Yes – you CAN do it. Make your own bagels. It is amazingly fun and very rewarding. You can alter the topping of your bagels if you don’t like the sound of these, or just make them plain.
1 tablespoon instant yeast $0.33
4 cups bread Flour $1.20
2 teaspoons salt $free-ish
1 tablespoon brown sugar $0.04
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water $free
1 cup parmesan cheese $0.50
1 tablespoon sea salt $free-ish
3 tablespoons fresh or dried herbs $0.60 or free from your herb garden
1 egg $0.11
2 quarts water $free
2 tablespoons brown sugar $0.08
1 tablespoon granulated sugar $0.03
TOTAL COST = $2.99
To make this dough by hand or in a mixer, combine all of the dough ingredients and knead vigorously, by hand for 10 to 15 minutes, or by machine on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes. The dough will be quite stiff; if you’re using an electric mixer it will “thwap” the sides of the bowl, and hold its shape (without spreading at all) when you stop the mixer. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and set it aside to rise until noticeably puffy, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into 2-3″ pieces, about 8-11 pieces total. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up very slightly.
While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water, brown sugar, and normal sugar to a very gentle boil in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole till it’s about 2 inches in diameter (the entire bagel will be about 4 inches across). Place each bagel on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
Whisk the egg to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash onto the bagels, and while they are moist on the baking sheet, sprinkle with parmesan, herbs, and sea salt.
Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re as deep brown as you like, turning them over about 15 minutes into the baking time (this will help them remain tall and round). Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a wire rack. Yield: 8-11 bagels.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Bagel recipe. If you haven’t seen it – that is a very helpful website with lots of good ideas…that you can certainly use even if you don’t buy King Arthur Flour.