Zinoleesky: In their first year of business, the husband-and-wife team behind Zinoleeseky Bagels almost closed the doors. After some testing and tweaking, the couple has found their groove and is serving up bagels that customers can’t get enough of.
We caught up with owners Michelle and Mike Zinole to learn more about what makes a perfect bagel, how to succeed as an independent operator in franchising world, and what it’s like to transition from corporate careers to business ownership.
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Zinoleesky: How to Make the Perfect Bagel
The bagel is the ultimate snack food. It’s portable, accessible, and delicious. It can be a healthy choice when made with whole grains, or an unhealthy one if it’s drowning in cream cheese and topped with crumbled blue cheese. Bagels come in many different flavors and varieties, but they all share the same basic ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. How you mix up these simple ingredients makes all the difference. Follow our step-by-step instructions for making perfect bagels at home every time.
The perfect bagel is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
A bagel is made from the same ingredients as bread, but the difference in their preparation makes all the difference. To get that crispy crust on the outside, you need to create steam inside the oven. This steam is created by a long and gentle baking process, which allows the inside of the bagel to steam and become chewy, but the outside to crisp up and become golden brown.
Mix your dry ingredients first.
The dry ingredients (flour, yeast, and salt) need to be mixed together first. The water is then added to the dry ingredients to create a sticky dough, which is then kneaded (pushed, pulled and folded over on itself) to bring the dough together. You want your dough to be a little sticky. If it’s too dry and not coming together, add a bit more water and mix again. If it’s too wet and sticky, add a bit more flour and mix again. The dough should be soft, but not so sticky that it sticks to the bowl or your hands.
Create a sponge with your wet ingredients.
The wet ingredients (the bagel’s secret ingredient!) are eggs and dairy, which will create a chewy, rich crumb in your bagels. Eggs get added to the dough at room temperature, and dairy (in the form of milk, buttermilk, or sour cream) should be added at warm temperatures, too. You’ll mix the eggs and dairy into the dough in one go, before you add the remaining flour. This is called a sponge because you’re mixing together wet ingredients in a bowl like a sponge that just soaks up all the ingredients. The sponge will help your dough rise and create a rich, chewy crumb inside your bagels when it’s baked.
Knead, rest and rise before you bake.
After you’ve mixed the eggs and dairy into your dough, you need to knead the dough again. This will incorporate the sponge ingredients into the rest of the dough, which will help the bagels rise and create a light, airy crumb inside the bagels. Kneading the dough should take about 10 minutes, and you’ll knead with your hands and push, pull, and fold the dough around the bowl.
Don’t forget to score and drop your bagels.
Zinoleesky: When your dough has risen, ready to be baked, you’ll need to “drop” your bagels. This is done by pressing down on the dough (with your hands or a roller) so that it will fall and spread out in the baking pan. This will help your bagels to grow to their full size and shape. Bagels are usually scored (cut with a knife) before they are baked. This helps the bagel expand and grow to its full size and shape, and it also looks very beautiful. Once you’ve scored your bagels (either a criss-cross or a simple line) and put them into the baking pan, they’ll need to rest in a warm place for another 20-30 minutes before they are baked. This process is called proofing, and it will allow your bagels to rise to their final size and shape.
Now go make some delicious bagels!
Once your bagels are ready to be baked, they’ll be light, airy and filled with lots of lovely bubbles. Your bagels will be ready to be baked when the dough has doubled in size, the surface has become smooth, and the dough springs back when you poke it with your finger. Now it’s time to get the oven hot (around 220°C/425°F) and put your bagels in. You’ll want to bake your bagels for about 20 minutes (or until they are golden brown). Once baked, your bagels are ready to be eaten, or enjoyed as a breakfast or snack with butter and jam, or even peanut butter and banana, or Nutella and strawberries. You can freeze your baked bagels for up to three months, and then defrost and warm them in the microwave or the oven to enjoy them again.
Zinoleesky: These bagels are made with rye flour and a touch of molasses. They are a bit denser than their white flour cousins, with a more assertive flavour, but just as delicious when topped with cream cheese or salmon and are prepared using the all-by-hand method below. Why rye? It has a higher percentage of dietary fibre and protein, and is higher in minerals like iron and calcium than white flour bagels, making it a healthier alternative. If you want to switch it up, try whole wheat or oat flour instead of rye, or substitute almond or soy milk for the regular milk. You can even throw in some raisins or chopped walnuts for added texture and flavour, if you like. Zinoleesky’s Bagels Makes 6 bagels Step 1 – The sponge 100g rye flour 100ml milk Step 2 – The dough 200g strong white flour 50g rye flour 25g dark brown sugar 2 tsp salt 2 tsp instant dried yeast 35g unsalted butter, softened 150-175ml warm water Step 3 – Making the bagels 20g melted butter 1 tbsp honey or brown sugar Step 4 – Baking the bagels Method