Category Archives: Baking

Building a sustainable home

Bagels or BUST: Pros & Cons

My husband and I are leaving for our 2nd Annual Moose Hunting Trip to B.F.E. Last year I scored “brownie points” preparing all of our dinners a head of time,  then just packing them in the cooler, frozen, the morning we hit the road.

No, I am not an overachiever…I’m just CHEAP.

Have you seen the price of those freeze-dried thingies?!

AND I am a girl; do ya think I want to eat re-hydrated cardboard if I can avoid it? I’m already following a man around in the 30* swamps just to shoot a freakin’ moose! Hello?

So, I decided to “kick it up a notch” by making something a little extra…Well, I guess that would be the definition of overachiever, now wouldn’t it?

Any who…moving on… (:

Friday night I got a wild idea and decided to make BAGELS, Cinnamon Raisin to be exact.

As the neglected stepchild to the doughnut, these babies often are stuck with the “too difficult to bother” status when it comes to household bakers. However, I am here to tell you…..my dog could make these little morsels.

Literally, the recipe is flour, salt, yeast and brown sugar…and if you count water, water.

THAT IS IT!

It originally makes eight 4” bagels, but I’m envisioning him throwing a couple in his pack for lunch in the morning before he hits the trail, so eight is not enough.

Let’s begin at the beginning:

The recipe calls for 4 cups of Unbleached Bread Flour (1) I doubled it to 8 cups in a large steel bowl: 4 cups of over processed white flour and 4 cups unbleached. To that I got carried away and added a couple handfuls of wheat bran and a tablespoon of wheat germ…optional of course…I like to fly by the seat of my pants when no one’s around to complain. To that, I added my 4 teaspoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of active dry yeast. Now, the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, but since I was making Cinnamon Raisin, it would need to be slightly sweeter dough, right? Therefore, I added 3…and tasted the sweetness of the dry mixture as it was. Nope, it needed ONE MORE… 4 tablespoons total.

Mixing it by hand is a delightful feeling; the flour is so cool and soft. A person could consider it a Zen moment…Naaah.

Normally, I’d throw the whole kitten-caboodle in the stand mixer and let that bad boy do all the heavy lifting. Unfortunately, my house elves put the mixer head in the dishwasher and magically washed off all of its shiny finish. Poof, I’m thrown back to the dark ages, remembering how my mother still wrestles her dough around.

10 minutes…4 lbs. of dough…and it looks like a blizzard hit my clean kitchen.

Seriously, if my kitchen is CLEAN…it’s because I’m sleeping.

Into the oven, goes “Bob the Blob” to rise. It doubles in size at about an hour and a half.

BREAK TIME! Facebook here I come! Yippee!

Here comes the fun part…

Punching down and kneading the dough briefly to distribute the air bubbles evenly and cut it up in to 16 even pieces. The recipe says to knead them back into balls (2) to rise again for 30 minutes.

NOW I get to poke holes in the middle and twirl the dough around my fingers to make bagels.

From here, I drop the bagels into 4 quarts of boiling water with 4 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of white: boiling the buggers for 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on other.

I know that seems like a lot of sugar, but a this point I’m just doubling the recipe.

I transferred them to a cookie rack to drain the drips while they a waited the oven.

Once finished with bathing all of the bagels, I popped them into a 450* oven for 25 minutes or until they “reached the desired brownness.”

OK…this is where my baking train derailed.

Um…”desired brownness”…let me save you from shouting obscenities into the oven.

There’s a fine line between perfectly brown and, um, NOT…like 2.2 seconds. It dawned on me at that moment that I just boiled them in SUGAR WATER and what does sugar to with efficiency…BURN!!!

I spent the next 25 minutes camped out in front of the oven, having an OCD moment.

Thankfully those browned up just PEACHY (:

Since it’s been a couple days and most bagels have been consumed by the house elves, I would change a few things next time:

1.) I used all-purpose (AP) flour instead of the bread flour, which changes the level of gluten in the dough, or I need to shorten time in the boiling water, because all though they had awesome flavor…they were a bit rubbery.

2.) I’ll form them into bagels BEFORE the second rise to retain more air in the dough.

Other than that, it was a success for my first bagel adventure and the result has been “Kid Approved.”

If only I had remembered to actually add the cinnamon and raisins. LOL (:

Happy Baking!

Original Recipe was from King Arthur Flour

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