Homemade Bagels With Za'atar and Old Bay

We had two really snowy days last week. And it was heaven. The weekend’s snow started with hours and hours of rain-turned-to-sleet-turned-to-snow. The next morning, I woke up and realized that we had a giant blanket of snow! It was everywhere. My first thought? We don’t have enough savory breakfast items in this house! Instead of doing the normal thing of just driving to the store, when you aren’t really snowed in, I decided to take it upon myself to make savory items! What better than bagels? 
I vividly remember never wanting to sleep at the end of high school – and would just bake through the nights. My parents woke up to pastries, and I went to school. I tried to be super-extra quiet so they couldn’t hear me working in the kitchen through the night. The most vivid memory I have of this time in my life, was bagel-making. Their smell is intoxicating. Usually after being in the kitchen with your baked things, you can’t really tell if they smell good in the oven, or not. But you can with bagels. I remembered that smell and the feelings of baking all night when I made these again last week. It’s a really fresh, yeasty smell (my favorite smell).
And I love tapping the exterior of the bagels to hear how crunchy they are – and the hollow “I’M DONE!” sound of perfectly cooked bread.
For this particular batch of bagels, I wanted them to be salty. To cure all of my salty cravings for the snow day so I wouldn’t have to leave the house. You could really put almost any toppings on your bagels, as bagel chains have shown us through the years. My ideal bagel is covered in everything toppings, but with extra garlic, extra onion, and extra salt. So much salt. I didn’t have any dried garlic or onion, so I used the next saltiest, umamiest (umamiest??) thing I could think of: Old Bay. Because when you live in Nebraska and don’t have crab boils, you gotta think of ways to use this salty goodness. I also put za’atar on top of some. Za’atar is amazing spice blend of thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and oregano. I, of course, added more salt to mine.
Get creative, and have fun. This makes a ton of bagels. You will have to share with your friends, or – share some and freeze the rest. I recommend cutting them in half the long way first, then freezing They are tough to cut when frozen and having them pre-cut means they can go in the toaster easier and faster.
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