Sunday, August 14, 1994 6:13:01 AM Item
  From: ,interNet
  Subject:        VEGAN: Jewish Purist's Bagels
  To:   ,interNet
This is a recipe by my friend Johanne Blank.  She has 
a wonderful array of 
foolproof recipes, of which this is one of the greatest 
ever.  It is 
vegetarian, and can be made vegan if you omit the egg 
wash and use sugar 
instead of honey for the dough.

 		    Johanne's Foolproof Recipes presents
                   Real, honest, Jewish (Lower East 
        	       P U R I S T ' S   B A G E L S
	Gentle reader, it is assumed that you know from bagels. 
 The bagel, in 
its peripateic history, has moved from the shtetls of 
Eastern Europe to the 
delis of the United States, survived the onslaught of 
many a foreign 
formulation and flavoring, and also has managed to remain 
relatively dignified 
in the face of mass-production, freezing and other procedural 
adulterations and 
bastardizations.  In the United States, however, most 
people's idea of a bagel 
seems to be of a vaguely squishy unsweetened doughnut, 
possibly with some sort 
of godawful flavoring mixed into it (with the "blueberry 
bagel" being perhaps 
the most offensive), generally purchased in lots of 
six in some supermarket... 
possibly even frozen.  These are not those bagels.
	These bagels are the genuine article.  These are the 
bagels that have 
sustained generations of Eastern European Jewish peasants, 
the bagels that 
babies can teethe upon (folk wisdom has it that the 
hard, chewy crust 
encourages strong teeth), the bagels about which writer 
and humorist Alice Kahn 
has so aptly written that bagels are "Jewish courage."
	This recipe makes approximately fifteen large bagels, 
 The bagels are 
made without eggs, milk or any type of shortening or 
oil, which makes them 
pareve according to Kosher law.  These bagels are plain, 
but I will provide 
suggestions as to how you may customize them to your 
tastes while retaining 
their Pristine and Ineffable Nature.  May you bake them 
and eat them in good 


6-8 cups bread (high-gluten) flour
4 tablespoons dry baking yeast
6 tablespoons granulated white sugar or light honey 
(clover honey is good)
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups hot water
a bit of vegetable oil
1 gallon water
3-5 tablespoons malt syrup or sugar
a few handfuls of cornmeal


large mixing bowl
wire whisk
measuring cups and spoons
wooden mixing spoon
butter knife or baker's dough blade
clean, dry surface for kneading
3 clean, dry kitchen towels
warm, but not hot, place to set dough to rise
large stockpot
slotted spoon
2 baking sheets


	First, pour three cups of hot water into the mixing 
bowl.  The water 
should be hot, but not so hot that you can't bear to 
put your fingers in it for 
several seconds at a time.  Add the sugar or honey and 
stir it with your fingers
(a good way to make sure the water is not too hot) or 
with a wire whisk to 
dissolve.  Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the 
water, and stir to 
	Wait about ten minutes for the yeast to begin to revive 
and grow.  This 
is known as "proofing" the yeast, which simply 
means that you're checking to 
make sure your yeast is viable.  Skipping this step 
could result in your trying 
to make bagels with dead yeast, which results in bagels 
so hard and potentially 
dangerous that they are banned under the terms of the 
Geneva Convention.  You 
will know that the yeast is okay if it begins to foam 
and exude a sweetish, 
slightly beery smell.
	At this point, add about three cups of flour as well 
as the 2 tsp of 
salt to the water and yeast and begin mixing it in. 
 Some people subscribe to
the theory that it is easier to tell what's going on 
with the dough if you use 
your hands rather than a spoon to mix things into the 
dough, but others prefer 
the less physically direct spoon.  As an advocate of 
the bare-knuckles school 
of baking, I proffer the following advice: clip your 
fingernails, take off your 
rings and wristwatch, and wash your hands thoroughly 
to the elbows, like a 
surgeon.  Then you may dive into the dough with impunity. 
 I generally use my 
right hand to mix, so that my left is free to add flour 
and other ingredients 
and to hold the bowl steady.  Left-handed people might 
find that the reverse 
works better for them.  Having one hand clean and free 
to perform various tasks 
works best.
	When you have incorporated the first three cups of 
lour, the dough 
should begin to become thick-ish.  Add more flour, a 
half-cup or so at a time, 
and mix each addition thoroughly before adding more 
flour.  As the dough gets 
thicker, add less and less flour at a time.  Soon you 
will begin to knead it by 
hand (if you're using your hands to mix the dough in 
the first place, this 
segue is hardly noticeable).  If you have a big enough 
and shallow enough bowl, 
use it as the kneading bowl, otherwise use that clean, 
dry, flat countertop or 
tabletop mentioned in the "Equipment" list 
above.  Sprinkle your work surface 
or bowl with a handful of flour, put your dough on top, 
and start kneading.  
Add bits of flour if necessary to keep the dough from 
sticking (to your hands, 
to the bowl or countertop, etc....).  Soon you should 
have a nice stiff dough.  
It will be quite elastic, but heavy and stiffer than 
a normal bread dough.  Do 
not make it too dry, however... it should still give 
easily and stretch easily 
without tearing.
	Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover 
with one of your 
clean kitchen towels, dampened somewhat by getting it 
wet and then wringing it 
out thoroughly.  If you swish the dough around in the 
bowl, you can get the 
whole ball of dough covered with a very thin film of 
oil, which will keep it 
from drying out.
	Place the bowl with the dough in it in a dry, warm 
(but not hot) place, 
free from drafts.  Allow it to rise until doubled in 
volume.  Some people try 
to accelerate rising by putting the dough in the oven, 
where the pilot lights 
keep the temperature slightly elevated.  If it's cold 
in your kitchen, you can 
try this, but remember to leave the oven door open or 
it may become too hot and 
begin to kill the yeast and cook the dough.  An ambient 
temperature of about 80 
degrees Farenheit (25 centigrades) is ideal for rising 
	While the dough is rising, fill your stockpot with 
about a gallon of 
water and set it on the fire to boil.  When it reaches 
a boil, add the malt 
syrup or sugar and reduce the heat so that the water 
just barely simmers; the 
surface of the water should hardly move.
	Once the dough has risen, turn it onto your work surface, 
punch it 
down, and divide immediately into as many hunks as you 
want to make bagels.  
For this recipe, you will probably end up with about 
15 bagels, so you will 
divide the dough into 15 roughly even-sized hunks.  
Begin forming the bagels.  
There are two schools of thought on this.  One method 
of bagel formation 
involves shaping the dough into a rough sphere, then 
poking a hole through the 
middle with a finger and then pulling at the dough around 
the hole to make the 
bagel.  This is the hole-centric method.  The dough-centric 
method involves 
making a long cylindrical "snake" of dough 
and wrapping it around your hand 
into a loop and mashing the ends together.  Whatever 
you like to do is fine.  
DO NOT, however, give in to the temptation of using 
a doughnut or cookie cutter 
to shape your bagels.  This will pusht them out of the 
realm of Jewish Bagel 
Authenticity and give them a distinctly Protestant air. 
 The bagels will not be 
perfectly shaped.  They will not be symmetrical.  This 
is normal.  This is 
okay.  Enjoy the diversity.  Just like snowflakes, no 
two genuine bagels are 
exactly alike.
	Begin to preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
	Once the bagels are formed, let them sit for about 
10 minutes.  They 
will begin to rise slightly.  Ideally, they will rise 
by about one-fourth 
volume... a technique called "half-proofing" 
the dough.  At the end of the 
half-proofing, drop the bagels into the simmering water 
one by one.  You don't 
want to crowd them, and so there should only be two 
or three bagels simmering 
at any given time.  The bagels should sink first, then 
gracefully float to the 
top of the simmering water.  If they float, it's not 
a big deal, but it does 
mean that you'll have a somewhat more bready (and less 
bagely) texture.  Let 
the bagel simmer for about three minutes, then turn 
them over with a skimmer or 
a slotted spoon.  Simmer another three minutes, and 
then lift the bagels out of 
the water and set them on a clean kitchen towel that 
has been spread on the 
countertop for this purpose.  The bagels should be pretty 
and shiny, thanks to 
the malt syrup or sugar in the boiling water.  
	Once all the bagels have been boiled, prepare your 
baking sheets by 
sprinkling them with cornmeal.  Then arrange the bagels 
on the prepared baking 
sheets and put them in the oven.  Let them bake for 
about 25 mintues, then 
remove from the oven, turn them over and put them back 
in the oven to finish 
baking for about ten minutes more.  This will help to 
prevent flat-bottomed 
	Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks, or on 
a dry clean towels 
if you have no racks.  Do not attempt to cut them until 
they are cool... hot 
bagels slice abominably and you'll end up with a wadded 
mass of bagel pulp.  
Don't do it.  
	Serve with good cream cheese.

TO CUSTOMIZE BAGELS: After boiling but before baking, 
brush the bagels with a 
wash made of 1 egg white and 3 tablespoons ice water 
beaten together.  Sprinkle 
with the topping of your choice: poppy, sesame, or caraway 
seeds, toasted onion 
or raw garlic bits, salt or whatever you like.  Just 
remember that bagels are 
essentially a savory baked good, not a sweet one, and 
so things like fruit and 
sweet spices are really rather out of place.  


I hope you can understand this recipe.  I am in the 
process of making a batch 
right now.  They are delicious and very authentic.  
I lived in New York (Bagel 
heaven, Hell for everything else except opera) and I 
must say that now that I 
have Johanne's recipe, I have no reason to go back there...
Carolina Rodriguez					VOICE: (812) 339-4023
Indiana University

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