Thursday, January 6, 2011

Adventures in Bagel Making

Posted by - Dorrie

This month I got to choose the baking challenge on Have the Cake. As much as I love all the sweet stuff, I thought I would try more of a straight "baking" challenge and offer up bagels as this month's contest.

Before attempting this project however, I needed to finish my other project in the kitchen - painting. Before Christmas I started painting the kitchen, suffering from a brief memory lapse that allowed me to think that with a toddler and a 9-month-old I would be able to find the time to complete the painting before Christmas. Thanks to some wonderful friends who took the kids for a few hours this weekend, we finally completed the painting and here is the finished product:

New Kitchen Color
New Kitchen Color

And now on to bagels!

The bagel recipe that I used was one clipped from an old Sunset magazine of my mother's. It's a recipe for Asiago bagels, but since I didn't have Asiago (and don't really like Asiago bagels) I made onion bagels and Everything bagels with the basic bagel recipe.

Onion/Everything Bagels (Makes 12 bagels)

2 packages active dry yeast

3 Tblsp. sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

3 Tblsp. dehydrated onion (optional)

About 6 cups all-purpose flour

1 large egg yolk

1. Combine yeast and 2 cups of warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand 5 minutes until the yeast has bloomed. Mix in the sugar, onion, salt, and 5 1/2 cups of the flour until the dough forms a sticky ball.

2. Spread 1/2 cup of flour on a board and knead the flour into the dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, adding flour if necessary.

3. Put the dough into a warmed and oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a cloth towel. (To warm the bowl swish hot water around the bowl, dry off the excess and then oil the bowl.) Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 40 minutes).

4. Once the dough has risen, knead the dough briefly on a floured board and then divide into 12 equal portions. Form each piece into a ball and then while holding the ball in both hands use your thumbs to form a hole in the center of the ball. Keeping a thumb in the center, work around the bagel to make it smooth and evenly thick.

5. Allow the bagels to rise on a floured board, covered, for about 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.

7. Once the bagels have risen, drop them into the boiling water and boil until the bagels are spongy, but firm, 3 to 5 minutes.

8. Remove the bagels from the water with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on a towel or board. Once drained, put the bagels on greased baking sheets.

9. Beat the egg yolk with 1 Tblsp water and brush over the bagels. Add more onions for onion bagels and for "Everything" bagels, sprinkle with onion, salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and anything else you would like!

10. Bake the bagels in a 375 degree oven until browned, 30-35 minutes, and then cool on racks.

The dough itself was easy to make and I got it done quickly while the baby was napping and Anna was at her pre-pre-school class.

I do love kneading bread dough - there's something really relaxing about the folding and pushing of the soft dough under my hands. It was especially lovely kneading the dough since the baby was quiet, Anna was gone and I was listening to the "Garden State" soundtrack. I then let it rise in my warmed, oiled bowl:

Bagel dough
Bagel dough

Once I had formed the bagels (I really did not get the "12 equal portions" thing right!) and they had risen, I plopped them into the boiling water.

Boiling bagels
Boiling bagels

Fair warning here - I discovered that bagels get MUCH larger while they are boiling - I ended up with some really huge bagels!

After they were drained I basted the bagels with the egg wash and since I was using a paintbrush Anna, who was back from class by then, had to help with the basting:

Anna basting bagels
Anna basting bagels

She also had a great time helping me sprinkle all of the toppings onto the bagels...

While I was trying to boil, baste and then bake the bagels I had stupidly timed it to coincide with lunch time. So, while I was boiling bagels I was trying to also feed Henry his baby cereal and make Anna's lunch. It became a little hectic and I accidentally left Henry with the cereal spoon within reach. After sliming himself with the cereal from the spoon he got tired and starting pulling at his hair, resulting in this:

Henry disaster
Henry disaster

And yes, there was a bath for the small boy after the bagels were done...

But the chaos was well worth it as the bagels turned out beautifully!

Finished bagels
Finished bagels

They were yummy and chewy; just what I was hoping for in my bagel making adventure!


pfeffernc said...

Yum! On both the kitchen and the bagels.

Elena G. said...

Yum!! They look delicious, especially with all the toppings!