Jerusalem Sesame Bagels
"The Palestinian Table"
Taken from Reem Kassis in her 2018 Beard Award–nominated The Palestinian Table.
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warm
- 1 tablespoon active dry (fast-action) yeast
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Olive oil
- 1 cup hulled sesame seeds
- 1 to 2 tablespoons grape molasses
Put all the ingredients except the olive oil, sesame seeds, and grape molasses into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on medium speed until the dough comes together in a soft and pliable ball. Alternatively, mix in a large bowl and knead by hand until smooth and pliable. If the mixture appears too stiff, add a little milk and continue to knead. You are looking for a soft, elastic but robust dough. Rub the dough with oil, cover the bowl with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap, and set aside to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Prepare the sesame coating: in a large shallow bowl, combine the sesame seeds and grape molasses with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix, adding more water as necessary, until you have a wet mixture that is neither too sticky and thick that it clumps up, nor too thin. You just want to be able to coat the dough in the seeds and have them stick.
Once the dough has risen, gently punch down to release the air bubbles. Divide the dough into 6 equal-sized portions and place them on a lightly floured work surface. Roll and stretch each piece into a log about 8 to 12 inches long, then attach the ends together to form a circle. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°F..Take each dough ring, dip it in the sesame mixture, and gently roll and stretch the ring until you have a long oval shape, similar to a stretched out “0”. Repeat with each ring, then set aside on a baking sheet to rest a final time, about 10 minutes.
Place the baking sheet or sheets into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a deep golden color and cooked through. Set aside on a wire rack to cool.
Serve warm with some za’atar, or white cheese and vegetables, and sweet tea. Freeze any leftovers for up to 1 month and reheat in the oven before serving.
Adapted from The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis (Phaidon, 2017)