1½ kgcoarse sea salt500 gmraw sugar1 tbspcrushed juniper berries½bunch of thyme2fresh bay leaves1.5 kgbeef brisket1 tspblack peppercornsTo serve:mustard cressCaramelised onion bagels30 mlolive oil 1onion, finely chopped2½ tspcaster sugar25 gmbutter125 ml (½ cup)milk1¼ tspdried yeast1egg, separated250 gmbread flour, plus extra for handling (see note)Hot mustard sauce25 gmbutter25 gmplain flour250 ml (1 cup)milk3 tspfinely grated fresh horseradish or 1½ tbsp prepared horseradish3 tsphot English mustard2 tspwholegrain mustard
Combine salt, sugar, juniper berries, half the herbs and 4 litres of water in a casserole and bring to the boil. Cool, add brisket, weight down with a plate, cover with a lid and refrigerate for 5 days. Drain brisket, discarding juniper berries and herbs, and soak in cold water in the refrigerator overnight.
For bagels, heat oil in a frying pan over low heat, add onion and ½ tsp sugar and cook until caramelised (30 minutes). Cool. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat, add milk and remaining sugar and heat until lukewarm, remove from heat and add yeast. Stand until foamy (10 minutes), then beat in eggwhite and ¼ tsp salt. Place flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add yeast mixture and mix until dough is smooth and elastic (5 minutes). Stand, covered with a tea towel, until doubled in size (30 minutes), then add onion and mix until well combined (about 3 minutes). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200C. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces and, working with one piece at a time, roll into a ball (adding more flour if dough is too sticky). Dip your finger into flour, then pierce through the centre of the dough ball. Using a hoola hoop action with your finger, spin dough around until a hole two-thirds the size of the dough is created. Place on a baking paper-lined tray and repeat with remaining dough. Stand, covered with a tea towel until slightly risen (about 5 minutes), then blanch, in batches and turning once, in the boiling water for 15 seconds. Transfer to a tray and repeat with remaining bagels. Combine egg yolk and 1 tsp water in a small bowl, brush over bagels and bake until golden (about 20 minutes).
Combine peppercorns and remaining herbs in a large saucepan. Drain brisket, add to pan, cover completely with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until meat is very tender (about 3 hours). Keep warm.
For mustard sauce, heat a saucepan over medium heat, add butter and, when beginning to melt, add flour and stir to combine. Cook until just starting to colour (2 minutes), then add milk, a little at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. Bring to boil, then whisk in horseradish and mustards and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
Warm bagels in oven, then halve horizontally. Drain and slice beef, place on half the bagel halves, spoon mustard sauce over, scatter with cress and sandwich with remaining halves.
Note Bread flour, also called '00' or strong flour, is
available from most supermarkets and select delicatessens.