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This time of year, I am almost certain that I physiologically crave salt water. Not drinking it per se (which I’ve certainly done on skis), but swimming in salty water, breathing in salty air, searching for salty clams with our feet in low tide, and in turn, eating salt water bagels. Childhood summers.
Every stretch spent on Long Island promised a few giant sacks of fresh bagels. They waited for us in the morning after our sun-burned faces and sandy feet made it down the wooden staircase from the guesthouse and into the kitchen. A staircase that ensured a few f-bombs from whoever got the job of pulling a month’s worth of luggage for 3 girls up it. I was never given this job, for some reason.
Reality: the Midwest is a far cry from the New England coast that serves them up to perfection, but luckily, these bagels are not hard to make on your own. A true water bagel is poached in a kettle of boiling water, and then baked. This makes it thick-crusted and crisp on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside. Perfecto.
If you’re interested in the full recipe, check out the comments tab. If not, read a book on the continental shelf.
The simplicity lies in the main ingredients: bread flour, honey, and yeast. Just knead and shape. Boil them in your biggest pot and bake. Bagels are the stiffest dough in the bread kingdom, so they can be boiled without becoming flat mush. Rocket science.
Maybe I have a nostalgic bias, but these are inarguably good.
So pull out a big mixing bowl and make some joe. You can always feed your messy bagel creations to the seagulls.