Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bagels

In case you haven't noticed, I have a rather large sweet tooth and enjoy having a nice sweet for breakfast on a regular basis. Hence, a lot of my baking tends to lean towards the sugar filled finished product. This does not mean however, that I always need to have something sweet in the morning, this recipe proves that. I've been wanting to make both bagels and English muffins for some time now, and I can finally cross one of those off my baking to-do list. Who doesn't love a fat, chewy bagel, covered in butter, cream cheese or my personal favorite, topped with a couple of slices of swiss cheese and then toasted in the toaster oven. Savory and delicious and oh so delectable, even if they aren't loaded with sugar.



These bagels were fun to make, but they definitely aren't quick to put together. They take two days to complete, with most of the work done on day 1. Making the dough, letting it rise, and shaping are all done on this first day, and then the shaped bagels are left to sit in the fridge overnight and develop a lot of yummy flavor. Day two is just for boiling and baking, the fun part!

I ended up making 10 bagels from this recipe but the recipe says it makes 12 large or 24 mini bagels, so you can really make however many you want. However many you end up making, you won't be disappointed. These bagels ended up full off flavor, chewy and not at all dry; they toasted up beautifully and were perfect for breakfast, finished off with your favorite topping. I would for sure make these again, they really were wonderful. As fresh as you'll find anywhere, and just as good, if not better.


Getting the sponge ready

Mix it together and let it do its magic for 2 hours

2 hours later, nice and poofy

Add in the rest of the dough ingredients

Knead it up until smooth

Divide the dough

Shape into bagels, aren't they cute?
Into the fridge for an overnight retard

The next day, time to boil

All done swimming and ready for the oven

Out of the oven and ready to eat!


Yum, ready for toasting and buttering




Bagels
From The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
Ingredients
Sponge
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast 
  • 4 cups bread flour 
  • 2 1/2 cups water 
Dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast 
  • 3 3/4 cups bread flour 
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons salt 
  • 2 teaspoons malt powder or 1 tablespoon brown sugar 
To Finish
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda 
  • cornmeal for dusting 
  • Any toppings of your choosing (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt etc.) 
Directions
Start by making the sponge: mix together the yeast and flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the water and stir only until it forms a smooth batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl and let sit for about 2 hours at room temperature until the mixture is bubbly and foamy and swells to about double the original size.

Make the dough: int eh same bowl, add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir to combine. Add 3 cups of flour and all of the salt and malt or brown sugar. Mix on low speed until the ingredients form a ball, all the while mixing in the additional 3/4 cup of flour.

Knead the dough for about 6 minutes in the mixer until firm and stiff but still pliable and smooth with no traces of flour remaining. Add more water or flour as needed. The dough should be satiny and pliable but not tacky. Immediately divide the dough into equal size pieces and form them into rolls. Cover the rolls and allow them to rest for about 20 minutes.

Line 2 sheet pans with parchment and mist with oil. Shape the bagels either by poking a hole in the dough and rotating you thumb around inside the hole to widen it to about 2 1/2 inches in diameter (try to stretch the dough as evenly as possible) or by rolling the dough into a 8 inch rope and wrapping the rope around the palm of your hand, overlapping the ends and pressing the ends into the counter, rocking your hand back and forth to seal.

Place each shaped bagel onto the parchment lined pans. Mist them lightly with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Use the float test to see if the bagels are ready to go into the fridge to be retarded. Fill a bowl with cool water. Drop the bagels into the water. If they float within 10 seconds they are ready for the fridge. If they don't float, return the bagel to the pan, dry it off, and check again in 10 to 20 minutes. Once the bagels pass the float test place the covered pans in the fridge overnight (or up to 2 days).

The next day, or whenever you are ready to make the bagels, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the baking soda. Remove the bagels from the fridge and gently drop them into the water, don't overcrowd the pot. After 1 minute, turn them over and boil for another minute (if you like really chewy bagels, let them boil for 2 minutes a side). While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle cornmeal on the parchment paper. Return the boiled bagels to the cornmeal lined parchment paper and repeat with remaining bagels. If you want to top your bagels, do so right after they come out of the water.

When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans in the middle of the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the pans and switch shelves and lower the oven to 450 degrees and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or a little longer if you prefer them darker.

Remove pans from oven and let bagels rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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