You can make wonderful bagel bread following these directions. While this assumes a bread machine mix, you can use a recipe of your own. Select a lean bread recipe, that is, a recipe that calls for no eggs and a minimum amount of oil or butter. The bread should not be sweet so choose a recipe with minimal sugar.

Directions:

Mix the dough according to recipe directions but use only two tablespoons of oil–either olive or vegetable oil. If the dough is too wet to handle, add another tablespoon or two of flour. Grease a large bowl. Remove the dough to the bowl and turn once to coat both sides. Cover and let rise until doubled, usually over an hour.

Prepare a large cookie or baking sheet by greasing and sprinkling with cornmeal. The sheet should be at least 20 inches long.

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Turn the risen dough out onto a countertop. Divide the dough with a sharp knife into two parts, one piece twice as large as the other. Divide both the larger and smaller piece into three equals pieces so that you have six pieces of dough. Roll the pieces on the counter under your palms to form ropes about an inch in diameter. The larger ropes should be 18 to 20 inches long; the smaller ropes about 16 inches.

Braid the longer ropes together and the smaller ropes together in three strand braids as shown. Pinch the ends together to keep the braids from unraveling as the dough rises. Place the larger braid on the sheet and center the smaller braid on top of the larger. Cover with plastic and let rise until well doubled and very puffy, about another hour.

Place two tablespoons water and two tablespoons of oil in a bowl. Chop one medium onion and add it to the oil and water mixture. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder to the mixture. Stir and let sit while the dough rises.

In a cup, create an egg wash by mixing one egg yolk with one tablespoon water and stirring with a fork or whisk until well mixed.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the dough has risen, brush the loaf with the egg wash to coat. Spoon the topping on the loaf as shown. Sprinkle the loaf with course salt and place the bread in the oven.

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Bake the loaf for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and loosely cover the top of the loaf with aluminum foil to keep from burning the topping. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and check for doneness. If you have a thermometer, the center of the loaf should test 200 degrees. Turn the oven off and place the loaf back in the oven for five minutes without the aluminum foil cover. The last five minutes in the oven will develop a thicker crust. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

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