When my brother came to visit us during his military service, my mother always made sure that something delicious was cooking, baking or being prepared—especially for him. We never knew what he was doing during his service duty, but we always assumed that he would endure with a smile. One of his favorites was fresh bread that my mom made—coated with sesame or za’tar. These Jerusalem bagels remind me of growing up when everyone and everything was peaceful and happy.
It’s a simple dough recipe for bread and it’s even vegan. Nonetheless, they are a delicious treat and they make for a great addition to any meal.
The original recipe for these Jerusalem bagels comes from my amazing mother, Simcha, but I had to translate the “little bit of this” and “little bit of that” into real measurements.
Makes 6-8 bagels
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ cups warm water
- 3½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 3 tablespoons canola oil, plus ¼ cup for stretching the bagels
- For brushing:
- 2 tablespoons date syrup (silan)
- 2 tablespoons water
- White and black sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning or za’atar
- In a mixer bowl, combine the yeast and sugar with warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes before you start preparing the dough.
- Add the flour, salt, baking powder and oil to the bowl and mix until fully combined, about 6 minutes. Cover and set aside for about 50 minutes to rise until doubled in size.
- Divide the dough into 5-8 balls and place on a flat pan. Cover again and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Put the remaining oil on your hands. Make a hole in the middle of each dough ball. Stretch to open it. Shape each one larger than a regular-sized bagel. (You can shape them into hearts to remember my brother.)
- After stretching all the dough balls, place all the bagels on two baking sheets. Cover them with a towel and let them proof (rise) for another 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 365 degrees while they proof.
- Once the bagels have proofed and your oven is ready, mix the date syrup and water together. Brush the top of each bagel with the mixture. Sprinkle them with white and black sesame seeds, everything bagel seasoning or za’atar. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
All the years we grew together are just a fragment of the heaviness and emptiness of his being gone. This weight becomes more and more painful with time. Who said that time heals?
May his memory be blessed.
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