I’ll never recall which one, but a blog I was reading the other day talked about making bagels at home. (Maybe it was Pink Stripes?) Then I remembered an old book with a bagel recipe I’d once tried. The book is Bernard Clayton’s The Breads of France, and it was published in 1978. My edition is from 1986, and the good news is that Ten Speed republished it in 2002, so you can actually still get a copy.
The recipe is called Ka’ Achei Sumsum, or Salted Sesame Bagels. Like all breads, this takes a little time, but we’re talking hours, not days. The ingredients are really straightforward — yeast, sugar, water, salt, flour, butter, an egg, and sesame seeds. And as Bernard points out, this recipe is untraditional because the bagels are never boiled. They go straight into the oven.
They are deliberately rustic. Bagel/doughnut cutters are a no-no. You roll out a piece of dough in your hands and casually loop it into a ring. The overlapped ends are part of the charm. Then you brush them with egg and top with sesame seeds (poppy seeds are okay too).
This next tip comes from me. Eat these immediately. They are amazing while still hot from the oven. And I suppose the real test of goodness is the texture. They bake up light, the crust is nice and firm, and the inside is soft and flakey. Maybe you can get a sense of it from this shot. No NYC-style chewy bagels here. These are something else entirely, and a real treat. And they’re small, so you can eat a few at a time.