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A Tale of Two Bagels: New York or Montreal Style

New York or Montreal Style Bagels
New York or Montreal Style Bagels

Just around the corner and a couple of streets up from my house sits Georgestown Bakery where on any given morning you can find the locals lining up waiting for the shop to open as the scent of freshly baked Montreal Style Bagels wafts outside. Wikipedia tells me that a Montreal style bagel is generally smaller, sweeter, denser with a larger hole than a New York Bagel and is always baked in a wood fired oven after boiling in honey sweetened water. Other research tells me that part of the distinctive flavor comes from the addition of malt to the dough. Montreal bagels in my experience are crustier and chewier than a New York bagel.

I love my New York Bagels too and whenever my feet hit the ground on the streets of NYC, I make a bee line for my first lunch to the nearest good deli to have smoked salmon, red onion and cream cheese on a big, soft, fluffy, New York Bagel. It would be kind of difficult to make a sandwich out of a Montreal style bagel, although they take to cream cheese exceptionally well too.

Each of these recipes are the best I’ve tried of each variety after several experiments and each makes a dozen bagels.

New York Style Bagels

New York Style Bagels

4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (approximately)
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (not instant)
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cup warm water

In a small bowl dissolve one tbsp sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set aside for 10-15 minutes for the yeast to activate.

In a large bowl or in an electric stand mixer equipped with a dough hook, add the remaining one cup of warm water, salt and remaining 2 tbsp sugar. Add the first 1 1/2 cups flour along with the prepared yeast. Stir together until relatively smooth, then add the remaining flour a little at a time until a stiff dough forms. You may not need all of the flour. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes then let it rest, covered for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equally sized balls and then roll into about an 7 or 8 inch rope shape. Bring the ends of the rope together and gently roll the ends together to join. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with a clean tea towel and allow rise for about an hour.

Bring about 6 cups of water and 1 tbsp sugar to a gentle boil. Drop the raised bagels into the boiling water, only about 2 or 3 at a time. Boil for only two minutes, flipping them after one minute.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if desired. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes until golden brown.

Montreal Style Bagels

Montreal Style Bagels

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 large or extra large beaten egg
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil oil
2 1/4 tsp (one envelope) active dry yeast (not instant)
2 tablespoon powdered malt or malt syrup
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (approximately)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 cups water
1/3 cup honey 

In a large bowl or in an electric stand mixer equipped with a dough hook, combine the water, egg, sugar, vegetable oil and yeast and stir until the yeast dissolves. It is unusual to prepare the yeast together with the rest of the wet ingredients but it does work and I think contributes to the dense texture of the bagels.

Add the malt and salt along with the first 2 cups flour. Stir together until relatively smooth, then add the remaining flour a little at a time until a stiff dough forms. You may not need all of the flour. Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes then let it rest, covered for only 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 equally sized balls and then roll into about an 10 inch rope shape. Bring the ends of the rope together and gently roll the ends together to join. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with a clean tea towel and allow rise for only about 25-30 minutes.

Bring about 6 cups of water and 1 tbsp sugar to a gentle boil. Drop the raised bagels into the boiling water, only about 2 or 3 at a time. Boil for only two minutes, flipping them after one minute.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with poppy seeds or sesame seeds if desired. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. You can flip the bagels half way through baking to ensure an even crispy exterior.

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marci

Sunday 24th of February 2013

Seeing your post of how to make bagels brought back some memories to me. I made bagels, one time, over 30 yrs ago. I remember it was a long, drawn-out, labour-intensive process, that pretty well took me 8hrs (if memory serves me). The strangest thing I remember about this experience, wasn't the yummy bagels I produced, but the fact that when I boiled them in the water bath, the recipe called for a small amount of lye to be added to the water. I remember buying the lye at the pharmacy (of all places). This was to give the bagels a crispier crust with a sheen. I shudder when I think of this, now! Both your recipes sound so much easier (and safer :)) to make. Thanks for allowing me to share my story.

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