Jerusalem Bagels
6 bagels
Adapted from The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis These are smaller than the elongated bagels sold on the streets of Jerusalem but are easier to bake in a home oven. Note that Reem’s recipes uses fast-acting yeast, which is different than instant yeast. It’s ground finer so dissolves faster and is meant to be mixed with other ingredients without the need to be proofed first. For using other types of yeast, you can find more information on that at this yeast conversion table. There’s also a good discussion about various types of yeast here. I ended up using half the original amount of sesame seeds called for, but if you need more, simply make another batch of the sesame seed mixture. If you can’t find pomegranate molasses, you can brush the bagels with an egg wash; stir together 1 egg yolk with 1 -2 teaspoons of milk, and brush that on the bagels before dredging them in the sesame seeds.
For the dough
4 1/2 cups (500g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole or lowfat milk, warm
1 tablespoon (10g) active dry (instant) yeast
1 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
olive oil
For the sesame topping
1/2 cup (75g) sesame seeds
1 tablespoon pomagranate molasses
2 tablespoons hot water
1. Put the flour, sugar, salt, milk, yeast, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until the dough forms a smooth ball. (You can also mix it by hand in a large bowl.)
2. Rub a little olive oil over the top of the dough, cover the bowl with a tea towel, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
3. Make the sesame coating by mixing the sesame seeds, pomagranate molasses, and hot water in a shallow baking dish that’s not too large. (A 1 1/2qt/1,5l oval gratin dish works perfectly.) The seeds should be damp and sticky, but not clumpy. Add a bit more water, if necessary, to get them to the right consistency.
4. When the dough has risen after 1 hour, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured countertop. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Grab one piece of dough in your hands and shape it gently into a ball on the countertop, without overworking it. Dig your thumbs into the center to create a hole and stretch the dough outward to create an oval ring about 6 inches (15cm) long, using your fingers to pull and shake the dough so the hole is as large as you can make it.
5. Place it on the counter and continue forming the rest of the dough into bagels the same way. Let them rest for 15 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
7. Grab each oval ring of dough and press the top of each into the sesame mixture, then give the dough another tug and pull, coaxing the hole in the center even larger. Place each sesame seed-dipped oval on the baking sheet, seed side up, and let rest 10 more minutes.
8. Bake the bagels in the oven, rotating the baking sheets during baking so they cook evenly, until the bagels are deep golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool at bit before eating.

Serving: Serve the bagels warm or at room temperature, along with a spread or dip.

Storage: The bagels are best eaten the day they are made. They’ll keep for a few days at room temperature, but should be toasted or warmed in the oven before eating. They can also be frozen for up to two months.