This year will be our first Christmas on our own, as opposed to with my husbands family, and we’re looking forward to easing into a slow, quiet morning (before a very hectic few days) with plenty of coffee and a fresh batch of these New York Style Sourdough Bagels on hand for sustenance.
For the last 9 years we’ve woken up at my in-laws and opened presents together before heading to their big annual family dinner. Breakfast, while usually more of an afterthought, has always been bagels and cream cheese. The “kids” (my husband, his sister and I) sit at the dining room table drinking mimosas, scratching lottery tickets and filling up on delicious, chewy carbs.
We decided this year we wanted to start our own traditions but that in no way means I’m giving up on the bagels… or the mimosas. This year we’ll be having fresh baked sourdough bagels with roasted garlic labneh, a tangy strained yogurt cheese, for something that’s enough the same to feel like tradition but different enough to call our own.
These take a little more time, as naturally leavened breads tend to, but they are 100% worth the work and most of it can be done together as a family or group on the eve before you want to serve them. They come out crisp on the outside, chewy and fluffy on the inside, and full of sour, yeasty flavour. The labneh is our answer to “cream cheese”, and provides a beautiful tang and roasty sweetness to top your bagels with.
Wishing you the very best holidays, whatever they may look like to your and your most loved.
Crisp, chewy and fluffy New York Style Sour Dough bagels to up your holiday brunch game!
1 cup active 100% Hydration Sourdough Starter
5 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 tsp fine salt
2 tbsp barley malt syrup (maple will do in a pinch)
3/4 – 1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 – 1/2 cup of any combination of poppy seeds/dried onion flakes/dried garlic flakes/sesame seeds/flaky salt/za’atar
Mix your bubbly, active starter with the flour, salt, barley malt syrup, and 3/4 cup of the cold water. Add the rest of the water bit by bit until the flour is well hydrated but not too wet.Knead the dough by hand or in a mixer on medium with the dough hook until it’s smooth, about 15-20 minutes. It will still be rather tough and that’s okay. Shape into a ball and cover with a bowl to rest for 20 minutes.
After the initial rest, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces for large bagels or 10 equal pieces for smaller ones and shape them each into a small ball. Rest another 10-15 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle generously with flour or semolina.
To shape the bagels, flatten the small ball of dough into a disc and use your fingertips to roll into a log. Roll gently until you’ve got a log about 8″ long. Wrap the long around your three middle fingers with the ends overlapping by 2″ on the inside of your hand. Roll gently, palm down, until the ends are joined together. Place on the lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the bagels. This is a fun step to do with kids 3+.
Once you’ve completed shaping the bagels, let them proof at room temperature for 2 – 2.5 hours until puffy. Take a test bagel and place it in cold water. If it floats, they are done proofing. Dry the test bagel off and return to the baking sheet. Cover the whole pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450. Place toppings on flat plates so they are ready to go.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add the baking soda and sugar. Remove the bagels from the fridge and gently place them couple at a time into the simmering water. Boil for 15-20 seconds on each side. Remove boiled bagels with a slotted spoon to get rid of most of the water. Immediately dip into toppings and set back on the baking sheet. Repeat until you’ve finished all the bagels.
Place the baking sheet into the center of the oven and turn it down to 400. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden on top. Cool on a wire rack until ready to slice, toast and serve.
Labneh is a thick and creamy strained yogurt similar in texture to cream cheese, but with yogurts signature tang. Here we’ve added sweet roasted garlic for the ultimate bagel schmear.
2 cups plain, unsweetened yogurt (I use 4% M.F)
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 300. Slice the top off the head of garlic and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Wrap the head tightly in foil and roast until the cloves are soft and golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Set aside.
The night before you’ll be serving the bagels: Place some cheesecloth or a coffee filter inside a fine-mesh strainer that’s sitting over a bowl. Pour in the yogurt and sprinkle over the salt. Mix gently and leave in the fridge overnight to strain. Save the liquid whey for another project, like this Lacto-Fermented Passion Fruit Soda.
Scoop the thickened yogurt into a small mixing bowl and stir together with the roasted garlic. Add salt to taste and refrigerate until ready to serve.