8:22 AM Today's post is something that makes me completely happy, because it involves food, but to be more specific, my two favorites.

Something I learned to have so dear to my heart are bagels and challah. In Germany, bagels aren't a big deal, so whenever I head to NYC, the city of bagels, I feel like in heaven, swimming in an ocean of flavors and chewyness. To me, bagels are life-changing and just so damn good.

And then, challah came into my life. I got it from New York's Jewish bakeries, but I never felt brave enough to test this in my own kitchen.
My mom is a master of yeasty loafs and I knew how much stress, pressure, and work is included in a challah or simple yeast bread routine.

Quarantine made me do it.
The last months felt like my kitchen turned into a challah factory and I can't believe how much fun it is to make challah! 

In an earlier post, I shared my love about challah already, calling it my meditation and favorite thing to do in the kitchen!
It's such an exciting journey from a bowl full of ingredients to a sexy risen loaf. With the eggwash on top it will have the most beautiful glaze you can ever imagine.

After making too many challahs that I didn't want to eat all by myself, I thought about spicing things up. I guess this art of perfection can also be done in a smaller portion or form... something like a bagel. And here we are.

Bagel heaven.
Why didn't I think of this earlier? 

Making these babies, I felt more than happy. I was able to eat a whole week through sexy, shiny, and so yummy bagels with the best yeasty challah flavor!
Again, just think about this... 
Can you taste this?

I know - making a challah or even challah bagels can sound like a lot of stress and many are terrified, but there are two secrets: you need a really really good recipe which won't fail plus you need to treat your yeast right - the rest will follow easily.
"Ok, so how do I know if my recipe will work out?" - Well, I tested many many challah recipes and when making challah, I only trust King Arthur Baking! They are always around with the best recipes and baking techniques! So trust me that this recipe here will be living in your kitchen forever!
The yeast part? I will tell you more below!


YOU NEED 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast + 3/4 cup (170g) warm water + 1/2 teaspoon (+ 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar) + 3 3/4 to 4 cups (454g to 482g) flour, plus more for dusting + 1 teaspoon kosher salt + 2 large eggs + 1/3 cup (67g) vegetable oil + 2 tablespoons (43g) additional sweetener (sugar, honey, or molasses) + for the topping 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon sugar

1. In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. A little yeast conversation here: especially when you are doing this for the first time. Don't play too much with the temperature of the water. In my head, I thought the yeast needs to feel super cosy, so why not adding really warm water to it? The warmer the better. WRONG. Use lukewarm water and nothing that is super hot or boiling. Please don't kill the yeast. If the yeast is mixed with hot water then you can already quit here. The dough will not rise fully and it will change the whole texture of your challah. 
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and additional sweetener.
3. When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. 
4. Knead until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough, 7 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. Enjoy the feeling of touching the dough with your fingers and watch + feel it getting smoother minute after minute. 
5. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Alternatively, you can refrigerate it overnight and then let it sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before shaping.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat the dough out into a long rectangle, roughly 3" x 12". Cut the dough into 6 or 8 pieces, depening on how big you want your bagels to be. I'd go with 6. So I half the rectangle and divide each side into three same sized pieces. Now we can build our bagels! Technique 1: roll each piece into a long log and stick the ends together so it turns into a nice bagel ring. Technique 2: make a ball out of your dough and put your finger or a spoon in the middle and stretch it out. By stretching the ball and its hole, you can rotate the bagel and shape it the way you want to! I like this method a lot, because you have a smooth bagel without a side where you can see that it was stuck together. No edges, no nothing - easy. But you decide how you want it! Transfer the bagels to the baking sheet and let them rise, covered, at room temperature for 30 minutes, until slightly puffy.
7. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the bagels lightly with the egg wash. Bake until the bagels are golden brown. Remove the bagels from the oven and let them fully cool down. (Try them while being warm, too, if you wish, haha). 
8. If you plan on eating them later, you can freeze the bagel for longer storage.

Mhmmm... that's the recipe of the year! Why? Because it will make everyone happy. Read yourself through the instructions, it's really not that hard. The best thing is that with all the work you put into this, you will be rewarded with something you will never forget. 

Challah and challah bagels will be your new best friends! You are welcome!

If you feel fancy, you can surely add some seeds on top of your bagels, but since I didn't know about my mood every day, I kept it simple and sprinkled a little sesame on some. I ate them in a sweet way with my favorite jam, made French toast. or even croutons. Magic, baby. 
So easy and so worth it! 
Let's eat! 

*Boys and girls, write down the new vocabulary you have learned today: Hefe — yeast.