Friday, January 29, 2016

#FoodieFriday: Bagels! #baking #bagel


I totally made my own bagels. 

Only recently--within the past year or so--I've gotten more brave and comfortable with working with yeast breads. 

There's something intimidating about it; you have to be so careful to make sure the yeast activates, but that you don't kill it, either. 

Dough balls that will become bagels!
What I'm discovering is that it's much less finicky than I thought, and most of my creations have turned out okay.

Now, we love a good bagel. Hubs and I grew up in New England, and appreciate them, but it's sometimes hard to find a suitable one. 

So, I figured I'd give it a shot. How hard could it be?

Not very, actually. It just takes a little time, but once you're invested, you're good.

Here's the recipe I followed. It's from Artisan Bread in Five, and wasn't hard to do at all. No kneading, even. 

Dough rings.
I let it rise on the counter top in a giant bowl for a little less than five hours, but it had ridden enthusiastically by that point and had doubled in size from what I could tell. You can use that basic bread dough for whatever kind of shaped loaf you want--it appears to make a nice white bread.

A note on the refrigerator rising. I've heard that this recipe is fine to make without rising in the refrigerator for any period of time, and I've also heard that the dough changes positively when it's had an opportunity to rise in the fridge. This is after it's risen on the counter, by the way. So, because there are two of us and this recipe makes a lot of dough and I have a crappy tiny freezer on my side-by-side, I elected to make them as needed. So, after rising on the counter, I stuck the dough in the fridge (I just kept it in the bowl it had risen on the counter in and put plastic wrap on top) and it'll sit there and I'll use it as necessary, ripping off bits to make more bagels as we eat them.

Anyway, here's the instructions for how to turn that dough recipe into bagels.

Be careful when handling the dough--it's very sticky, and tends to stick to you, your cutting board, itself, and anything else, so make sure everything is liberally floured.

Some boiled bagels on the left, some boiling in my stock pot.
I never realized how important boiling the bagels is to the process, but there was a very neat and marked texture change to the dough after it had been in the water for a bit.  Also, I used an 8 quart stock pot for the water, and used about 6 quarts. Honestly, if I used my huge pasta pot to get the full 8 quarts, the water would have taken forever to boil, and it seemed to come out fine. Just don't overcrowd the bagels when boiling them.

I did eight bagels, and made four of them sesame and four plain. I poured some sesame seeds into a bowl and patted both sides of the boiled bagels in the seeds. Worked like a charm. For the plain ones, I just kept the bottoms floured so they didn't stick.

BAGELS! (The white stuff is just excess flour.)
They both came out great. The sesame ones are, unfortunately, really frigging messy. I think I'll be finding sesame seeds until we move again. But they are delicious. They were much thinner than I thought they'd be, and were much easier to cut in half the next day. Otherwise, we just smeared cream cheese on the outsides and called it good.

We're storing them in zipper bags for now.

I'd definitely make them again. Most of the time was spent waiting for the dough to rise, but the dough itself mixed up in about 10 minutes. I think you could even do individual flavors. Because you rip off bits of dough to make each bagel, you could rip off some dough and massage in some raisins and cinnamon, or some blueberries, or some cheddar cheese. They're all made individually, so you could make all of these in the same batch. That might be what I try when we run out of this batch.

Have you made your own bagels before? Let me know if you try this recipe!

xoxo Sarah

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