So, what exactly is a KBB bagel, you ask? We like to think it stands for Kickin’ Br**gg*r’s Butt Bagels.
Yep, you can make bagels that will kick butt on the national chains that produce doughnut- shaped bread products they call bagels. And you can do it easily, too. Come along, we’ll show you how.
While we got the idea from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, by Jennifer Reese, we really only use the cooking / baking times and the suggestion of using brown sugar in the boiling water; we just prefer our own bread dough recipe. Her book is well worth checking out if you plan on scratchin’ like we do.
- 1 batch basic bread dough
- 2 Tbs brown sugar, preferably dark
- Corn meal (optional)
A batch of basic bread dough will make about 18-20 bagels. If this is too many (they freeze well), you can do as we did and use about a pound of dough to make pizza, then turn the rest into about 12 bagels. Twelve to 13 bagels is the perfect number for us. Let the basic bread dough go through the bulk rise, essentially to the point where you’ll be shaping the bread, then shape bagels instead. As far as toppings go, use what you like. We used poppy seeds, sesame seeds, Kosher salt, and a mix of all three.
Assuming you have your basic bread dough complete, let’s do it!
Line baking sheets. Either line two baking sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper, or coat with cornmeal. Whichever works for you.
Portion dough. Cut off pieces of dough that weigh about 100 grams and shape them into balls as though you were making dinner rolls. Place them on a floured work surface as you make them so they don’t stick.
Bagelize. Take each ball of dough, and, using your thumbs, make a hole in the middle and stretch it out just a bit. Then return to floured surface to rest.
Rest. Cover the bagels with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Boil water. In a large saucepan (large enough in diameter to hold 3-4 bagels), boil up about 2 quarts of water. Once boiling, add the brown sugar. Or add it before boiling, it doesn’t really matter; just get it in there.
Boil bagels. Place the bagels in the boiling water, 3 to 4 at a time. They will sink at first, but will float to the surface. Boil on one side for a minute, then flip and boil on the other side for a minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a baking sheet.
Top bagels. While the bagels are still wet, top with whatever toppings you like. Then go back to boiling more bagels.
Bake. Slide the bagels into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the baking sheets about halfway through, until nicely browned.
Cool. Remove from oven and let cool on the sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer the bagels to a cooling rack. Make sure to transfer one to your mouth. We think that might be the real reason a baker’s dozen is thirteen. Of course, around our house a baker’s dozen should be 15 or 16!
Serve. Slice one of these babies open while it’s still warm, slather with cream cheese and enjoy!
We don’t make bagels all that often, but, we really don’t buy them that often either, so we can’t say that we make bagels every time we want one. We can say, however, that these are far, far, better than anything you’ll find at a national chain bakery. Don’t even mention bagels from your grocer’s freezer.