Although bagels are identified with the cultures of New York City and Montreal, the truth is that the bagel originated in Eastern Europe. The Jewish bakers in the shtetls, primarily in Poland, all had their own methods of bagel-making, and when they emigrated from Eastern Europe to Montreal or new York City, they brought their signature styles of bagels with them.
Yields 1 dozen
In a measuring cup, mix together the water, yeast, and honey and pour into the mixing bowl of a Kitchen Aid or equivelant that has a dough hook.
Stir in the whole eggs and oil. Mix well.
Add the flour and salt, and mix until the dough forms a soft, flexible dough, about six to nine minutes. If the dough seems too wet, add a bit more flour. Once mixed properly, no dough will stick to the walls of the mixing bowl.
When the dough is smooth and elastic, place it on a lightly floured work space and divide into three- and- a- half-ounce portions. Allow the portions to rest for about 20 minutes on the counter with a plastic wrap covering.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a pizza stone.
Shape the portions into bagels by rolling each piece to an eight-inch coil. Fold the ends over each other, pressing with the palm of one hand and rolling back and forth until two ends unite into one. Make sure this connects the ends together properly or the bagels will open while boiling them. Let the bagels rise for 30 minutes on a sheet tray sprayed with non-stick spray.
Put the topping mix in a bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring the four quarts of water and 1/3 cup of honey to a boil in a pot big enough to fit three or four bagels. When the water comes to a boil, add one tablespoon of baking soda. Expect a bubbling or fizzing effect.
While the water is boiling, add three bagels to the water with a wire spider. Boil for 40 seconds and flip each one to their opposite side. Boil for another 40 seconds and remove from the water.
Sprinkle both sides of the boiled bagels with the seed mixture and immediately place on the stone in the oven. Spray once with water and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the bagels develop a golden-brown color.
Recipe excerpted from A Kabbalah of Food: Stories, Teachings, Recipes (Monkfish, 2020). Photography by Schneur Menaker, Food Styling by: Andrea Lubrano-Goldstein.