Your kids, grandchildren, etc. will enjoy participating in mixing the ingredients, rolling out the dough, shaping into bagels, etc. Of course, the cooking part should be left to the mommy or older sibling only. Wait until they smell them baking!!! They smell and look like authentic bagels!!
The bagels don’t taste potato-y at all! The potato water gives it that chewy texture we love in bagels.
Peel the potato and cut into chunks. Put in a pot and cover with water, making sure that you use at least two cups of water, since some will evaporate with the cooking. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until the potato is soft. Measure out one cup of the water. Put the potatoes aside for lunch! (I usually put up a full pot of potatoes and use them for different things.) Let the cup of potato water cool to lukewarm. Proof the yeast in 1/2 cup of the potato water with one and a half tablespoons of the sugar.
Put the flour into the bowl of the mixer. Add the salt. Stir the yeast mixture into the flour. Add the whole egg, one egg white, remaining 1/2 cup of potato water, remaining sugar, and oil. Mix all together to make a firm dough, adding more flour if necessary. Knead for 8–10 minutes or until the dough springs back when touched. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, coat the top with a small amount of oil (or oil spray) to keep it from drying out, and cover with a towel. (I like to put the bowl into a plastic bag and then cover with a towel). Let the dough rise until it is doubled, about one and a half hours. The dough is ready when you push it down with two fingers and the indentations remain. If they spring back, let it rise a bit longer.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius). Bring three quarts/liters of water to boil in a large pot.
Punch down the dough and knead for two to three minutes. Cut into 14-15 pieces for medium-sized bagels, or 10 pieces for large bagels. Roll each piece into a rope about 7 inches (17 cm) long. Kids enjoy rolling their “snakes” on the counter. Don’t worry about the proper length. This is not the time to be professional! Remember everyone is having fun together! Form each rope into a ring, moistening the ends if necessary, so that they stick when turned into each other. This is important if you want them to maintain the bagel shape. Let the rings stand about 10 minutes on a piece of Gefen Parchment sprayed with oil spray.
Using a slotted spoon, slide each bagel into the pot of boiling water, being careful not to crowd them too much. They will float after a few seconds. Boil for two minutes on each side. Remove the bagels with the slotted spoon and place them on baking sheets, lined with parchment paper and sprayed with oil spray. They will be very slippery. Let them air dry for a few seconds.
Mix the remaining egg yolk with the one teaspoon of water and glaze each bagel with a pastry brush. Dip them into toppings of your choice. (You can put the toppings into small individual plates or even on Gefen Easy Baking Parchment Paper).
Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Cool. Store in plastic bags, as they harden quickly. Remember, we don’t have the chemicals and preservatives that bagel stores have!
Here’s another thing your kids can participate in. Instead of buying different flavors of cream cheese, let them help you make them! Mix any smooth spreadable cheese (5% white cheese) with minced garlic, herbs, veggies, olives, etc. Seasoning suggestions: oregano, basil, dill, parsley, paprika, cayenne pepper, and even a dash of Worcestershire sauce! I often use Herbamare, a salt/herb mix. Don’t forget pizza bagels too! Let your kids’ imaginations go, and let them each suggest a flavor they fancy, and then help them put it together. Below are suggestions that will add pizzazz and color to your Chanukah Bagel Buffet! They’re really good!
When making cheese spreads, if you are using real cream cheese (as opposed to 5% or 9% white cheese), it’s best to leave it at room temperature for a while, so it blends easier and doesn’t become piece-y. Also, adding a little sour cream (even low-fat!) to the spreads gives it a wonderful consistency.