I have a habit of going on cookbook binges and then having them sit on my shelf for ages without trying a recipe. It’s not that I do this intentionally, life just happens.
I never bought the Momofuku cookbook that everyone has sitting on their shelves. But Momofuku Milk Bar was instantly on my list when it came out. I can’t even tell you how long it has been sitting on my shelf before I used it.
When I got around to making my first recipe out of it, you’d think I’d make the famous crack pie or compost cookies? No, I wanted to make the savoury bagel bombs! Inspired by Tonya’s bagel making post, the Momofuku bagel bombs caught my eye when I first flipped through it. I shrugged it off thinking it was complicated. This could not be further from the truth! The recipe is made for someone who wants to learn bread making. You don’t have to do any pre-ferments or multiple rises. The recipe doesn’t even tell you that your dough needs to double before continuing with the recipe. It’s a basic recipe that allows you to play around with it. I substituted smoked salmon instead of bacon and it was like a delicious pate filling inside. I didn’t bother making an everything bagel mix so I just made my own topping which was still great.
The bagel bombs are supposed to explode in the oven and none of mine did even after baking for 40 minutes. I didn’t mind, more of the cheesy goodness in the bun instead of on the baking sheet.
You can make this for a gathering by doing some steps ahead of time. The cream cheese plugs can be frozen and the dough can be made ahead. You can also freeze and bake them in the oven which I wanted to do but we ate them all…twice (the dough makes enough for two batches and I made them two days in a row).
I did make a few changes:
– As I said above, I substituted smoked salmon. You can use any filling you’d like. In my second batch I used goat cheese instead of cream cheese.
– I didn’t add sugar to the filling and I reduced the salt because salmon is already salty.
– I got lazy and didn’t do the everything bagel mix. Just scrounged up whatever was in my pantry
– I used instant yeast instead of active dry yeast
– The dough when mixed looked too wet so I added more flour until it was sticky, but not tacky
What I’d like to do next time:
– Increase oven temperature. I felt 325F was a little low to get any sort of real colour on the bagels
– Use all yolks for the egg wash for more colour
– Try reducing the salt in the dough by a touch, maybe 1/2 teaspoon less
Don’t be afraid at how long the recipe is, it really is easy to put together.
Momofuku Milk Bar Bagel Bombs
550g (3 1/2 cups) flour
12g (1 tablespoon) kosher salt
3.5g (1/2 packet or 1 1/8 teaspoons) active dry yeast
370g (1 3/4 cups) water
1. Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer– do it by hand, using the dough hook like a spoon. Continue stirring by hand as you add the water, mixing for 1 minute, until the mixture has come together into a shaggy mass.
2. 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. 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.
3. Brush a large bowl with oil and dump the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and then let the dough proof at room temperature for 45 minutes.
4. The dough is ready to be used. If you do not plan to use your mother dough the day you make it, you can store it in an airtight container at least twice its size in the fridge for up to 3 days. Take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature 30 to 45 minutes before using.
Bacon, Scallion, Cream Cheese Plugs
50g (1 3/4 oz) bacon, the smokier the better
200g (7 ounces) cream cheese
2g scallion greens, thinly sliced (editor’s note: just a small amount will do unless you love scallions)
5g (1 teaspoon) sugar
2g (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
1. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until it’s auburn brown and crunchy. Remove it from the pan and chop it into small pieces; reserve it and, separately, the bacon fat in the pan.
2. Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream it on medium speed. Pour in the reserved bacon fat and paddle to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chopped bacon, scallions, sugar, and salt and paddle briefly to incorporate.
3. Scoop the cream cheese mixture onto a quarter sheet pan in 8 even lumps. Freeze until rock hard, 1 to 3 hours.
4. Once the plugs are frozen solid, they are ready to be used, or they can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Everything Bagel Mix
3g (3/4 teaspoon) kosher salt
6g (1 tablespoon) white sesame seeds
4g (2 teaspoons) black sesame seeds
4g (2 teaspoons) poppy seeds
4g (1 tablespoon) dried onions
2g (1/2 teaspoon) onion powder
1g (1/4 teaspoon) garlic powder
1. Mix everything together.
1/2 recipe of Mother Dough
1 recipe of Everything Bagel Mix
1 egg (for egg wash)
4g (1/2 teaspoon) water (for egg wash)
1. Heat the oven to 325F
2. Punch down and flatten the dough on a smooth, dry countertop. 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.
3. 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 baking sheet.
4. Whisk the egg and water together and brush a generous coat of egg wash on the buns. Sprinkle a heavy even coating of the bagel mix all over the bagel bombs–every possible inch, except for the bottoms, should be coated.
5. 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.
Excerpted from Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi (Clarkson Potter)