How to Make Bagel Balls
Bagel balls are round balls of bagel dough with a cream cheese filling. They are easier to eat on the go than a bagel cut and spread with cream cheese. Try this recipe to make your own tasty bagel balls.
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup, honey, or rice syrup
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour
1 egg white
Toppings of your choice
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
2-3 quarts water
1 ½ tablespoons barley malt syrup, rice syrup, or honey (optional)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Cut the cream cheese into 16 equal pieces. Put the pieces in the freezer.
Combine the malt syrup, yeast, salt, and warm water and set aside. Put the flour in a mixing bowl, make a well in the center, and pour in the malt syrup mixture. Mix with a dough hook or a large wooden spoon for three minutes. The dough should be a stiff, coarse ball. If the flour is dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time. Allow the dough to rest for five minutes.
Mix the dough again with the dough hook or by hand on a lightly floured surface. It should be stiff, supple, and barely tacky. If it is too soft or tacky, mix in a little flour a tablespoon at a time.
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for an hour at room temperature. If the room is too cold, you can put it in the oven set to proofing mode.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat and coat it with a fine layer of oil. Divide the dough into eight pieces, then cut each in half. Work the dough into a disc by pulling it under itself. Put a piece of frozen cream cheese in the center of the dough, cup the edges, and bring them together. Twist the edges to close the opening and roll the ball in your hand to smooth it.
Place the bagel balls on the pan and mist them with a light layer of oil. Cover the pan with plastic and refrigerate the bagel balls overnight or up to two days.
Remove the bagels from the refrigerator 60 to 90 minutes before you want to bake them. Drop one into a small bowl of cold water. If it sinks and does not float back up, shake it off, put it back on the pan, and wait another 15 to 20 minutes before retesting it. If a bagel ball floats, they are ready to bake. You only have to test one. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare your toppings.
Fill a pot with two to three quarts of water. It should be at least four inches deep. Boil the water, then reduce the heat so it simmers. Add the malt syrup, baking soda, and salt.
Add the bagel balls gently to the liquid. They should float within 15 seconds. Turn them with a slotted spoon after one minute. Cook them for another 30 to 60 seconds and then transfer them to the oiled baking sheet with the roundest side up.
If you want to put toppings on the bagel balls, brush them with an egg white first. This will help the toppings stick and give them a shiny finish.
Put the bagels in the oven and reduce the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake them for eight minutes, then rotate the pan and check the bottoms. If they are getting too dark, put another pan under the baking sheet. Bake them for another eight to 12 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. If the tops are getting too brown, tent a piece of foil over the top.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the bagel balls cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.