When is a bagel not a bagel? When’s it’s “everything.”
That line may not make any sense to you if you haven’t seen the movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Actually, it may not make much sense even if you have seen it.
So let me try to explain. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is part family drama and part comedy. It is a science fiction film and a martial arts extravaganza. In short, it’s everything, and last week it won seven Oscars at the Academy Awards, including Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Picture.
Produced by University of Iowa graduate Joe Russo, “Everything” stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, a beleaguered small-business owner who is under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. In the midst of this crisis, Evelyn discovers that there are millions ― if not billions ― of universes, and that there is a version of her in each one. Each variation of Evelyn in this multiverse has a different life that was created by the various decisions she has made every day.
Let me stop here to say how much I love this concept. Think of it. Maybe there’s a version of me out there who is a world-famous chef or a movie star or maybe even president of the United States. If only I had chosen to eat that broccoli my mother served me when I was 10.
But I digress.
Evelyn also learns that the multiverse is being stalked by an evil force known as Jobu Tupaki. What does Jobu want? No one knows. All Evelyn knows is that Jobu must be stopped before it unleashes the power of … the bagel.
I’m not kidding. But it’s not just any bagel. It’s an everything bagel. Why? Jobu explains it to Evelyn about halfway through the film: “I got bored one day, then I put everything in a bagel … everything. All my hopes and dreams, my old report cards, every breed of dog, every personal ad on Craigslist, sesame, poppy seed, salt, and it collapsed in on itself.”
Trust me. It sounds a lot better ― and more ominous ― when Jobu says it.
Anyway, I loved “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me just feel good. It also made me want to make bagels.
Bagels are one of those things that we never think of making ourselves. I don’t know why. We bake pies and cakes and breads but bagels we buy. It’s almost as if we see bagels as some substance that can only be conjured using exotic ingredients and a magic spell.
In reality, bagels are pretty easy to make. They’re just bread, after all. Sure, there are a few differences between making a bagel and making a loaf of sandwich bread, but they hardly require special skills.
Of course, there are different bagel recipes out there. Some take two days to make. Others can be made in an afternoon. I chose the latter because I figured my readers ― like me ― would be more likely to make bagels if they knew they weren’t going to have wait too long for them.
So, don’t be afraid of making bagels. Unless they come from Jobu Tupaki. Then be very afraid.
New York City bagels
This recipe comes from the website “The Sophisticated Gourmet.”
Like I said above, this is an easy bagel recipe that you can finish in a few hours ― no more difficult than baking bread. That said, there are some differences.
Bagels have to be boiled before they are baked. This gives them a wonderful, chewy texture. There is some debate as to what to boil the bagels in, however. Some say to add maple syrup to the boiling water. Others suggest barley malt syrup. Still others go with baking soda. I am going with baking soda here because it is something you probably already have in your kitchen.
The shaping method also is something of a controversy among bagel makers. Some recipes recommend rolling the dough into a rope and then pinching it together to make a circle. Others go with the poke method. This means creating a ball of dough and then poking your finger through the center to create the hole. The latter one is easier, and so I opting for it.
Otherwise, you should be able to see that making your own bagels is not that hard. There aren’t many ingredients, and the method is pretty simple. Get bageling!
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 ½ teaspoons sugar
1 ¼ cups warm water (roughly 100-110 degrees)
3 ½ cups bread flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
For finishing the bagels:
2 quarts of water
1 tablespoon of baking soda
Optional toppings like toasted sesame seeds or everything seasoning
Dissolve the yeast and the sugar in ½ cup of the warm water. Let it sit until it begins to bubble (about 5 minutes).
While the yeast is blooming, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the yeast mixture, followed by the remaining water. Mix or stir (I use the paddle attachment on my mixer). Once the mixture has combined, switch to the dough hook (or turn out onto a floured countertop). Knead for 8 minutes by machine or 10 minutes by hand. At the end, you want a smooth and elastic dough.
Grease a large bowl and add the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (roughly 1 hour).
Punch the dough down. Let it sit for 10 minutes to relax. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Then, coat your index finger with a little flour and poke it through the center of each dough ball, tearing a hole in each one. Gently stretch the dough into a bagel shape, until the hole in the center is about an inch in diameter. Place the bagels on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean towel and leave them to rest for another 10 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring the 2 quarts of water to boil on the stove. Add the baking soda (the water will bubble furiously for a moment).
Working two at a time, place the bagels in the boiling water. Cook on one side for 45 seconds, and then flip them over. Remove from the water to your prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining bagels.
If you are seasoning your bagels with the everything seasoning or sesame seeds, now is the time to do it. Sprinkle the seasonings over your bagels evenly.
Once all of the bagels have been boiled, place them in the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes until nicely browned (the recipe says 20-25 minutes, but my bagels were a bit overdone after 20 minutes, so use your best judgement).
Allow bagels to cool.
Makes eight bagels.
This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Making bagels a la 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'