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Kosher Bagels

The History of the Bagel

There is some debate amongst historians about the origin of bagels. There are numerous etiologies of the word bagel. In Yiddish, it was beygel, from the Middle High German bouc and Old High German boug, both meaning a ring or bracelet. Another possibly origin is from the German word bügel, for a round loaf of bread.

Some historians credit a Viennese baker for creating the bagel to commemorate the victory of Polish King Jan III Sobieski over the Turks in 1683. The bread was formed into the shape of a buegel or stirrup, because the liberated Austrians had clung too the king's stirrups as he rode by.

Some cultures regard the circular shape as the continuous life cycle and good luck. Author Leo Rosten notes in The Joys of Yiddish that the first printed mention of the word bagel is in the Community Regulations of Cracow for 1610, which stated that the item was given as a gift to women in childbirth.

The art of bagel-making used to be a closely-guarded secret. The International Beigel Bakers' Union was founded in New York City in 1907 (now disbanded), with the regulations only permitting sons of members as apprentices. In 1927, Polish baker Harry Lender came to New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and founded the first bagel factory outside New York City. His company is credited with being the nation's first frozen bagel manufacturer and the first to put bagels in supermarkets, spreading baglemania to the masses.

Bagel Recipes

From Lunched Food:

Makes about 8 bagels:

475g strong plain flour
220ml warm milk
6g easy blend yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
( Bagels usually contain butter and an egg. But I have found that they don't effect the taste that much, so have omitted them to be a bit healthier).

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour, and tip in half the milk. Stir it in then gradually add more, (you may not need all the milk), to make a non sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for a good 5-10 mins until the dough is smooth. Shape into a ball, score a cross in the top, cover with a tea towel and allow to prove for around 20 mins.
In the meantime put a large pan of water on to boil, and pre-heat the oven to 200°, and grease a baking tray.

Once the dough has risen a little bit, shape the dough into, bagels, baglettes, or whatever you like, but be aware the dough will rise by up to double when cooking. Experiment with sizes, I find bagels of about 10 cms diameter are the best, and baglettes of about 4-5 cm wide by about15cm long, (score across the top with a knife to get the funky lines).

Then 1 or 2 at a time submerge the bagels into the boiling water, for about 30 seconds, remove using a slatted spoon and shake off any excess water, then transfer to the baking tray. Once all have been in the water cook in the oven for around 20 mins.
For variations you can top with whatever you like (such as poppy seeds, or sea salt) after they have been in the water, or you can incorporate stuff into the dough before shaping (such as ground almonds, or sultanas).

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