As the Estonian National Ballet went into one of the lockdowns as a result of the Covid pandemic, people quickly took to finding new hobbies and activities to keep them busy. For Connor Williams, what started out as simple once-in-awhile-baking hobby, turned into many early mornings in the kitchen making a wide range of breads.
“Baking was one of my quarantine hobbies. It began with the classic story of running out of bread one day and not wanting to go to the store that quickly turned into making pretzels, sourdough, pain au chocolat and of course bagels!
There are a couple of really good bakeries in Tallinn but it’s not like other European cities where you can turn a corner and see five different bakeries. So it’s something I missed and since I was trying new recipes all the time lots of my friends got to be my taste testers. Bagels definitely became a favorite!”
As his Instagram stories started to fill up with pictures of fresh dough resting in an early morning kitchen glow, requests from colleagues also started to flow in. Soon he was dropping off different baked goods at friends house around town. And now he’s sharing it with you too!
- 6 g active dry yeast (2 teaspoons)
- 19 g granulated sugar (4 ½ teaspoons)
- 300 ml warm water / 1 ¼ cups (you may need ¼ cup /60 ml more)
- 400g bread flour / 3 ½ cups you will need more for dusting and kneading!
- 40g Whole wheat flour
- Two good pinches of salt
- Optional Toppings: Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt.
1. In 120ml of the warm water, pour in the sugar and then the yeast. Let it sit for five minutes don’t stir the mixture just yet. After it has sat for 5 minutes stir it together until everything has dissolved.
2. Mix the flour and the salt in a large mixing bowl. And then make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
3. Pour 80ml of warm water into the well and mix together. Then gradually stir in the rest of the water as needed (100ml of water thats left) You may need a couple teaspoons more. You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
4. Next put the dough on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. You want a smooth and elastic feeling. But also I would keep adding flour to the surface to create a firm dough.
5. Add A small amount of oil to a large bowl and coat the dough in the oil.
6. Then cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
7. Once it has risen for an hour punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
8. Next divide the dough into 8 pieces (I used a scale to be extra precise, but honestly you don’t need to).
9. Once you have 8 pieces you’ll need to shape them into balls. So take a piece of dough and press it gently with the palm of your hand against the countertop (or whatever work surface you’re using). You want to move your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat with the rest of the pieces of dough.
10. Now your going to coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled baking tray. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
11. Then you’re going to cover the bagels in a damp tea towel and let them rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 220ºC.
12. Get a large pot, fill it with water and bring it to a boil. Then reduce to a gentle simmer.
13. Then get a slotted spoon and lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling ( I normally do about 2-3 at a time).
14. Once the bagels are in, let them sit in the water for 1 minute, and then flip them over to boil for another minute. If you want to make a chewier bagel you can make it 2 minutes per side.
15. Once they have finished in the water place then make on the cooking tray.
16. If you want to add toppings to your bagels, do it as take them out of the water. You can add anything like poppy seeds, sesame seeds or just salt.
17. Next place then in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown (I usually stick closer to 20 minutes but really depends on your oven). Another way to tell that bread is done on the inside is to tap the bottom, you should hear a hollow sound.
18. Take them out of the oven and let them cool (but honestly they are great straight from the oven!)
19. Next step ENJOY!