BLACK RUSSIAN BAGELS
Makes 12 We ate these filled with smoked fish, fish eggs and sour cream in a tiny market near Moscow – they are especially delicious with chilled vodka. You need to begin making them the day before you want them.
For day one (the poolish)
2g fresh yeast 50g water 50g rye flour For day two
265g water 5g fresh yeast 220g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting 120g rye flour 140g whole wheat flour 100g black treacle
25g cocoa powder
10g fine sea salt
1 tsp caraway seeds
60g caster sugar
Oil, for greasing
Egg white, for brushing For the toppings Crunchy sea salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion flakes, garlic flakes
On day one, make the poolish. Mix the yeast with the water until dissolved, then stir in the rye flour until a thick paste is formed. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.
Next day (day two), put the water in a large bowl and mix in the poolish, which will be nice and bubbly by now. Add the yeast, flours, treacle, cocoa, salt and seeds, then, with one hand shaped like a fork, gently bring together until just combined. Scrape the dough off your hand into the bowl, then take the dough out of the bowl and place on a work surface, making sure you scrape all the dough out with a scraper to leave a clean bowl.
“Stretch and tear” the dough. With your hand in a claw shape above the dough, use the heel of your hand to push the dough into the work surface and stretch it forwards, then grab it and bring it back to where you started. Repeat for about 4 minutes. Cover and leave to rest for 2 hours.
Once your dough has rested, divide it into 12 pieces (about 80g each) and shape them into loose balls. Cover and leave to relax for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 240°C, gas mark 9. Roll out the pieces of dough to 20-25cm long and shape them into bagels, bringing the two ends together and sealing. Alternatively, you can shape the pieces into balls, stick one finger through the middle and twist until it leaves a hole in the centre.
Place the bagels on a floured tray leaving plenty of space between them. Cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put the sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan with 4 litres of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Line two baking trays with oiled baking paper.
Gently lift each bagel and pop into the simmering water. Don’t crowd the saucepan – do it in batches. Poach the bagels for approximately 20 seconds on each side (40 seconds in total), then place them on the lined baking trays, spacing them out evenly.
Brush the bagels with egg white, then sprinkle with sea salt flakes and the rest of your toppings. Bake for 15 minutes, until the toppings are crispy. These make the perfect smoked salmon bagels.