I’m in New York!
Yes. Right now. I am probably eating a hot dog at this very moment. In fact it’s probably my second today. What? I’m on holiday…
“I love New York, even though it isn’t mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it.” – Truman Capote
My brother moved out to NYC in September and is now living the stereotypical struggling actor’s life waiting tables and adjusting to shoebox living. He’s my best friend, my biggest supporter and one of few who get my weird jokes, so the move was hard and I’ve found that living in different cities is a bit shit, really. We FaceTime, he shows me around his small room in Chelsea, I tell him about the things that have been going on in my life. We discuss House of Cards and Arrested Development, and quote our favourite line from 21 Jump Street frequently. Gah, I’ve missed him. A visit was well and truly due.
So now I’m here, wandering right through the very heart of it or however the words go, with a carefully compiled hit list of things to devour and places to visit and comfy shoes on my feet. In tow is my best friend, ultimate travel companion and dinner date, we share a love for donuts and other delectables. First on our list: NYC style bagels. I will of course be sure to let you know how they are, but until then they come just as good if not better when made at home. Toasted, smothered with cream cheese and smoked salmon (or blueberries! Definitely a thing) – this will be how I’ll be self-medicating when the inevitable post-NYC blues hit.
This recipe is from a great blog called The Sophisticated Gourmet, which I came across a year or so ago. Every time that I’ve used this recipe the resulting bagels have been so damn good I could have literally cried with disbelief and joy.
New York Style Bagels
Makes 8 medium-sized bagels
500g bread flour
1.5 teaspoons salt
7g active yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
1.5 tablespoons caster sugar
Optional toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds etc
Add the yeast and sugar to warm water and leave to stand for 5 minutes, then stir until dissolved.
Mix together the salt and flour and make a well in the centre. Pour in the water mixture and bring the dough together with a spoon. Start off with half of the water and use as much as needed. The dough will be shaggy. Tip it out onto a well floured surface and knead for a good 10 minutes until springy and pliable. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise somewhere warm for 1 hour.
After it’s risen, punch the air out and leave to rest for a further 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°c.
Cut the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces and roll them each into balls. I pull the sides of the dough down and round to the bottom so the balls are taught. With a well-floured finger press a hole through the middle of each ball and widen slightly, then place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Cover with a clean dishcloth and leave to rest while you bring a large pot of water to boil.
Place half of your bagels in the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and continue with the rest of the batch. Place the now boiled bagels on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes and until golden. If you want a slightly crunchier top to your bagels (like me) then bake in the upper third, if not then stick to the lower third of your oven.
If you are adding toppings to your bagels, brush them with egg wash and sprinkle with your toppings after boiling and before baking.
Leave to cool if you can wait. Best toasted and smothered with cream cheese.