How To Make Bagels in Real Lye
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NOTE: THIS LYE AND BAGEL RECIPE IS INTENDED FOR USE WITH REAL LYE MADE FROM WATER AND NATURAL WOOD ASHES ONLY, NOT WITH CRYSTAL DRAIN CLEANER OR ANY OTHER OF KIND OF SYNTHETIC "LYE" THAT INVOLVES ADDING A DRY POWDER TO LIQUID.

Nowadays, most home-made bagels are made by putting them in a liquid that has either had baking powder added to it or by boiling the bagels in plain water with nothing at all added to it. To get a proper bagel, however, you need to use a lye bath before baking the bagels. A good bagel needs a moderately strong lye, so in this recipe you may want to cook down your kitchen lye to half its volume to make it stronger


If you are an experienced sourdough maker with a batch of starter on the counter, by all means substitute that for the instant dry yeast in the recipe. Use a baked enamel (porcelain-enameled steel) pot for simmering the lye. (The lye bath will help clean it if there are any stains on it). Stainless steel is also acceptable but absolutely do NOT use aluminum.

Make lye by mixing a cup of ashes with a quart of water. Stir thoroughly until it is as dissolved as you can get it. Let the ashes settle to the bottom, then pour the liquid off the top, letting it drain through a cotton towel or pillowcase.


Ingredients:
1 tablespoon of dry yeast
1/4 + 1 tablespoon cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of brown sugar or sucanat
2 cups of flour
coarse sea salt

Directions:
Mix yeast, water and sugar together and set in a warm place until there is at least 1/4" of froth at the top. When the yeast mixture is frothy on top, add it to the flour in a mixing bowl and mix in. Work it with your hands to get it all mixed with the liquid. Cover the bowl of dough with a wet cotton cloth or towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume.

When it has doubled in bulk, take the dough out and knead for 5 minutes, then put it back under the wet cotton cover. Let it sit and rise until it again doubles in bulk and then shape it into a log 10" long and 2" in diameter.





Cut into five rounds and then pinch the center with thumb and forefinger to form the hole. Cover with a wet towel that does not touch the bagels and let rise again.



When the dough has expanded about half again in size or to standard bagel size, put each bagel in hot or simmering lye for one minute in total, half a minute on each side. 


Remove the lye-parboiled bagel from the lye and set on  a greased baking greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarsely ground sea salt.  Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until evenly browned all over, turning around as necessary in the oven.


Makes five yummy, deliicious, chewy bagels. Once you get the basic technique down, start experimenting with other ingredients like finely chopped onions or sesame seeds to make your flavored bagels.



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