Before we took off for our year in New Zealand, the Boyfriend was really getting involved in bread-making. There was an ongoing, sporadically successful, sourdough project but where he really hit his stride was in making bagels. A birthday present of Bread by Ursula Ferrigno and Eric Treuillé (never let it be said that I didn’t encourage him!) inspired him to try their recipe. Do you know how they get the holes into their bagels? You take a small ball of dough, stick your finger through the centre of it and then work your finger in a circle to stretch and widen the hole. It’s rather like doing the hula hoop, but with your finger instead of your waist! We were in fits laughing that first morning that he tried the recipe as our fingers hula hooped their way through eight bagels.
You don’t get many bagels from 500g of flour but they’re so good that you really don’t mind. While often erratically shaped (hula hooping may not be the most precise way of producing them), the Boyfriend’s bagels are nicely browned with an appropriately dense and chewy interior. We used to sprinkle sesame and poppy seeds on top but, given the Boyfriend’s pumpkin seed fixation (the reason that I started adding them to my Brown Bread recipe) we’ve started brushing the bagels with egg and sticking pumpkin seeds on top. These are not something to make when you’re in a hurry but, if you’ve got a currently unemployed boyfriend, you could do a lot worse than encourage him to take a look at Ursula and Eric’s recipe for bagels over on Swiss food blog Rosa’s Yummy Yums. They’re perfect toasted with a dab of cream cheese or, if you want to go for a fancier bagel, try some of the fillings mentioned on Dublin’s Itsabagel website. Personally, I would strongly recommend The Mountaineer.