There Are Bagels At Hand

Montreal-Style Bagels

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…with cream cheese and lox.
…with fresh butter and kosher salt.
…with avocado, lime and manchego.
…with a fried egg and arugula.
…with melted cheddar and a few drops of Worcestershire…

…but that’s just me. What do you take on your bagel? I sooner ask that than what type of bagel you prefer to maw on since that’s a conversation that could turn allies into foes and leave families across the continent irreparably broken. This may sound a touch dramatic to you, but for so many people I’ve come across, specifically those who live or have lived in Montreal, there are only two answers to this question. Fairmont or St Viateur. And the rivalry runs deep. Residents of Montreal take immeasurable pride in their bagels. So what could make one so different than the other, you might be thinking. The difference, really, is that the Fairmont bagel (or bay-gal, if you’d like to say it in the mother tongue), is a touch sweeter, making the rivalry sound like much ado about nothing. What it really comes down to is loyalty. Both locations are but a few blocks from each other so going to one rather than the other is less out of convenience, more out of devotion.

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Admittedly, I’ve never had a Montreal bay-gal fresh from the wood oven. {I’ll wait for the collective gasps to die down}. I have, however, enjoyed them at our local Montreal-style bagel shop, Kettleman’s. I know the ecstasy only a piping hot, freshly baked bagel covered in toasty sesame seeds can bring. And thus, I decided it was time to learn. To go where many (wo)men have gone before, but a place that scared the bejesus out of me. Which is funny now that I’ve made 3 batches and am shocked at the ease with which these beauties can be made. You’re a measly 2 hours away from homemade bagels. MONTREAL-STYLE BAGELS! Let’s not even bother wasting more time talking. There are bagels at hand.

Montreal Style Bagels
adapted from My Second Breakfast & NYTimes {MARCY GOLDMAN-POSLUNS}
makes 18 bagels

Ok, so obviously I don’t have a wood oven in my rental apartment. I’m sure you’re shocked. Though these won’t ever be exactly the same without that deep, smoky flavour…this is as good as it gets for a home-bagel. Unless you decide to use a barbecue or have a wood oven. In which case, you’re pretty awesome. 

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 tsp (8oz, 1 packet) dry active yeast
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp salt
3 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, divided

for boiling:
1/3 cup honey1 cup sesame seeds

Stir the warm water and yeast together in a small bowl. Let sit until frothy, 5-7 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, salt, oil, and honey and egg + yolk. Stir 1 cup of flour in until full incorporated. Add another 3 cups and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Dump bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding up to another 1/2 cup of flour if needed, for no less than 10 minutes. The dough should be extremely supple and smooth. Cover with an inverted bowl and let rise for 20 minutes.

Divide dough into 18 equal portions. Stretch or gently roll, using finger tips, each portion of dough into an 8 inch rope and bring the ends together to form a circle. Pinch the ends together and then roll gently with the heal of your hand to seal. It’s important the ends are well secured otherwise they’ll open when boiling. Place bagels on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and cover with a clean towel for 20 minutes.

Pour the sesame seeds into a large shallow dish.

While the bagels rise, bring 16 cups of water to a boil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the honey and turn down to a simmer. When ready, add the bagels 2 at a time to the simmering water. Let cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove with a deep-fryer spoon or slotted spatula/spoon, drag through the sesame seeds on both sides and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat with all bagels.Preheat oven to 500. Place 1 sheet of bagels in for 10-12 minutes or until starting to brown on the bottom. Flip bagels and cook for another 5-8 minutes, watching closely after 5 minutes so they don’t over cook. They should be golden brown. Serve warm with cream cheese, lox, tomatoes & bacon, or anything else your heart desires.

Keep in airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.

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