Yom Kippur: Break the fast at home with bagels, cream cheese, lox

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can elevate that traditional bagel-based meal by making it from scratch with one of these recipes by Jewish influencer chef Eitan Bernath.

 EVERYTHING BAGELS and beet-cured salmon are sure to get your post-Yom Kippur break fast off to a good start.  (photo credit: Eitan Productions)
EVERYTHING BAGELS and beet-cured salmon are sure to get your post-Yom Kippur break fast off to a good start.
(photo credit: Eitan Productions)

For many American Jews, there is little question as to what you eat at the end of a fast day, like Yom Kippur: Bagels with cream cheese and lox, and a tall glass of orange juice.

Three out of four of those items are readily available at any supermarket here, as well, unless you want to be pedantic about the difference between lox and smoked salmon.

Bagels – real, American-style bagels, not the big, soft, sesame-coated rings some Israelis claim are bagels – are often harder to come by, especially if you don’t live in an area with a lot of English-speaking olim. And even if you do, they don’t really compare to bagels from the New York area. If you’re from Montreal, don’t even bother looking; there seem to be no bagels at all in that style here.

If you live near a bagel shop in Israel (or anywhere else you may be, dear reader), you wouldn’t be blamed in this busy holiday season for wanting a break from cooking big family meals and just buying the essentials to break the Yom Kippur fast. You can add in some sliced veggies for the sandwiches, and pick up some capers, to be fancy, and wonder why they are called the same thing in Hebrew, tzalafim, as snipers.

But if you’re feeling ambitious, you can elevate that traditional bagel-based meal by making it from scratch with one of these recipes by Eitan Bernath, whose first cookbook, Eitan Eats the World, received a recent rave review in these pages earlier this year. The simplest way to elevate your Yom Kippur break-fast is to flavor your cream cheese with some scallions, but you can also make your own New York-style everything bagels and beet-cured salmon, which is very easy to make, but you have to remember to do it a few days in advance.

 EVERYTHING BAGELS and beet-cured salmon are sure to get your post-Yom Kippur break fast off to a good start. (credit: Eitan Productions) EVERYTHING BAGELS and beet-cured salmon are sure to get your post-Yom Kippur break fast off to a good start. (credit: Eitan Productions)

By the way, Bernath busts the myth that the water in New York City is what makes their bagels the best:

“What makes the city’s bagels iconic isn’t the water that’s mixed into the dough, it’s the water they’re boiled in before they get baked! Boiling the bagel ensures that the dough is steamed all the way through before it’s baked, which results in that soft-yet-chewy interior and the golden, crisped exterior. Often, bagel shops outside of the NYC metropolitan area will try to mimic that boiling process with a steam-injected oven to save time, but that only steams the outside of the bagel, and so the interior texture is never quite right,” he writes.

“What makes the city’s bagels iconic isn’t the water that’s mixed into the dough, it’s the water they’re boiled in before they get baked! Boiling the bagel ensures that the dough is steamed all the way through before it’s baked, which results in that soft-yet-chewy interior and the golden, crisped exterior. Often, bagel shops outside of the NYC metropolitan area will try to mimic that boiling process with a steam-injected oven to save time, but that only steams the outside of the bagel, and so the interior texture is never quite right.”

Eitan Bernath

New York-Style Everything Bagel With Scallion Cream Cheese

Bernath included a warning in this recipe that the dough will get extra tough, saying that “this kneading process may leave you schvitzing, but I promise the warm bagel at the end will be worth it.”

He also encourages readers to try different cream cheese flavors by adding spices, vegetables or even fruit instead of scallions.

Yield: 12 bagels

Total Time: 2:30

Everything Bagels

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 (7 gr. / 1⁄4 ounce) packets active dry yeast
  • 8 cups bread flour
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 egg white, beaten until frothy
  • 3⁄4 cup everything bagel seasoning (Lahav’s recommendation: Buy it from https://www.israelidelicious.com/)

Scallion Cream Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 (225 gr. / 8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1⁄3 cup sliced scallion, about 4-5 scallions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, stir warm water and sugar until combined. Sprinkle yeast over water and allow to bloom for 10 minutes, or until it becomes foamy. Add bread flour and salt into yeast mixture, then turn mixer on low speed and mix until it comes together into a ball.
  2. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 12-15 minutes, or until dough is smooth. Please note, bagel dough is very tough because of the high gluten flour. If it is difficult to knead that means you have developed the gluten needed for the correct texture. Shape dough into a ball, then place in a large greased bowl. Cover with kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise until just doubled in size, or 45-60 minutes. It is better to slightly under proof than over proof.
  3. While bagels are rising, make scallion cream cheese. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and scallions until fully combined. Transfer to a resealable container and keep refrigerated until 20 minutes before ready to use.
  4. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place a 33x23 cm (9x13 inch) baking dish on the bottom of the oven, then fill with boiling water. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add brown sugar.
  5. Once dough is risen, divide dough into 12 evenly sized balls. Poke your finger through the middle of each ball and stretch out from the center to form a 5-7 cm (2-3 inch) hole. Place 2-3 bagels in boiling water, working in batches and cook for 1 minute. Carefully flip with a slotted spoon and cook for 1 minute on the other side. Place boiled bagels onto prepared baking sheets, 4 to a tray. Brush tops of the bagels with beaten egg.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown, remove, brush tops with frothed egg white, then dip in everything bagel seasoning. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until toppings are slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, slice and serve with scallion cream cheese.

 Beet-cured salmon. (credit: Eitan Productions) Beet-cured salmon. (credit: Eitan Productions)

Beet-Cured Salmon

Yield: 500 gr.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small beets, peeled and finely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1⁄4 cup roughly chopped fresh dill
  • 3 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1⁄2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 gr. skin-on center-cut salmon
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the beets, dill, salt, sugar, and pepper to taste. Place the salmon on a piece of parchment paper and apply the mixture all over the flesh side, packing it gently onto the surface.
  2. Wrap the salmon tightly in the parchment paper and place it on a large plate. Set a smaller plate on top and weigh it down, using two heavy cans or something similar. Place it in the refrigerator and let it cure until the flesh is firm to the touch, 3 to 4 days. On the second day, flip the salmon over, top again with the smaller plate, and replace the weights.
  3. Once the salmon has cured, wipe off the beet-dill mixture and discard. Thinly slice the salmon against the grain, using a thin, long knife. (The sliced salmon will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for about 1 week.)•