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How to Deep Fry Bagels and Bagel Holes

Deep-fried Bagel

Late summer is fair time round these parts. Our tiny county fair has the essential treats: corn dogs, cotton candy, elephant ears...but the whole fried-thing-on-a-stick phenomenon has passed us by.

Whether this is good or bad is debatable - fewer calories v. no deep-fried snickers, you make the call - but it leaves a gaping hole in my excuses to eat deep-fried food. Were it not for the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Rings that Burgerville tempts me with each summer, I might go a year without anything cooked in boiling fat.

While shaping bagels today, I was struck with a thought I am blaming on my proximity to the local fair: deep-fried bagels. Yeah, I said it. Deep-fried bagels. 

We will now pause for a moment as our various bubbes plotz about this meshuggah idea. 

Deep-fried Bagel - sliced

What can I say? These really are a wonder.

All the chew of a good bagel plus a delicately crisped crust.The crumb of the deep-fried bagel (on right in this photo) is slightly more open but it retains the critical chew.

Pretty much my perfect bite of bread.

Making them is a breeze. All you need is a deep-fat fryer or deep, heavy pot and a suitable thermometer. 

How to deep fry bagels

  1. Make your favorite bagel recipe up to the point they are shaped and have risen enough to be ready to boil. I use the bagel recipe in Peter Reinhart's wonderful book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread but any decent bagel recipe will do. How do you tell if it's a good recipe? It should have malt powder in it and it must include boil the bagels before they go in the oven. (If you have posted a bagel recipe you trust on your site, feel free to leave a link in the comment section.)
  2. While the water for boiling the bagels heats, also heat at least 3" of oil to 350°F/180°C. I used canola, but you can use anything with a smoke point over about 370 depending on how carefully you will be watching your temperature. That opens up the field to things like lard. Hey! I could make treif bagels.(I think I just heard a collective "Oy!")
  3. Boil the bagels in small batches, doing only as many as will fit in the fryer at one time. (Did you know that adding a tablespoonful of baking soda to the boiling water gives the bagels a glossier crust? Try it next time you make bagels.)
  4. When you remove each bagel from the boiling water, let it drip for a moment, then lightly blot it with a paper towel. Flip it over and be sure there are no hidden pockets of water. You really do not want to drop extra water into the hot fat.
  5. Carefully lower the bagels into the hot oil and cook for about 4 minutes, until medium-deep brown. Flip and cook the other side for the same amount of time. Remove and let drain on paper towel.

Deep-fried Bagel Hole The other good thing that came out of today: bagel holes.

These 'bagel holes' are actually little balls of dough I made to test the frying temperature, but I am now wondering why nobody markets them. They are a couple of bites of wonderful. On second thought, one of these is my perfect bite of bread.

someoneElse ate one and said, "Can we fill them with things?"

This led to all sorts of speculation, starting with the obvious, could I get cream cheese to stay inside while cooking? If I promise not to use bacon, do you think the bubbes will forgive me?

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