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Bagel bombs

Sunday, August 4, 2013

If you're going to take the trouble to mix bagel dough, shape them into their familiar ring shape, and carefully poach them (without them deflating) before baking, then splitting one in half and spreading it with cream cheese shouldn't be a chore now, should it?
But often, I am too lazy even to do that and will eat a bagel "neat", without any embellishment except for whatever seeds are already on top of it. Which is a pity, because bagels are so much better when spread with cream cheese (and other delicious stuff).
This is why I love bagel bombs – bun-shaped bagels with a flavoured cream cheese filling in the centre. A lot of the recipes online have been credited to Christina Tosi's Momofuku Bagel Bomb (here she is making the bombs in a promotional video for a brand of mixer).
Now, I always associate bagels with poaching but Ms Tosi doesn't do this with her bagel bombs – which makes them simply filled buns, doesn't it? I didn't try her recipe so I don't know if her dough produces something that has the texture of a bagel (crusty outside, chewy inside) without the poaching, but I wanted something that I considered more along the lines of an authentic bagel.
So that is what I did, and I am happy with the results. Some of the bombs leaked, as can be seen in the picture below, but the filling was easily smeared back onto the bagel before eating. As long as the lovely cream cheese doesn't seep out into the poaching liquid, it can still be salvaged. And we all know how good baked cheese tastes! 
Now, about the huge cavity in the centre of bagel bombs: I think that is caused by the poaching, which makes the bagel puff up. It doesn't matter to me though because the lazy me now gets to enjoy a bagel already "spread" with cream cheese straight from the fridge (yes, they even taste good cold!).
This is submitted to YeastSpotting.
So what if the cheese oozes out; just spread it back onto the buns and enjoy!
Cheese-filled Bagel Buns (Bagel Bombs)
Makes 10

Cream cheese filling
175g cream cheese
2 tbsp shredded sharp Cheddar
2 tbsp chopped green (spring) onions
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of asafoetida powder

Whip the cream cheese until smooth, then add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust seasoning. Form into 10 balls (about 1 tbsp each; use an ice-cream scoop), place on a clingfilm-lined tray and freeze until hard. Store in a freezer-proof bag.

Bagel dough
375g bread flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp barley malt syrup
180ml warm water, plus extra
3/4 tbsp vinegar (rice, malt, white wine, apple cider)
Garnishes: 4-5 tbsp mixed seeds; a pinch of onion powder

Poaching liquid
1 tbsp barley malt syrup
1 tsp fine salt
1 heaped tbsp bicarbonate of soda

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl.
Dissolve the malt syrup in the water. Stir in the vinegar, then add to the dry ingredients. Stir mixture together, adding extra water a tablespoon at a time if necessary, until it comes together to form a stiff ball of dough. Cover bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.
Knead the dough briefly for about 1 minute and form into a ball. Cover the mixing bowl and leave for 15 minutes. Do the brief kneading two more times. every 15 minutes. The dough will be smoother and more elastic each time. Finally, cover the bowl and leave the dough to rise until about triple in size, 1 1/2 to 3 hours. Deflate, form into a ball again and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Place bowl in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to four days.
Wrap, poach and garnish
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, about 60g each. Flatten the dough and place a ball of cream cheese filling in the centre, then wrap the dough around the filling, sealing it completely. Make sure there are no gaps. Place the filled balls on a flour-dusted surface. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a large baking tray with parchment paper; grease paper well. Combine seeds and onion powder in a plate and lay out a clean tea towel by the baking tray.
Bring about 1.5 litres of water to boil in a large pot. Add malt syrup and salt and stir to dissolve. Stir in bicarbonate of soda and turn the heat down so that the water just simmers. Poach the bagels in batches, 30 seconds on each side, then remove and place on the tea towel; dab to remove excess water then roll in the plate of seeds to coat the top and sides; place bagels on the prepared tray. 
Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning the tray around halfway through, until brown. Place on wire rack to cool.


  1. Oh my gosh, these are brilliant and amazing! And they look so delicious!! :)

  2. How completely brilliant! You are right, it does seem like a lot of hassle to make your own bagels and then have to cut and cream cheese them.


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