April 3, 2024

Bagel Boom

Eaten savoury, sweet or stuffed; we honestly can’t think of anything you can’t put on a bagel. No wonder we eat around 320 million, yearly. Holey-moley! Luckily for us, Charlotte Crockford runs her own micro-bakery in Epsom, and is very proud of her nickname, ‘The Bagel Lady.’

“I offer some 18 varieties now including a 2 star Great Taste award for my Marmite & Cheese sourdough bagels. All my bagels are made with organic ingredients, are hand rolled (by me!) then boiled and baked for that signature crisp crust and chewy-inside.”

A keen home baker when living in Hong Kong, Charlotte then moved to Seattle, USA. Shortly after moving, she says, “My son complained that the bread was too sweet and made his tummy ache so I decided to bake all our bread myself. On a family holiday to San Francisco we visited some artisanal bakeries and I developed a keen interest in sourdough. I pride myself in baking bread free from additives and no hidden nasties – baked the way it should be! Now, I make New York sourdough bagels, real bread and treats, delivering locally to the community in Epsom, Ashtead, Ewell, Langley Vale and Stoneleigh. I also love sharing my passion teaching bread classes to adults and children with workshops held in my home micro-bakery.”

Charlotte Crockford

Recipe: Classic New York Bagel


885g organic strong bread flour
530g warm water
2 tbsp barley malt syrup available in health food shops. You could substitute with brown sugar but this is more authentic
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 packet instant yeast (about 2¼ tsp)
17g salt
Cornmeal or polenta for the baking trays
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, grated cheese, pumpkin seeds for toppings


Step 1: Prepare the dough
In a small bowl whisk the malt syrup, sugar and salt with a splash of the measured water. In a bowl – with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook – add the remainder of the water, flour, yeast and sugar and salt. Mix on the lowest speed then increase to the next level and continue to mix until the dough is separated from the bowl and it climbs the hook. Shape into a ball, place back into the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel for 1½ to 2 hours to rise and double in size at room temperature.

Step 2: Shaping the bagels
Once risen, knead on an un-floured countertop until springy to touch. Cut into 12 equal pieces. One by one, fold sides over to create a sausage shape and roll until about 30cm long. Wrap around your hand connecting the ends together, then keeping your fingers through the hole, roll the overlap to create a circle of dough.  Rest on a baking tray with baking paper sprinkled with polenta or cornmeal. Continue to shape the rest. Cover the baking tray with a large plastic bag and transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Step 3: Boil and bake
Preheat oven to 425C ideally with a pizza stone. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and work in batches of four. Boil for up to a minute, flipping halfway. Using a wide spoon or ladle, lift onto a wire cooling rack to drip dry with the flatter side resting on the rack. Press the top of each bagel with desired seeds whilst still wet then put onto a baking tray prepared with baking paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes on the hot pizza stone until golden brown. Enjoy while still warm or slice and freeze for up to three months.

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