Almost-Everything Bagels

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I do miss New York bagels.

That being said, I decided to try Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe for Everything Bagels. I am missing one ingredient: poppy seeds, which I could not find in Bangkok, even at the upscale gourmet markets. So I substituted black sesame seeds instead, hence the name “almost-everything bagels.” The bagels turned out chewy but not as dense as a New York bagel. But they will do when I have a yearning for an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese.

Almost Everything Bagels (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Bagel Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water (100˚F)
2 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups (480g) bread flour
1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar (I used white sugar because I ran out of brown sugar)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon oil to coat the bowl

Water bath
2 quarts water
1/4 cup honey

Almost Everything Bagel Topping
2 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
1/2-1 tablespoon coarse salt, like Maldonado’s sea salt flakes
Egg wash: 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Prepare the dough:

Put yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Pour the warm water on top. Lightly whisk together. Loosely cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes until the surface becomes frothy.

To the yeast mixture, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Fit the dough hook on the stand mixer. Beat flour mixture on Speed 1 for 2 minutes. Sally writes the dough will be stiff and may look dry.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough 4-5 minutes. Form into a ball. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

Grease bottom and sides of a large bowl (I used the mixing bowl) with a tablespoon oil. Put the dough ball in the bowl, turning to coat evenly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Drape a kitchen towel over the top. Let stand at room temperature 60-90 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Shape the dough:

When the dough is ready, punch down the dough to release air bubbles. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough in half, then cut each piece in half again until you get 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Using your thumbs, poke a hole in the center of the ball and turn the bagel in your hands to smooth and shape it. Loosely cover the bagels with a kitchen towel while you prepare the water bath.

Preheat oven 425˚F/218˚C.

Heat to boiling 2 quarts of water. Stir in the honey until it dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high. Pick up each bagel carefully then gently slip into the water 2 to 4 at a time, making sure the bagels have enough room. Cook 1 minute then turn over the bagels and cook for another minute on the second side. Use a spider to remove the bagels from the water bath to a tray lined with parchment. Let cool slightly or until just cool enough to handle.

Baking the bagels:

Make the almost-everything bagel seasoning in a medium bowl. Brush the top and sides of the bagel with the egg wash and dip the brushed tops and sides in the seasoning. Place each bagel, topping side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through baking. Remove the bagels from oven and cool in the pan 15 minutes, then place each bagel on a wire rack to cool completely.

Serving the bagels:

Split the bagel in half horizontally. Lightly toast and butter each half, or make a spread of cream cheese and scallion. Yum.

Review: BKK Bagel Bakery, Maneeya Center, Ploenchit, Bangkok

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Now this is a deli! Not quite a New York deli but not pretending to be one either–though there was a big poster of the Brooklyn Bridge just to establish its credentials.

Like a typical NY deli, it had the menu on a blackboard. There was the refrigerated case with pastries and cakes inside; I was disappointed not to see a display of meats, spreads, olives, capers, and pickles.  But, there in the case on top of the pastries,  preciously stacked and labeled, The Bagels, our raison d’être. Just what we came into the bakery to nosh! There was a selection of rye, cinnamon, wheat, plain, onion, sea salt, everything, sesame and poppy seed. But no raisin. I guess I can’t have everything.

Of course, we had to order the lox and cream cheese on an everything bagel. It came to the table, offered itself up to us innocently and openly, with capers, onions, a sprinkling of fresh dill on top of slivers of salmon, and a tiny piece of lemon on the side. It should have been a quarter.  The bagel had been warmed, it was chewy, just the way I like it, but not as fat as the ones we used to get in New York.

This was not Broadway’s Absolute Bagel, where the bagel comes to you in a paper bag by the end of the line. This is a Bangkok-style bakery after all; it has a little class. Our bagels were brought to us on a plain white ceramic plate by a wait-person. And there is silverware at the table, not plastic.

After the bagel, we tried the deep dish apple pie. It was tart with a sugar crust, but then, apple pies are not unusual here. A good bagel, though, is worth the hunt. For that privilege, we did pay New York prices. The bagels we ordered were US$7.00 each, and the apple pie was $4.00. But for a bagel fix, I’d go back there again.