Sunday, December 27, 2009

Fastest Dozen Biegals

Wow, my last post about English Jewish foods certainly caused a lot of internet traffic today.
My daughter read my post and was inspired to such an extent that she decided, even though she was fasting, to bake some English style biegals for us to break the fast (of the 10th Tevet) over. When I got home from work I was greeted by this wonderful aroma of baking bread. The whole family sat down to eat our first meal of the day at 5:20pm with my daughter’s biegals taking centre stage. I have to say, they were scrumptious. So its only fair that I give you my daughter’s English style biegals recipe. The recipe is actually (after some experimentation on my daughter’s part) an amalgamation of an Israeli Bagel recipe and one taken from page 280 of the Florence Greenberg’s “The Original Jewish Cookery Book” (1988 Edition).

There is one puzzling thing about Mrs Greenberg’s recipe. She wants us to put milk in the mix but that would be forbidden according to halachah (Jewish law).
Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 97 states "It is forbidden to knead dough for bread with milk, in case a person should (accidentally) eat it with meat...It is similarly forbidden to bake bread in the oven with meat fat…"

(There is a way around this though and that is to bake the bread in a special shape or place a symbol on it so that the community knows it is chalavi (milky). However Biegals wouldn’t be biegals if they weren’t the classic round with a whole in them. The name Biegal comes from the Hebrew "B'Igul" meaning "[baked] in  a circle". Everyone would assume they were pareve so sorry Mrs Greenberg, no milk).

Recipe for Fastest Dozen English style Biegals
Total time: Less than 1½ hours
1½ Tsp dry granules yeast
1¾ cups warm water
2 Tsp sugar
5 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten.
1 Tsp oil
Mix yeast with ½ cup of warm water in a large mixing bowl.
Then add the rest of the warm water, sugar, flour, oil and salt.
Beat the egg and add that to the mix.
Mix well and knead until dough is soft and flexible.
Cover the bowl and leave for 15 minutes.
Divide the dough into 12 balls. Mould each into sausages, about the thickness of a finger and join together to make the biegal rings.
Prepare a greased baking tray and place the 12 rings on the tray.
Cover the tray and leave for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile warm oven to 180 degrees.
Take a large saucepan and fill ¾ to the top with water. Bring to the boil and then turn it down to simmering.
Uncover the biegals and place 3 to 4 beigals at a time in the boiling water. The biegals should float to the top. Continue boiling for 3 minutes and then remove them from the saucepan, drain and place back on the tray. Repeat until all biegals are boiled.
Optional stage: Sprinkle sesame seeds, poppy seeds or salt crystals over the biegals.
Place in oven for approximately 35 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with …well I think you all know what to serve them with!


Anonymous said...

Dear Mordechai and Daughter,

3 minutes is too long to boil water bagles - We have found that a few seconds are enough. Just flip them over and remove.

A professional bagle baker once told me that it is best to keep the shaped bagles in the fridge overnight and then boil. I have not yet tried this .

R and Z

Reb Mordechai said...

Thanks for your comments R and Z.

I think that this is the major difference between American style and English style bagels. The English boil them for much longer and the result is a much more chewy texture. That's how we like it!