Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bagels - A beautiful (and delicious) transformation

A few months ago, I made my first attempt at homemade pumpkin bagels (from a Taste of Home recipe, of course). They were terrific! I love complicated, muti-step bread recipes - and these bagels became my 'precious' as I kneaded the dough, let them rest, shaped, boiled, and baked them. With this in mind, I wanted to keep myself occupied during my first summer vacation "weekday," as my parents returned to work. I was (innocently) searching the web for a whole wheat bagel recipe when I stumbled upon a blog called "Simple Bites." On it, was a recipe for none other than honey whole wheat bagels! I read through the author's background story on the bagels, how she'd make them with her sister on Friday nights to sell the next morning, and how good she claimed they were - and I had to make them. Plain and simple. So, Monday morning, that's exactly what I did!
First, thank you to Aimee at Simple Bites! This recipe was terrific and so much fun to make!
Second, the bagels! Bagels are... magical. A complete transformation! What begins as a bowl of goupy dough made of flour, salt, honey, yeast, and water, becomes a crunchy, warm, delicious bagel!? It's magic I tell you! Hopefully you, too, can see this transformation...

After letting the warm water and yeast mingle for about 10 minutes, I added it to the whole wheat flour-honey-salt mixture. At this point, I had given up on trying to find our dough hook attachment for the mixer...so I settled for the paddle attachment (I'm so ashamed - what kind of bagel maker uses a paddle attachment when the recipe calls for a dough hook!?) It seemed to work okay though, the bagels still came out delicious! So, I continued with the recipe (and my paddle attachment) and added the bread flour, then kneaded it for 8 minutes using a spoon, because the paddle thought it'd be cool to pick up all the dough and whip it around the bowl rather than knead it.. The photo below on the left is how it looked BEFORE covering it to let it rise..
And the photo above on the right is how much it rose during that hour! Let's take a moment to appreciate this transformation. In a little over an hour, a bowl of just a few ingredients became a beautiful dough, puffed up and ready to be formed into bagels!
Well, first it was rolled into balls. Using a sharp knife, I (carefully) cut the dough into quarters, then cut those each in half, and so forth. And somehow.. I ended up with 17...(obviously simple division was never my strong point). After letting these cute little balls of whole wheat goodness rest for a couple minutes, I shaped them into bagels!
(as if one picture weren't enough, here's 3)
Look at the transformation now! And we're not even done yet!! Next, these precious little delicacies had to be covered and left to rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the pans were prepared, I brought the water (with 1 TBS of sugar) to a boil, and the egg wash and toppings were ready.
Then I finally got to bake them!! 20 minutes in the oven later.. and they had completed their final transformation! Wasn't that amazing!? Let's just take a few everyday ingredients, mix 'em together, knead a little, etc and boosh! Bagels - what!?

Some of them were shaped a bit funky.. but I'm gonna call that artistic flair! (Just a splash of posh, on my end.) My brother was the first to try them - and they earned his stamp of approval, so you know they must be good! They have just enough settle sweetness, and toasted the next day, they are delicious! I sliced mine, toasted it, and topped it with almond butter for breakfast... AMAZING! Little Cooper thought so too.. (he's my cute puppy, below).

I highly recommend you try them! It may seem like a lot of steps for a 'bagel,' but I'm telling you - it's totally worth it! Plus, you know everything in it, (it's fun!), there's no added 'stuff,' and as always, you can put your own creative twist on it! 

Find the recipe and Aimee's story at http://www.simplebites.net/honey-whole-wheat-bagels-and-this-bakers-early-beginnings/ (Thanks again, Aimee!)

With love (for food),
Ellen
--A dash of posh can make all the difference in your next dish!--