Manhattan, the center of New York’s finest bagel shops. When Jim and I go, we know that we are going to fill up on fresh bagels every day that we are there. We love them! My favorite New York bagel is an onion bagel with cream cheese and lox. You just can’t go wrong with that. So on our last trip to the Big Apple, we were determined to find out how to bake these delicious bread rings. We signed up for a cooking lesson at the International Culinary Center on Broadway.
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Unlike all the other classes we’ve taken that are geared mainly for tourists, the ICC is a full on cooking school so they are very particular about what you wear and how you do things. We were sent an email stating that we had to wear long pants and long sleeves in the kitchen. We were traveling in the summer, we didn’t have any long sleeve shirts, so the day before along with going to the 9/11 Memorial, we went clothes shopping, and if you know me, you know this is not something I would normally do. As soon as we checked in, we were given our apron and headband to wear as well.
We were the only tourists taking the class. The were about 10-12 people total, and each had a story, but none were from further than Connecticut taking the train in (one of my favorite things to do by the way). Most of the students were amateurs, and all but a few had been there many, many times taking all the classes they could. One guy had just moved his young family to the city, and they were broke. In order to get hired at one of the bagel shops, he had to take the course. Like always, it was an interesting group of folks, and I think that’s part of the fun of taking the classes is getting to know everyone’s back stories. Like Jim and me, though, many just loved learning and cooking and love taking cooking classes.
Getting started, the instructor’s overview let us know that a good bagel requires overnight proving (rising of the dough), so we would make our dough to learn how, but use a dough made by ICC students for the actual bagels we baked.
The instructor and her assistant were very busy making sure they demonstrated, answered questions, ran the ovens, and doing whatever was needed. It was a pretty fast-paced, really fun experience, and I’m glad that I took the class.
Jim and I, as baking partners, had shaping and boiling of the bagels. His always turns out nicer than mine. Most of mine were stubby and fat after baking and his looked like, well, bagels. Darn it! We also loved thinking up what kinds of toppings we wanted. We tried just about everything there was available. As travelers the hardest thing was that we ended up with a lot of bagels at the end that we knew there was no way we would ever eat, so we gave most of ours to people who were bringing them to their schools and offices.
The New York Bagel Recipe
Courtesy of ICC, and it makes one dozen bagels that area about four inches round.
910 g ( or 5 ½ c) high-gluten or bread flour
470 g ( or 2 c) of lukewarm water
50 g (or 3 Tbsp) sugar
40 g (or 2 Tbsp) malt
8 g (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
20 g of 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
cinnamon and sugar mix
*really anything you can imagine
- Combine the first set of ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Mix for about five minutes on medium.
- Add the salt, then mix for another seven minutes. The dough should be dense and tough. You don’t want a smooth dough.
- Divide the dough into logs (or “bâtard” in French) weighing 125 grams each. Set each aside until you end up with 12 portions. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. It is important to always work in the same direction, so that you portion the first piece and then roll that same piece first, so be systematic from the beginning. Let the logs sit for 15 minutes.
- Shaping into bagel rings, take a piece of dough and place it in front of you horizontally. Place your fingertips (right next to each other) in the middle of the dough and roll outwards, evenly, forming a ten-inch rope. Place your hand, palm side up over the middle of the rope. Place both ends (overlapping) into your palm, squeeze the last two inches together to seal.
- Place the shaped bagels on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate the bagels overnight, no longer.
- The next day, preheat oven to 475 degrees F or 218 degrees C, and bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Drop a couple of bagels in the boiling water, flip after three seconds, and then take out after six seconds. Before placing on baking sheet again, dredge in your topping of choice.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes; cool on rack.
Baked bagels can be stored at room temperature for 2 days or if you freeze them up to 2 months.
Don’t you just love a New York bagel? Have you ever made them? Any tips?
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