Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Bagels
as seen on Smitten Kitchen
- Day One: For the sponge – stir the yeast into the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand). Add water and stir until just combined – mixture should form a sticky batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours. Mixture should swell to nearly double in size, and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.
- For the dough – Add the additional 1 tsp yeast and molasses to the sponge and stir. In a separate bowl, stir together 3 c of flour, sugar, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sponge and mix on low with the dough hook attachment. Mix until the dough forms a ball, then slowly add in the remaining ¾ c of flour.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for at least 10 minutes, adding a teeny bit of flour if the dough is still sticky. The kneaded dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should read 71-77°F, and feel satiny and pliable but not tacky.
- Immediately divide the dough into into equal-sized portions (3.75 oz for regular size bagel, 2 oz for mini bagels.) Form into rolls. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for about 20 minutes.
- Line 2 sheet pans (or more) with parchment paper and mist lightly with non-stick spray. Poke a hole into each ball of dough and gently widen it to form an even ring. Place each shaped piece 2-inches apart on the baking sheets. Mist lightly with the non-stick spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator. To do this, fill a small bowl with cool or room temperature water. If the bagels float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water then they are ready. Test with one bagel. If it floats, immediately pat it dry and return it to the pan. Cover the pat, and place in the refrigerator overnight. Bagels can stay chilled for up to 2 days. If the test bagel does not float, pat it dry, return it to the pan, cover, and continue proofing the dough. Check every 10-20 minutes to see if the bagel passes the float test.
- Day 2: Preheat oven to 500°F with two racks set in the middle of the oven. Beat the egg white and water in a small bowl. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer ready.
- Remove bagels from refrigerator and gently drop them into the water. Only add as many bagels as can comfortably fit. They should float within 10 seconds. Cook for 1 minute, flip, and cook for 1 minute more. While bagels are boiling, sprinkle some cornmeal or semolina flour onto the same parchment-lined baking sheets. If you replace the parchment paper, spray lightly with nonstick-spray before sprinkling the dry ingredients.
- Remove bagels from water to prepared pans. Brush the tops with the egg white wash, and sprinkle with the everything topping. Place bagels in oven, and bake for about 5 minutes. Rotate pans from top to bottom, and from front to back (180 degree turn). If you are only baking 1 pan, still rotate the 180 degrees. Lower oven to 450 and continue baking for another 5 minutes, or until light golden brown.
- Remove pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.