0641Notice how beautifully my roses from Valentine’s Day are opening the pancake-like batter consistency.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about 2 hours.  The sponge will be foamy.  This should be enough time for you to go to the gym.  And please, do go.  You are going to be a lot of carbs at the end of the day.  

By the way, the sponge should double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped.

2. To make the dough, add the additional yeast to the sponge and mix.  Add the remaining flour (except for 1/2 cup) along with the salt and honey.  Mix on low speed until the ingredients form a ball.  Add 1/2 cup flour as needed to reach the consistency of a stiff dough.

3. Crank the mixer up to a higher speed and knead 5-6 minutes.  The dough will be firm and smooth.

4. Divide the dough into six 4 ½ ounce pieces for standard bagels and shape into rolls.

5. Let the rolls rest while you clean up your mess in the kitchen.  This should take you approximately 20 minutes.  Oh yeah, keep the bagels covered with a damp towel.

imgp0647Bagels in the making!

6. Line a sheet pan parchment and  spray it down with nonstick oil.  Shape the bagels by pushing a hole through the center and stretching out the hole to 2½ inches in diameter.


7. Place each bagel 2 inches apart on the pan.  Spray the tops of each bagel with nonstick oil and cover the pan with plastic wrap (sprayed with nonstick oil).  Keep your hands away from the bagels for the next 20 minutes.  This should be just enough time to assemble tomorrow’s dinner: enchilada casserole.


8. This part is tricky.  The bagels must pass a “float test.”  If they pass, then you can let the bagels sit in the fridge.  If they fail, all your hard work is for naught.  Just kidding. 

  • Fill a small bowl with room-temperature water.
  • Find the nearest clock with a second hand.  Got it?  Ok.  Place a bagel in the bowl and count the seconds it takes for your bagel to float to the top.  It should take 10 seconds or less.
  • If you fail, too bad.  That’s what you get for using all purpose flour.  I told you not to do that.
  • Okay, kidding again, if it takes longer than 10 seconds, your dough needs to proof longer.  Dab that bagel off and stick it back on the sheet pan.  Test again in 20 minutes.
  • It is okay if you fail.  I failed like 4 times before I succeeded.  

9. When you just can’t take it any longer (you may keep your proofed bagels in the fridge for up to 48 hours), preheat the oven to 500° F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven.  Boil a large pot of water and add the baking soda.  Keep a skimmer nearby!  

imgp0666Making bagels is the only use I have found for this wacky spoon.

10. Remove the bagels from the fridge and gently drop them into the water.  Don’t crowd your pot.  Be patient.  After 1 minute flip them over and boil 1 more minute.  If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-line sheet pans with your grits, cornmeal, semolina flour, or sand.  If you want to adorn your bagels with spices and flavors, do so as soon as they come out of the water.  Poppy seeds and sesame seeds are nice.

11. After you’ve boiled all your bagels, place the pan on middle shelves in the oven.  Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pan.  I know, you think your oven is uniform and heats evenly.  But it DOES NOT!  After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450° F and bake for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown.  

12. Let the bagels cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.


Update: And they’re grrrreat toasted, too: imgp0779

11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2009 4:28 pm

    I also have morning mouth I guess is whats it’s called… Maybe homemade bagels will cure it.

  2. Jennyfer permalink
    February 16, 2009 4:35 pm

    I had one of those egg toaster machines and loved it. The stupid thing broke on me about a year after we got married though. Boooooo!!!!

    • brannyboilsover permalink*
      February 16, 2009 4:38 pm

      Our first one broke, too! And so we sent in BACK to back2basics and they sent us a brand-spankin’-new one. We didn’t even have the receipt!

  3. February 16, 2009 4:44 pm

    Ooooh I would totally kill MY BOY if he refused breakfast at home, but was snacking on DD on the way into work! By the way, your bagels look AWESOME! They look perfectly moist and chewy.

  4. February 16, 2009 4:45 pm

    I think it’s funny that those beautiful roses are in all of the photos.

    The bagels are beautiful too!

  5. The Grateful Guinea Pig Husband permalink
    February 16, 2009 6:21 pm

    God, you would think I never give her flowers….. The shot of the flowers with the spoon is hysterical! Ok….off to try these bagels.

  6. February 17, 2009 5:34 pm

    Yay! I’m loving your new blog Branny and have added you to the WC Nestie Blogroll. You’ve inspired me to try making bagels soon!

    • brannyboilsover permalink*
      February 17, 2009 5:48 pm

      Thanks Joelen!


  1. Let’s pretend… « Branny Boils Over
  2. Black Bean and Corn Creamcheladas « Branny Boils Over
  3. Sauerbraten Klopse « Branny Boils Over

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: