Amazing Bagel Bread

Amazing Bagel Bread

Ingredients

Bread:

  • 2 ½ cups warm water
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ tablespoons instant or rapid-rise yeast, see note for active dry yeast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons coarse, kosher salt (use less for table salt)
  • 5 to 5 ½ cups (709 to 780 g) bread flour (see note for substitutions and notes about exact flour amount)

Topping:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup (57 g) freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese, or other toppings of choice, like sesame seeds, poppy seeds, Trader Joe’s everything but the bagel seasoning, etc

Water Bath:

  • 4 quarts water
  • ¼ cup (85 g) honey
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

Instructions

  • For the bread, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, honey, yeast, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, continue adding flour until the dough comes together and clears the sides of the bowl. The exact amount of flour doesn’t matter as much as the texture and feel of the dough. It should form a soft, smooth ball that is still a little tacky to the touch but doesn’t leave a lot of dough residue on your fingers. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  • Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured counter and separate into two pieces.
  • Shape each piece into a loaf by pressing into a thick rectangle, folding the bottom edge up to the middle and then grabbing the top edge and folding it down over the dough and pinching the seam to seal. Turn the loaf seam side down and pat and roll lightly to form an even 8-inch loaf.
  • Grease two 8 1/2-X-4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Place the loaves seam side down in the prepared pans. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until the dough rises just over the edge of the pan, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Toward the end of rising, prepare the water bath by bringing the water to a boil in a pot (that is at least 10-inches wide). Add the honey and baking soda and stir to dissolve. Also, fold a clean kitchen towel (like a thin flour sack towel without any texture or terry cloth fabric) in half and place next to the stove.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • One at a time, carefully turn the loaf of risen dough out into your hand and place the loaf into the boiling water. It’s ok if the bread loaf deflates and looks a bit wonky. It will all work out! Promise. Cook for 1 minute and then use a wide flat spatula or other tool/spoon to flip the dough and cook for another 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Using a couple of wide spatulas, carefully transfer the loaf and place it on the folded towel, using extra towel length to quickly pat any water off the top and sides of the dough.
  • Spray the same loaf pan with cooking spray and sprinkle a couple tablespoons of cheese evenly across the bottom of the pan. Transfer the dough (that’s been boiled) to the pan (using the towel to help transfer the hot loaf, if needed), tucking the dough down around the edges into the pan in an even shape.
  • Repeat the boiling process with the other loaf of dough.
  • With a sharp paring or serrated knife, cut five or six slashes about 1/4-inch deep crosswise on the top of each loaf of dough. Brush the top of with the beaten egg and sprinkle each loaf with a couple more tablespoons of cheese.
  • Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until golden on top (an instant-read thermometer should read 200 degrees at the center of the loaf).
  • Let the bread cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan before turning onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Slice, toast, slather with cream cheese, devour!
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