Monday, November 10, 2008

Bagel Bliss

I've never even considered making bagels before. I don't know, it always seemed impossible, although admittedly I never even looked at a recipe! Sometimes you have to stop and look into something rather than continually dismissing it, because often, you may be surprised.

And surprised is what I am about HOW EASY making bagels are. Now, as I write this, I'm trying to determine whether it is easy because I know how to make bread, or if its easy, because I have had many, many, MANY failed attempts at baking bread, and this is easier than baking bread. In other words, I'm not sure if one should "master" making bread first before making bagels, or if, like I, you have had many, many, MANY failed attempts at bread baking, if you should put that to the side and try this first. I don't know - I think everyone should try this - it was fast and fun! Enough rambling, let me give you the recipe (with my many comments):

First, I found the recipe at this link:

You can go there directly to get the exact recipe. I will give you my comments based on the above recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups warm water (I always just take hot water from my tap)
4.5 teaspoons of yeast
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of salt*
5.5-6 cups of flour

*(I DID NOT USE SALT - I'VE LEARNED THAT SALT INHIBITS YEAST, AND ONE OF THE COMMENTS ON THE WEBSITE SAID THAT SHE HAD TROUBLE WITH THE BAGELS RISING. I HAD NO TROUBLES WITH RISING)

Directions

1. I combined the water, sugar, and yeast in my stand mixer. I let this sit for a few minutes until the mixture started to get foamy.

2. I added 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and combined it. I then added the remaining flour about 1/2 cup at a time until a ball forms. After the dough had enough flour, I had the machine knead it for about 3 minutes, adding more flour a little at a time if necessary.

3. I then added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a handful of raisins (cinnamon/raisin bagels are my kids' favorite). I had the machine knead in the ingredients until just combined, about 1 minute. I then lifted the dough ball, sprayed the bowl, turned the dough over, giving one last little spray to the top of the dough. I covered it with a towel and let it rise (1st RISE) for 20 minutes.

4. After the dough is risen (it just about doubled in size). I punched the dough down and placed on a floured work surface. I separated the dough into 16 portions (next time I may do 24 as the bagels were rather large). I did this by pinching off the dough. I've read that if you cut the dough with a knife, it breaks apart the gluten strands, and well, that is what keeps bread together! I chose the "finger in the middle method" as described on the website above. Basically, I took the dough portions, very gently rolled it in my hand (the dough doesn't rise much at the 2nd rising, so only do this if necessary - I didn't have to roll all of them). I then placed the dough on the floured counter, poked my finger through the middle. While my finger remained in the dough, I made the dough do a "hula-hoop" around my finger - or imagine the counter is a cup of coffee, and your finger the spoon, and stir :) I hope that explains it well.

5. I put parchment paper on my baking sheets, and placed the formed bagels on them. I covered with plastic wrap that had been sprayed on one side with nonstick spray. I placed them in a draft free location and let them rise at room temperature until puffy, about 20 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, I added water to a 5 quart soup pot, and set to boil. After the 2nd rise, I dropped the bagels one at a time into the boiling water. I boiled the bagels about 3-4 at a time or only so many that they float freely, and are not crowded. I let them simmer for 30 seconds on each side, turning with a slotted spatula. I removed and placed them gently on a lightly greased cooling rack for a few minutes to drain.

7. Once all the bagels were boiled and drained, I placed them back on the baking racks lined with parchment paper and then sprayed them all with my non-stick spray.

8. I then baked the bagels for 20 minutes at 400°F.
We didn't wait very long for them to cool, although we did for a little bit.
They came out perfectly! Very moist on the inside, and a little chewy on the outside (like every good bagel should be). We lathered them while still warm with cream cheese and called it lunch! (by the way, these are all pictures I took just a few minutes ago, they even look like bagels!)


You HAVE to try it! I am planning on looking up how to make "Everything" bagels as those are my husband's favorite. On the website, it said you can split the dough at a certain point, and add different ingredients to each dough batch. Maybe I'll try that, or judging how fast we may go through these, I'll probably just make one normal batch of each flavor.

Happy bagel-ing :)

6 comments:

Liz said...

I will try them. Almost sounds like pretzels...have you ever made those? YUM! I will give it a try..thanks. Liz

Jen said...

Hi Liz! No, I haven't made pretzels, but as I was eating a bagel at lunch, I thought to myself that this could easily be a pretzel!

I did a little research, and found the toppings for an "Everything" bagel would be 1/2 an onion, chopped very fine, a clove of garlic, chopped very fine (I'd mince it), and sesame seeds. Now, in the recipe I posted, it says you would add that before boiling, however I would dip the bagel in the everything mixture after boiling, but before baking.

Let me know how it turns out! SO easy!

The Crazy Bus said...

Hey! Those look sooooo good! You go girl!!

Barb J. said...

I, too, have always felt that bagels would be hard to make. But I looked carefully at this recipes, and with your encouraging words, I think I am going to give a go!

Nathan said...

I make both bagels and pretzels and they are similar - and both fun to make!

sodbusters said...

Oh. My. Those loook delicious! With cream cheese and butter... MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

I'm hungry!

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow