Beigel not Bagel: Homemade Beigels

BagelI say potato, you say potato. I say tomato, you say tomato. I say beigel and the whole world should say beigel. The beigel as it is pronounced in and around North and East London started out as simple Polish dish which over time has been hijacked by our American friends and is now pronounced bagel

With the influx of American TV over the past 10 years beigel have now become a must have trendy accessory that every hip and trendy 30 something should be seen eating. I’m not saying the next remake of Kojak will see him sucking on a beigel instead of a lollipop, or Steve McGarrett is now grilling beigel on the BBQ in Hawaii Five O or god forbid anyone of the TV programs set in New York have replaced  ordering hot dogs topped with mustard and pickles to cream cheese beigel topped with mustard & pickles.  All I’m saying is TV has brought beigel in to the minds of a nation.

beigel aren’t a new invention and  have been around for years in England. Travel to any Jewish deli / bakers in Golders Green or Enfield and you’ll see an abundance of people queuing for beigel (they are great when warm just out the oven). You only have to visit the famous “Beigel Bake” in Brick Lane, London’s trendy Eastend to see this. Visit Beigel Bake at anytime of the day (and I mean anytime of the day) you will see any number of people queuing out the door to get their salt beef or smoked salmon beigel. Travel outside of these areas and you might find (if you are lucky) a small out posting selling traditional beigel (by traditional I mean they have been made the traditional way).

The characteristics that make a beigel a beigel and not a savory doughnut is the crisp exterior and soft chewy interior. This soft chewy interior is achieved by first boiling the risen dough before baking it until crisp and golden. This is why supermarket beigel are not “traditional” and have to be toasted first as they do not have this chewy center.

1.4 litres flour
25g yeast
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoon sugar
5dl water
2 Tablespoon oil
Toppings: Poppy seeds, linseed, sesame or an onion.

Sift flour into a big bowl and add salt, sugar and yeast. Warm up the water to body temperature. Best way to do this is use hot and cold tap water. Mix the water in to the flour. Add oil and begin to knead. Knead for around 10 minutes. Place dough in a bowl. Cover and leave for around 1 hour to rise. Knock back your dough. Knead the dough  for a few minutes and then divide in to 12. Roll your dough in to sausage shape and pinch at the end to join. Place on oiled greaseproof paper for 15 – 20 minutes to allow to rise again. In a large sauce pan start to boil 2 liters of water. Boil for about 3 minutes. Remove and place in to seeds. Bake in the oven at 220°c for 20 minutes until golden brown.

And if you want to know how I enjoy mine. I pile it high with home made salt beef, dill pickles & English mustard.


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