To say that I love bagels might be the understatement of the century. They are on a very short list foods against which I am utterly powerless at all times with no exceptions. All bagels are not created equal, though… Sweet bagels are better than a kick in the pants, but my preference is for a pumpernickel or a salty, seedy, garlicky, oniony, popping with flavour Everything Bagel. And even better than either of those is my all-time best-beloved Black Russian Bagel. A Black Russian is a deep, dark Pumpernickel Everything Bagel. Holy swoon, Batman.
I ran into these for the first time a few years back at my closest Wegman’s. I brought four home (with the remaining dozen being regular Everything Bagels) thinking it was a sure-fire way to guarantee I got two bagels out of the bunch. My kids are stalwart Everything Bagel boys and they always scrunched their noses up a bit when I had my pumpernickel ones. Somehow, one of them grabbed one of the Black Russians and before I knew it, there were rapturous boys proclaiming their undying love for pumpernickel-plus-everything. I ordered one of them to give me a bite since I clearly wasn’t going to get to enjoy an entire bagel by myself.
I was hooked and hard just like the kids. The trouble is that the nearest Wegman’s is a thirty minute drive in either direction, so the Black Russians were a rare treat for us. I picked them up when I did my monthly shopping trip (and when some other Black Russian aficionado hadn’t cleaned out the basket before I got there.)
Then I visited King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Education Center last spring and picked up a bag of the Pumpernickel Artisan Bread Flavor. It languished on my shelf until two weeks ago, when I picked it up and read the label: “Takes bread from average to Artisan in one easy step.” and my brain screamed, “BLACK RUSSIAN BAGELS!”
Sure enough, King Arthur Flour had a recipe for pumpernickel bagels on the site, and -like you can count on King Arthur’s recipes to be- it was practically perfect in every way.
I bumped up the amount of pumpernickel flavour just by a smidge to get it super dark and bursting with pumpernickel and crusted the top with homemade Everything Bagel topping* to make a Black Russian Bagel that has cured me of the need to burn an hour’s worth of gas and time.
*If you’re not keen on making your own, King Arthur Flour also sells jars of pre-mixed Everything Bagel Topping.
My kids are nutty over them. My hubby is nutty over them. I am BONKERS over them. People, we’ve had bagels five mornings in the last two weeks, and I don’t see signs of it slowing anytime soon.
Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never made bagels before today. The dough is very forgiving and is sturdy enough that you don’t feel like its going to rip every time you look at it. It’s a great baking project whether you’re beginner-to-intermediate or a full-blown expert.
- ⅓ cup plus1 tablespoon (or 2 ounces by weight) King Arthur Flour Pumpernickel Artisan Bread Flavor
- 3¾ cups (1 pound by weight) Unbleached Bread Flour
- 1¼ cups (10 ounces) lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or raw sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 3 tablespoons dried minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons dried minced onion
- 1 tablespoon pretzel salt or coarse sea salt
- Add all of the ingredients to a pint jar, screw a lid on tightly, and shake to combine. Store in a cool, dark place and use as needed.
- Mix all of the dough ingredients together in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook on low speed then allow the mixer to knead it for 10 minutes. Do not crank the speed above low unless you'd like to damage your machine! If you do not have a stand mixer, use a sturdy spoon to combine the dough ingredients before turning it out onto a clean counter and kneading it for 15 minutes. Either way, the dough will be quite stiff... Don't be tempted to add water to loosen it up.
- Remove the dough from the stand mixer bowl and oil it (or oil another mixing bowl). Put the dough in, flip it once, then cover the bowl with a clean, dry tea towel and let it rest and rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour to 90 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
- Turn the dough out onto clean work surface, divide into 8 equal pieces, and roll each piece into a smooth ball. This is easiest to do if you roll it around on the countertop in a repetitive circular pattern with your hand cupped gently over it. Let the dough balls rest, covered with a clean towel, for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- While the dough rests, combine the bagel boil ingredients in a large, high-sided skillet over high heat. When the sugars have dissolved and the water is at a gentle boil (not a full, rolling one) turn your attention to the rested dough.
- Poke your index finger down through the center of each dough ball to the counter. Pick the dough ball up and gently stretch the hole you made until it is about 2 inches in diameter. Take care not to deflate the dough too much. Place it back on the mat and repeat with the remaining dough. Once they're all done, lower one bagel at a time into the water (lowering the side that was facing up on the countertop into the water first.) Do not overcrowd the pan. Each batch for boiling should be no larger than 4 bagels. Boil those 4 bagels for 2 minutes on the first side, carefully flip the bagels and boil the second side for 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bagels to a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. They will not expand greatly while they bake, but should still have a little space between them to allow heat to circulate well. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
- Whisk together the water and egg white until frothy. Brush the boiled bagels then generously crust the top of the bagels with the Everything Bagel Topping. Bake for 25 minutes. The internal temperature of a finished bagel should be at least 190°F.
I contacted the folks at King Arthur Flour when I decided I wanted to run this recipe and they kindly offered to give away 5 bags of the Pumpernickel Artisan Bread Flavor! Hooray! That’s 1 bag each to 5 Foodie with Family readers, total. Thank you, King Arthur!
How do you enter? Let’s make this as easy as possible, shall we? Please leave a comment below telling me your King Arthur Flour Baker’s Catalog wish list, your favourite bagel flavour, or whether you’ve ever made bagels from scratch! Happy holidays! (Five winners will be drawn at random on Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 9am.)
While you’re at it, go visit King Arthur Flour on facebook and give ‘em a little love!