Chez Jo Goldenberg was a famous Jewish restaurant and delicatessen in Le Marais, the historical Jewish quarter of Paris. This area had become the home to hundreds-of-thousands of eastern European Jews who fled the pogroms at the turn of the century. Through the years, Kosher eateries, markets, and shops lined the busy Rue des Rosiers. In one brief moment, Chez Jo Goldenberg went from being a popular destination in Paris to become famous throughout the world.
That brief moment was August 9th 1982, when three Palestinian terrorists, tossed several hand grenades into the busy dining room and then rushed in firing machine guns indiscriminately. Six people were killed, including two Americans, and twenty four were injured in what was called at the time “the heaviest toll suffered by Jews in France since World War II.” As horrible as that day was, the scandal that was uncovered 33 years later was, in some ways, just as shocking. French authorities reportedly had secretly agreed later that year not to prosecute the “Rosiers Street killers” if the terror group pledged not to attack French targets again.
Although the restaurant closed in 2006 and owner Jo Goldenberg died in 2014, this is his original recipe has lived on in Montreal, Canada, and has been adapted here for the home cook to painlessly recreate and understand why the restaurant’s bagels were so popular in the first place.
Jo Goldenberg’s Bagels
- Large baking sheet with baking rack, large soup pot
- 3½ cups Bread flour
- 2½ tsp Instant dry yeast or 1 packet active dry (rapid rise)
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Honey
- 1½ tbsp Barley malt syrup (or 1 tbsp sugar or honey)
- 1 Egg beaten with 1 tsp water, for egg wash
- Toppings – sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic and/or onion flakes, everything bagel spice, pretzel salt, or nothing ("plain")
- ¼ cup Cornmeal
- Combine flour, dry yeast, sugar and 1 tbsp Kosher salt in food processor and pulse about 5 seconds to mix. With processor running pour 1½ cup hot tap water and 1 tsp honey. Process about 30 seconds until dough starts to come together and rides-up over the blade. Scrape down sides and process another 30 seconds or-so. Dough will become satiny and elastic.
- Transfer dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap or a snap on cover. Leave bowl on a counter in a warm room or place in an oven warmed by turning its internal lights. Let dough rise for about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (177°C). Prepare water bath by combining barley malt syrup (use honey for Montreal bagels) and 6 quarts water. Let it come to a boil while preparing the bagels.
- Turn out risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Press down dough with fingers to release any trapped gasses. Roll into a log and divide log into 8 equal slices. Roll slices into balls and then roll each into a "rope" around 7-inches long with ends slightly tapered. *See notes for Montreal bagels.
- Wrap a "rope" around the back of your hand, ends in you palm. Place your hand palm-side down and roll back-and-forth until ends crimp together and seal. *See notes for rolling Montreal bagels. Put bagels on a lightly greased baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow bagels to rise for another 10 minutes.
- Place a kitchen towel next to the boiling water. With a wide slotted spoon place 3 bagels at a time into the boiling water. They should drop to the bottom and then resurface after 5 seconds. Boil 30 seconds, turn over, and boil another 30 seconds. Transfer bagels to the kitchen towel, flatter side down, and pat dry. Repeat until all done. Let boiled bagels sit for 10 minutes uncovered.
- Place bagels on a baking rack over an ungreased or nonstick baking sheet. Paint the top of the bagels with egg wash. Liberally sprinkle preferred topping over each. Remove rack from pan and shake excess seeds from the pan. Lightly oil same baking sheet and dust with cornmeal, if desired.
- Place baking sheet in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. If desired, turn bagels over and cook 5 minutes more. Remove pan from oven and let them cool a bit before eating, if that's possible.
- If forming bagel shapes seems too daunting, fingers poked into the middle of each flattened ball can be used. Widen hole in middle by pulling to sides.
- To make Montreal bagels, press dough balls into disks. Then poke thumbs down through the middle and stretch hole until a large circle is formed in the middle. Finish cooking as described in the Instructions above. Be sure to use honey instead of barley malt.
- If barley malt syrup can’t be found, use an equal amount of honey instead.
- For a denser bagel, 1 tbsp barley malt syrup may be added to liquid for making dough.
- Be sure to use bread dough as regular all-purpose dough doesn’t do it.
- Unused bagels will last a day-or-two before hardening. Sliced bagels freeze very well and defrost quickly.