Since The Bread Baker's Apprentice came out, I've seen countless recipes on blogs featuring absolutely delicious looking breads. I don't make yeasted breads very often because I just don't have the patience and time to follow the directions exactly, measure exactly, wait the specific amount of time to do each step, etc.
When I saw bagels on many blogs, I admired them, but thought it seemed like a lot of work, and I can get some great bagels from the bakery, and I'm happy to support small, local bakeries. But still, something about making a bagel struck me as so exciting.
For the past week, my parents and sister and brother in law have been on vacation at my house. My sister recently told us she's pregnan (yay!!!) and when we talked about what she was able to eat, she told me lots of plain bagels. I knew this was my opportunity to finally make the bagels! So that's just what I did. They were as much work as I thought they'd be, and they came out very close to what you'd buy from a bagel shop.
from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhardt
For the sponge:
1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast
4 cups (18 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 ½ cups (20 ounces) water, at room temperature
For the dough:
½ teaspoon (.055 ounces) instant yeast
3 ¾ cups (17 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 ¾ teaspoons (.7 ounce) salt
2 teaspoons (.33 ounce) malt powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting
1. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.