|Barbara is the owner of Jade Luna Home Made Ice Cream, downtown main street, and sells a wide variety of homemade delicacies at the Friday Matapalo farmer’s market at Martina’s Bar. Contact her directly firstname.lastname@example.org|
SOCIEDAD Y CULTURA
If you Grew up in New York like I did, you know that Sunday mornings were marked not only by a weekly visit to church, but by picking up a dozen still warm heavenly-smelling bagels from the bagel shop on the way home. Bagels date back to the 17th century where they were widely consumed by the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. They are traditionally hand shaped into the form of a ring from yeasted wheat dough, which is first boiled and then baked. The result is a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a smooth brown durable exterior. Bagels were a staple of my teenage diet, and once a bagel lover always a bagel lover. So what do you do when you move to a Latin American country where tortilla is king and bagels are virtually unheard of? Why make your own of course! Well, it’s actually easier said than done, and for that reason bagel baking is a rainy season endeavor when time and temperature are in my favor. And as my daughter is quick to remind me, MOM, its time to make Bagels!
1 tbsp. instant yeast
4-5 cups bread or high gluten flour (regular will also work) plus more for kneading
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar (tapa dulce)
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
1 egg yolk (reserve the white for glazing)
4 quarts water
4 tbsp. brown sugar (tapa dulce)
Sesame, flax, chia, poppy, sunflower seeds, dried onion, garlic or bacon bits
The dough is easier to make if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook. If not you can also make it by hand. Wisk the water, sugar, salt, yeast, and egg yolk in the mixer bowl. Add the flour and knead on low speed for 10 minutes. What you are doing with the kneading is developing the gluten which will enhance the consistency of the bagel, so be sure to knead thoroughly. The dough should be quite stiff, hold its shape, and “thwap” the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too soft or sticky just gradually add more flour. For the bagels to keep their shape and not flatten the dough needs to be very stiff. When the dough is ready tip it out onto a well-floured work surface, cover with a towel and let rise for 1 hour (in Costa Rica’s hot climate half an hour will do). Divide the dough into 8 pieces using a knife or bench scraper and knead each piece into a ball. During this step knead more flour into each ball. Let the balls rise for 15-30 minutes then poke your finger through the center of each ball and twirl the dough around two fingers to enlarge the hole and form the bagel shape. Let rise another 15-30 minutes or until puffy but not over risen, all the while keeping the work surface well floured so the dough does not stick. Meanwhile have your water bath ready and simmering in a wide shallow pot, a folded towel, a greased or parchment lined baking sheet, your toppings and egg glaze ready, and your oven pre-heated to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees C).
Boil the bagels for 1 ½ minutes on each side and remove with a slotted spoon. Briefly drain on a towel by tilting the slotted spoon and slide the bagel onto the baking sheet. When the sheet is full, whisk the egg white with a fork and brush the tops of the bagels with the egg white using a pastry brush or new paint brush, then sprinkle with your choice of toppings. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the bagels are golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes, slice with a bread knife, and enjoy slathered with cream cheese or butter. L’Chayim!