Friday, June 29, 2012

Homemade 12-grain bagels

I love bagels. Bagels with butter, bagels with cream cheese, bagels with tuna, olives and Gruyère... Bagels are something I always thought would be fun to make but also thought they must be too complicated. Enter the "Joy of Cooking", the cornerstone of my cooking education and experience to enlighten me.
It turns out bagels are not much harder than making your own bread or buns, you just add in the step of dropping them in boiling water for a few minutes before you bake them.  And you get that same lovely, chewy texture which will cost you $4 a bag in the store!  You could make any kind of bagel you can think of just by adding in different ingredients to flavour the dough - the possibilities are endless!

Here are some I'd like to try soon:
Cinnamon and raisin
Rosemary and black olives
Herbs and sundried tomato
Crushed peanut and chocolate chip

For now, I'll start with the 12-grain batch I made yesterday.  Here is what I did, a variation of the recipe in my Joy of Cooking.

Homemade 12 grain bagels

This is not a very quick recipe, but it is done in fits and bursts which is great for a mom who can do a step, care for the household, then come back and do the next step. 

1 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup 12 grain flour

Beaten egg white

Scald the milk, and let it cool for 10 minutes while you get your other ingredients measured and lined up. Melt the butter in it, and add the sugar and salt. When it is just warm, mix in the yeast and let sit for 3 minutes. Add the flour and mix all together well.  Here is where you could be adventurous and add some of the ingredients mentioned above to make some funky bagel flavours.
(I didn't add photos from the first steps just because it doesn't make for very exciting photography...)

Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until it  is elastic and looks like this.

Pour a glug of oil into your mixing bowl, plunk your dough in and spin it around, then flip it over and spin it again so it is nicely coated in oil.  Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place (I put it in the oven with just the light on).

Take out after 2 hour, or when it has doubled in bulk. Also, preheat oven to 400°.

Punch down and divide into 14 pieces. Joy of Cooking said 18 pieces, but even with 14 the bagels were a little on the small side. 12 would probably be ideal. 

 Roll into a snake about 7-8 inches long (little hands can help with this step) and wet the ends before bringing them together and sealing it as best you can.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet and cover.  Let rise for 15 mins. 

While they are rising, put about 8 cups of water to boil with 1 tbsp sugar.

When your bagels are nice and big, drop them in the near-boiling water. After 1 min flip it over and let cook for another 2 mins.  Do several at a time if your pot allows you.  I found some of the bagels deflated while waiting for the rest to be cooked. It is best to boil then pop in the oven as soon as you can. 

Once back on the baking sheet, brush with the beaten egg white. 

Pop in the oven for 20-25 mins until the tops are golden brown. 

Let cool on a cooling rack, not on the pans like the picture says.  

Enjoy with some cream cheese and jam like I did this morning! 
Or with cream cheese and smoked salmon like I will for lunch tomorrow... 

Breads freeze well, so bag them up in a tightly sealed freezer bag and 
take them out the night before you want to eat them. 

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