Friday, December 28, 2012

Homemade Bagels

 My kids L.O.V.E. bagels.  Plain ones with plain cream cheese.


Seriously they could eat them all the time.  Every time we go to the grocery store, they ask for them.  Now I try to be conscious of the calories they are consuming and those regular sized bagels are pretty high there on the calorie count.  And full of processed ingredients.

Don't get me wrong--bagels from the store are totally fine, it's just that if I can make something homemade I probably am going to.  I love it, it gives me a challenge.

These babies are a work, good work in my book.  They are not hard to make, they just take some time (like 2 days--mostly because they need to sit in the refrigerator overnight). And the more you make them, the better they will become (promise--this is my second batch and they turned out way better than the first.  The first batch was pretty ugly, so bad that no was allowed to take a picture of them :)

But according to everyone in my family: "they are way, way better than the store kind".  I love to hear that.  They are also their new favorite thing to take in their lunch, which gives us another option for school lunches.  And...I can make them whatever size I want.  I make them on the smaller side so they are a perfect amount for the kids.

Now I don't think I can ever go back.

Homemade Bagels

(click here for printable version)

1 tsp. instant yeast
4 cups unbleached bread flour
2 ½ cups water, at room temperature

1/2 tsp instant yeast
3 3/4 cups unbleached bread flour
2 3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp malt powder OR 1 tbsp dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar

To finish:
1 tbsp baking soda
Cornmeal, for dusting
Desired toppings (such as cinnamon-sugar, shredded cheese, seeds, etc.)
*If you want to make an ”Everything” bagel: combine 4 tsp. each of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion and 2 tsp. kosher salt to sprinkle on top)

1. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a medium mixing bowl.  Add water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (similar to pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy, bubbly, and be double in size.

2. To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment on, add all of the sponge and additional yeast and stir.  Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Mix on low until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining flour to stiffen the dough (I usually don't have to use all of the remaining flour--just watch the dough carefully).

3. Knead dough for 6 minutes. The dough should be firm, stiffer than regular bread dough, but still pliable and smooth.  There should be no pockets or streaks of flour. If the dough seems dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading.  If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add very small amounts of flour to achieve the stiffness required.  The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky at all.

4. Immediately divide the dough into equal size pieces (I do 2 oz because I do small ones. 4 1/2 oz is a standard size bagel). Form the pieces into rolls.  Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 20 minutes.

5. Line two sheet pans with baking parchment and spray lightly with non stick cooking spray.  Shape the bagels by pushing a hole through the center and stretching out the dough to make a small hole in the middle (the bagel with not rise much at this point--so whatever size hole you make that's the size it will be after you cook it). Place each of the bagels 2 inches apart on prepared pans.  Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil (or non-stick butter spray) and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let the pans sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

6. At this point you are ready to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”.  Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water.  The are ready when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water.  Take one bagel and test it.  If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator overnight.  (The bagels can be left in the refrigerator up to 2 days at this point).  If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and let it continue to sit at room temperature, checking every 10 to 20 minutes until a test bagel floats (your time needed varies according to the dough, your house, and the weather.  Mine have been ready within 20 minutes each time).

7. When you are ready to bake the bagels, preheat the oven to 500°F with two racks set in the middle of the oven.  Bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil. Add the baking soda.  Have a slotted spoon or tongs ready to use.  Also have all your topping prepared, if you are using any.

8. Remove bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many comfortably fit. After 1 minute flip them over and boil another minute.  If you like chewier bagels, extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-line sheet pans with cornmeal.  If you are putting toppings on the bagels, as soon as you remove them from the water, sprinkle on the toppings.

9. When all the bagels have been boiled, place pans on the middle shelves in your oven.  Bake for approximately 5 minutes, rotate pans, switching racks and giving the pans a 180˚ rotation.  After you have rotated the pans, lower the oven setting to 450°F and continue baking for 5 minutes more, or until the bagels turn light golden brown.  Remove, let cool completely and serve.  They also store well in the freezer.  Enjoy!

Source: Annie's Eats
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