There is no more cherished tradition in the Lezin-Lieberman household than Sunday morning bagels. We would all schlep to the JCC to workout (with much complaining from us kids), and then go to the one place with a higher concentration of Jews in Charlotte, the local NY bagel shop. And while I will always be down for simple cream cheese or a whitefish salad, there is no doubt that lox is the pinnacle of bagel toppings. And so for a Madison transplant facing the shocking and disappointing lack of good bagels in my new town, I only have one option: make them myself.
But how do you recreate the classic chew of the bagel and the salty-sweet-fishy taste of the salmon? Well, lucky for you, it’s actually pretty easy to do without any special ingredients, and leads to a perfect pick-me-up to start off your quarantined morning.
Citrus Cured Salmon
This non-smoked, cured salmon has a perfect blend of sweet, savory, and citrus, and tastes more like salmon than any lox I’ve ever gotten from a store. The hardest part, as Tom Petty once told me, is the waiting…
- Combine all ingredients besides the salmon in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
- Lay a large piece of parchment paper on a rimmed sheet tray or pan and spread over 1/3 of cure mix.
- Place salmon skin side down on cure. Pour over rest of cure and pack tightly on all exposed salmon.
- Wrap salmon in parchment paper. Then wrap again in another layer of parchment, and one final layer of plastic wrap.
- Place another baking tray on top of salmon, along with something to weigh it down (I used some cans of beans)
- Place in fridge for 3 days. Flip salmon every day or so for even texture.
- Unwrap salmon. Using a long, thin knife, remove skin from filet. Slice salmon into thin strips and enjoy
I’ve heard the secret to classic New York bagels was the water in the city. But it turns out that it’s nothing tap water and a little honey can’t fix…
For the water bath:
8 cups Water
1/4 cup Honey
For final assembly:
1 Egg white
1 Tbsp Water
Sesame seeds, Everything seasoning, Kosher Salt, etc
- Combine all dough ingredients in bowl of stand mixer with dough hook attached.
- Knead on medium speed for 10 minutes (this might seem excessive, but trust me it’s necessary. The dough will start to smack the sides of the bowl, so make sure to stick around to hold the machine down. Then apologize to your Kitchenaid for putting it through this.)
- Place in oiled bowl, cover, and let rest for 90 minutes.
- Punch dough down, and separate into 8-10 pieces (I went for 10 and the bagels turned out a little small for my taste, so I’d recommend only making 8).
- Roll each piece into a ball and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Form into bagels by rolling each piece into a cylinder, then wrapping each cylinder around your hand. Join the two ends together under your hand, and roll against table until fully sealed. Continue rolling to even out thickness around bagel. Don’t worry if bagels are small, they will continue to puff up as they cook.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Bring water and honey to simmer in large pot on the stove (Trust me, this is no fun to clean up if it spills and burns on your stove, so use a LARGE pot).
- Place bagels in water bath, 3-4 at a time. Let them sit in bath for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove and set on silpat or parchment lined baking sheet, 4-5 bagels per sheet.
- If topping bagels, make an eggwash out of egg white and water. Brush over bagels, and sprinkle topping on top. (If making chocolate chip or blueberry bagels, stop and think hard about what you’ve done and why I’m so disappointed in you.)
- Bake bagels in oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown all over. Rotate bagels halfway through cooking to ensure even baking. Let rest on a wire rack.
Like I said, this is the perfect breakfast to break out of the quarantine rut. I like mine with a healthy schmear of Philadelphia cream cheese and some sliced tomatoes. Hope you enjoy!