Updated: Oct 6, 2019
I remember going to NYC when I was living in Pittsburgh every couple of months with my sister and mom and we would always get a bagel. I think NYC is the hubbub of real traditional airy bagels. The soft warm bagels with the thick cream cheese, boy o boy. Now here is one thing I absolutely hate, and please correct me if I am wrong. I can not stand when you go to a restaurant or deli and they get stingy with the cream cheese. If I am ordering a bagel with cream cheese, it better be slathered in the cream cheese. There are so many different bagel stars, such as everything bagel with smoked salmon and capers, blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese, or whole wheat bagel with cream cheese and veggies. I personally like a bagel loaded with seeds, plane cream cheese and some cucumber or tomato.
Here in Germany, we are known for our bread. The variations are endless, but its definitely not the light bread you are used to in the US. The bread here is heavy, and when I say heavy, I mean you are full after a slice for breakfast. They are packed dense with loads of seeds and full grained flour. I personally am obsessed with German bread, my Dutch Iranian mix of a husband however says he feels that he is eating a block of cement when he tries the German bread, so for him I must get standard whole wheat toast. The shame.
I have always loved the idea of making your own bread at home, and since fresh bagels are scarce to non-existent here in Germany I thought, why not make some at home? The main thing I was looking for was the fluffiness of the bagel. I had my attempt once at homemade pretzels and failed miserably as they were harder than a log of wood, but I was yet to be defeated. So, I gave a whirl at these little treats and boy am I in shock. They were not only easy and affordable to make but had the perfect balance of fluff, crunch and texture to it. I will definitely be making these again, and even my ever so picky husband devoured these.
You can get as create as you want with the toppings or smear you want to use. As I wanted to use these for breakfast and plain cream cheese, I just created a simple topping using various seeds and salt. You can however always add garlic and onion powder to give it an extra kick.
500g bread flour
1 tbsp dry yeast
320 ml warm water
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
In a medium bowl add warm water and add yeast and sugar and mix. Allow to rest and activate for 10 minutes. In a large bowl add bread flour and salt. Once yeast is activated add to flour mixture. Knead with your hand in the bowl until you have a dough. Remove from bowl and continue to knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes. You should now have a silkey smooth dough. In a medium bowl add olive oil and add dough. Swivel the dough a bit in the bowl so the edges do not stick to the bowl. Cover with a damp towel and rest for 1 hour.
Get a large pot and boil water.
Once dough has risen twice in size remove from bowl and without kneading place onto surface and split in 8 even sections. Create small balls with each section by evenly folding the bottom sections of the dough. When circle is formed roll on non floured surface until even ball is formed.
When all 8 balls are created cover with damp towel for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 200 C.
Pinch middle of the ball with thumb and index finger and create a hole. Hole should be approximately 2cm in diameter. Add bagel dough to boiling water and cook on each side for about 1 minute. Remove from water onto a baking tray. Add egg wash on top part of bagel and sprinkle with topping. Bake for 20 minutes. Bagels should be golden brown.