Today it snowed in NYC. A lot. And though it doesn’t even compare to the snow falling in neighboring cities, NYC high-ups decided to freak out and shut everything down. I’m not complaining. Instead, I’m cooking. A newly opened Montreal/Jewish style deli in Brooklyn inspired me to get in touch with my Canadian roots and experiment with a Montreal bagel. I went to ‘mile end‘ deli on Monday in hopes of tasting such a bagel, but their weekly shipment from Canadia had already been sold. I left disappointed, hungry, and even more determined to understand this whole Montreal bagel thing. Turns out they are pretty similar to a New York style bagel except for a few key differences: more dense, bigger hole, and sweeter. I can get behind that. There is debate around which is better, but I recommend trying both before aligning with one or the other.
Here’s how I did it, with the help of Montreal baker Marcy Goldman:
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon beaten egg
- 1 tablespoon malt powder or syrup
- * 4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached white bread flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup poppy seeds or sesame seeds
- 6 quarts water
- 1/3 cup honey
1. In a large bowl stir together warm water, sugar, oil, yeast, egg and malt until yeast dissolves. Stir in salt and 1 cup flour. Fold in enough flour to make a soft dough, about 3 cups.
2. Knead dough for 10-12 minutes, incorporating additional flour as needed, until dough is firm and smooth. Cover with a dishtowel and let sit 10 minutes.
3. Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll into 10-inch ropes. Curve each rope around hand, pressing together ends to make a bagel shape. If necessary, apply drops of water to help ends stay together. Let bagels rise for 30 minutes.
4. Fill a large pot with 6 quarts water and honey. Bring to a boil. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Boil bagels in honey-sweetened water for 1 1/2 minutes, turning once. Drain on dish towels and place on baking sheets.
6. Generously sprinkle both sides of bagels with seeds.
7. Place bagels in oven and bake until golden, about 20 minutes, turning once.