What card-carrying, bread-loving, carb-o-vore, doesn’t love the representative food of our people, the bagel? Before the rise of chain bagel shops, my hometown of Pittsburgh had several great independent bagel houses. My favorite was Bageland. They had a big old kettle where they boiled them right in the middle of the shop. Not everyone can be blessed with New York bagels on a regular basis, but Bageland was the next best thing. When I moved out west, I was shocked, dismayed, and appalled at the pathetic pieces of dough that disgraced the good name of the bagel. With the chains making their way out here, eventually,  I can now get at least a standard issue bagel, but I have high standards for my bread products, and the chain store bagels are nothing to write home about.

In an attempt to create a little bagel heaven at home, i decided to attempt what many say cannot be done. Make a decent bagel in your own kitchen! I tried one recipe that was terrible. I almost gave up and headed back to Panera, but thought I’d give it another shot with this recipe.

For the time being, I’ll leave the true food blogging to the experts and won’t bog you down with step by step photos. Here’s a bagel primer to get you started.

I’m not exactly known for my cooking skills, but I manage to keep me and the dog alive (we eat out a lot). However, I am an expert eater and know what’s good. And these bagels are amazing! They are SUPER filling so you can load up one with cream cheese and not have to eat again until your evening feeding session–no stopping your activities for food, and no hunger-related meltdowns (I cannot promise you a meltdown-free day, however). I load up mine with the pre-crushed Trader Joe’s garlic, some sesame seeds, and salt. Kosher salt. Lots of it. I’m the polar opposite of a morning person, so I make up the dough the night before (takes about 10 minutes, tops) and proof it in the fridge overnight. You have to let it sit out for at least an hour (probably more) the next morning before you can get cooking. Basically, I hop out of bed at the crack of 10 and after letting out the dog I pull the dough out of the fridge. This leaves plenty of time for putzing around and a decent workout while you wait for the dough to be ready, and you’re rewarded with nice fresh bagels.

So try it out and let me know what you think!

True story. I was bringing home a dozen bagels from New York and bought them the night before I left. By the next morning the entire hallway at my hotel smelled like garlic. So did the plane, later that day. I was so proud.

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