Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Bagel Bombs

As soon as I saw this post on The Amateur Gourmet, I emailed J and told her we had to make them using her stand mixer. They are based on the recipe from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook, which by all accounts is frankly amazing. And while we were very pleased with the results, I am tweaking it to compensate for the fact that 1) there was way too little flour in the recipe, 2) I found the results too salty this time around, 3) why make a single batch of 8 when you could make a double batch of 16 and 4) some ingredients can be tricky to find in London, so I've just omitted them. So below, you'll find my version.

Bagel Bombs
Adapted from The Amateur Gourmet and Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook


400g plain cream cheese (two containers)
Scallion greens from a bunch of scallions, thinly sliced (I also added fresh chives from the garden)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 3/4 cups (or 350 grams) flour (original recipe says 1 3/4 cups)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups (or 370 g) room temperature water (warm enough to activate but not so hot it kills the yeast)
Neutral oil
6 tablespoons white sesame seeds (original recipe gives you an "everything" bagel mix of poppy seeds, garlic, onion, salt, etc. but I actually prefer plain sesame or poppy seed bagels)
1 egg


1. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream it on medium speed, until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the scallions and sugar and paddle briefly to incorporate. Taste to adjust.

2. Scoop the cream cheese on to a parchment-lined cookie sheet in 16 even lumps and freeze until rock hard, 1 to 3 hours. (We ended up with 20 scoops, so 4 were saved for spreading on other things.)

3. To make the dough, stir together the flour, salt and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer using the dough hook like a spoon. Continue stirring as you add the water, mixing for 1 minute, until the mixture has come together into a shaggy mess.

4. Engage the bowl and hook and have the machine mix the dough on the lowest speed for 3 minutes, or until the ball of dough is smoother and more cohesive. (If it just looks like a big wet mess, add some more flour until it begins to look more like a ball.) Then knead for 4 more minutes on the lowest speed. The dough should look like a wet ball and should bounce back softly when prodded. (We found this took much longer, but mainly because there was not nearly enough flour to make it turn into a ball.)

5. Brush a large bowl with oil and dump the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough proof at room temperature for 45 minutes.

6. Preheat the oven to 325F (163C).

7. Scatter flour over a smooth, dry surface. Punchdown and flatten the dough on the surface. Use a dough cutter to divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Use your fingers to gently stretch each piece of dough out into a mini pizza between 2 and 3 inches wide.

8. Put a cream cheese plug in the center of each dough circle. Bring up the edges of each round and pinch to seal so that the cream cheese plug is completely contained, then gently roll the ball between the palms of your hands to ensure the bomb has a nice, round, dinner roll-y shape. Arrange the bombs 4 inches apart on a parchment- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet.

9. Whisk the egg and 1/2 teaspoon water together and brush a generous coat of egg wash on the buns. Sprinkle a heavy even coating of the sesame seeds all over the bagel bombs–every possible inch, except for the bottoms, should be coated.

10. Bake the bagel bombs for 20 to 30 minutes. While in the oven, the bombs will become a deep golden brown and a few may have cream cheese explosions. Continue baking until you see this happen! Not to worry–serve them as is or use your fingers to tuck the cream cheese back inside the bagel bomb. Bagel bombs are best served warm out of the oven–or flashed in the oven later to warm and serve. If you can’t finish them all right away, once they are cool, wrap them well in plastic and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

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