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.

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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.

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