Monday, August 6, 2012

San Francisco-Style Bagels – Taking Things to a Hole New Level

Okay, first things first; there’s no such thing as a “San Francisco-Style Bagel.” This gorgeous city has lots of amazing food traditions, but the bagel isn’t one of them. So, when I accidentally stumbled upon a method for making bagels that were structurally and texturally superior, I decided to take advantage of that fact, and the SF-style bagel was born.

Will it catch on nationally? Highly doubtful, but that’s fine. I’ll settle for a simple wikipedia entry. Thanks to a softer, stickier dough, and an alternative boiling method, these unconventional beauties are thinner, crinklier, and toast up like no other bagel I’ve ever had.

How people can eat un-toasted bagels is one of the great mysteries of the universe. To me, a cold bagel is nothing more than a dense, insipid, donut-shaped roll. What makes the bagel such a wonderful thing is the interplay between the pleasantly chewy inside and the crisp, crunchy outside.

Unfortunately, with traditional bagels, there’s often too much of the former, and not enough of the later. With these, that’s not an issue. We’ve maximized crusty surface area, while eliminating about an inch of bready filler. By the way, in addition to being amazing with all the usual shmears, these flatter, sexier bagels also make a world-class sandwich. I hope you give them a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 8 Bagels (*depending on size)
(Please note: if you use different flours, or yeasts, or boiling methods, or pans, or anything else…I’m not sure what will happen, so you’re on your own)
1 pound bread flour, divided in half
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds as needed
- Boil in about 2 inches of water, seasoned with a rounded tablespoon of salt, and 2 tsp of honey for 2 minutes per side.
- Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake at 400 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes. 

*When the dough is ready to shape, weigh the total batch and divide by 7 or 8, depending on how big you want your bagels. Then weigh each portion out, and you’ll have consistently-sized bagels that will bake evenly.

View the complete recipe