Monday, October 25, 2010
With all the bread I have made in my life, I don't know how I've never gotten around to making bagels before. I wouldn't say I'm a huge bagel fan but I really do like a good bagel, especially for a nice sandwich or toasted in the morning for a quick breakfast. The technique for making bagels, with boiling and then baking also intrigued me, so again not sure why I haven't ever tried it.
To make up for lost bagel making time, I've made them for the last two weekends now and gotten to experiment a bit with different flavor combination's. The first weekend I just made plain bagels just to try out the recipe and get a feel for it. Last weekend I went all out and mixed up four different flavor's: Blueberry, Cinnamon Raisin, Garlic and Parmesan and Sesame Seed. They all turned out great and it was a lot of fun getting to play with a new recipe.
The recipe I used came from one of my favorite books, the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book. It used eggs which was different than many of the bagel recipes that I had seen but I thought it was a great recipe. The original recipe said it made 12 bagels, but when I followed that the first time, they seemed awfully large, so the second time I only used 2 oz. of dough and it ended up with 16 bagels which I thought was a much better size. The technique of boiling the bagels was fun and not overly difficult and it creates that perfect chewy texture and soft interior that you'd expect from your favorite bagel shop. Overall I'm excited to have finally tried them and I'm excited to keep experimenting with more flavors in the future!
adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Baking
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 1/2 cups water
2 packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs, at room temperature
7 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 large egg, beaten
In a saucepan, combine the potatoes and water, bring to a boil, and cook until fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving water.
Measure two cups of the potato water into the bowl of a mixer and let cool to warm (110 degrees). Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the oil and eggs and use a wire whisk to combine. Whisk in two cups of the flour and the salt until smooth, about 2 minutes. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook, and mix in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, using just enough to form a soft dough. Knead the dough in low speed until smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl.
Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough into 2 oz. pieces or approximately 16 pieces and using your palms, roll each piece into a rope 9 inches long. Using the heel of your hand, flatten 1 inch of one end of each rope. Form each bagel by overlapping the flat end of the rope over 1 inch of the round end. Pinch together firmly. As the bagels are formed, set them aside on a lightly floured surface. Cover all bagels loosely with a kitchen towel and let them rest until they are barely puffy when lifted, about 15 minutes.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 425 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Fill a large, wide pot three-fourths full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil. Using a large slotted spoon, gently lower 3 bagels into the water. Do not crows them, or they will lose their round shape. Simmer 1 minute, then turn the bagels over and simmer 1 minute longer. Transfer the bagels to the prepared pan, spacing them 1 inch apart. Repeat until all the bagels are boiled
Brush the bagels with the beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.