Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Everything Bagels

All summer the post office across the street from the Brain's law firm has been having work done. It has been some serious entertainment. At the end of it all, the workers landscaped the front and planted some grass seed. They put down some straw to keep the birds away and left. Today, before the rain came, large gusts of wind blew through town and picked up all that straw in one big swirly mass. It was like what I imagine a sandstorm would except it was straw. We couldn't even see across the street.

Sometimes things we see everyday, like straw can be transformed into something magical. The Brain and I had this experience with our everything bagels. Before now, if we wanted an everything bagel, we went to the grocery store and looked for one. And those barely taste like anything. When we travel we might stop on the tollway and get one from Einstein Bros. Bagels. So everything bagels haven't been a common occurrence out here in nowhere land.
But, feeling like I need a break from the steady stream of vegetables going on over here. Especially after getting seriously creative with those turnips, I needed to work with something I know would work out for me. Baked Goods. Bolstered by my repeated success with Martha Stewart's pretzels, I decided to attempt bagels. (Also there's a neat food event going on over at Sweet Sins called Bread Baking Day #6 Shaped Bread and this is my entry for it.)

I mixed and kneaded and when it came to shaping, the Brain was seriously interested in what I was doing. So he sat there and measured out little 3 ounce blobs of dough and I rolled them into what I thought were mini bagels. Half of them I made into balls and poked holes in them. The other half I made into ropes and from the ropes into circles. I think the rope/circle method worked better than poking holes, but by the end I couldn't tell which were which. After letting them rise and then boiling them, I created a mixture of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dehydrated minced garlic, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and caraway seeds. Then I pressed the bagel tops into this mixture.

They came out WAY better than buying them at the store. And since my little town has no bakery other than WalMart (blech) we will most likely make these again. frequently. maybe when the family comes into town. maybe just because we like bagels. maybe just because we like THESE bagels. And really although the Joy of Cooking recipe says it makes 8 bagels and we got 16 good sized bagels out of it, there was nothing mini about them.

from the Joy of Cooking

Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes:
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm (105° to 115° F) water
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Stir in:
1 Tbsp melted vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 cup bread flour
Gradually stir in:
3 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour*
Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let rest, covered, 15 to 20 minutes.
Punch down the dough and divide into 16 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope tapering the ends. Wet the ends to help seal and form into rings, stretching the top end over and around the bottom end and pinching them together underneath. Or alternately, roll each piece of dough into a ball. Stick your thumb through the ball to make a hole. Stretch the hole out about 2 inches. Let rise, covered, on a floured board about 15 minutes, until puffy.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bring to a boil in a large pot:
4 quarts water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Drop the rings 4 at a time into the boiling water. As the bagels surface, turn them over and cook about 45 seconds longer. Skim out and place on an ungreased baking sheet coated with:
Press the tops of the bagels in a combination of
Caraway seeds
Kosher salt
Sesame seeds
Poppy seeds
Minced granulated garlic
Cracked black pepper
in a 1:1:1:1:1:1 ratio. (1 part of each). Bake 20 to 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

* I had to use a lot more flour. I think it may have been humid in my kitchen. That happens a lot.


Cynthia said...

I have to try making these sometime.

Deborah said...

This reminds me that I haven't had a bagel in a long time!! Your bagels look perfect!

Pixie said...

Now, bagels, are definately something I must learn to make. You don't get very good bagels around the UK, imo. The only bagels I like are about 2 hours away from me. Thanks for sharing....will be printing up in just a minute!

Karen Downing said...

These are beautiful bagels!

Eva said...

Sorry for the long delay, Mary! I just discovered your entry in my spam folder... I'm about to add it to the round-up now!