Updated: Oct 23
Enter through the gates of the old town of Jerusalem and the aroma of freshly baked bread and toasted sesame seeds hits you immediately. This aromatic smell is carried in the air from the Jerusalem bagels piled up on wooden carts that stand along the old walls. Purchase one and the vendors will hand you a za’atar spice blend wrapped in an old newspaper to dip your bread in.
These sesame-rich elongated bagels are bready and airy, with a crisp crust and soft interior. Rip a chunk and dip it into olive oil, and then into za'atar, or use it to scoop up hummus or labneh cheese. It is also great for cheese toast (even better if you add in also chopped green olives:-).
Makes 4 large bagels
3 ½ cups (500 gr) all-purpose unbleached flour
1 Tablespoon (10 gr) instant dry yeast (if using active dry yeast, dissolved it first and rehydrated in water, and allow more time to rise)
1 1/4 cups (230 gr) water
3 Tablespoons (50 gr ) of olive oil
2 Tablespoons (44 gr) date syrup/honey/maple
1/2 Tablespoon (9 gr ) kosher salt
1 1/4 cups (185 gr) sesame seeds, or sweettahini's savory dukkah
Mix flour and dry yeast in a mixer bowl. Add dates syrup(or honey, or maple), olive oil, and water, and mix at low speed for 3 mins.
Add the salt and continue to mix for 7 min at low speed. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
Form a large ball, pour a few drops of olive oil into the mixer bowl, and roll the ball of dough in it, making sure it’s entirely covered with olive oil.
Cover the bowl with a clean towel or loosely with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise for 30-45 minutes or until doubled in size
Prepare a large wide bowl with water and fill a shallow tray or plate with sesame seeds.
Divide the ball into 4 equal-sized balls (each weight 220gr). Hold each ball in your hand and stick your thumbs inside, creating a hole, then roll it over your fingers and expand it into a long oval shape.
Dip each bagel in the bowl with water and then in sesame seeds, make sure it’s completely covered with sesame. Place on a baking sheet at least 2” apart.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the bagels rest for 20-30 mins.
Heat oven to 440 degrees F.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the bagels are golden and the bottoms are brown.
Serve with olive oil for dipping, savory dukkah blend, or dry za’atar spice mix.