I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bagels, baby!

 Few things in life make me as genuinely happy as the smell of yeast.  If there were a yeast scented candle, I'd burn it.  If there were a yeast scented perfume, I wouldn't wear it, but I would spray it around my house every morning.  I love it.  Something about it warms my soul.  I think it just reminds me of being a little kid and my mom and grandma making cinnamon rolls right before a big family reunion.  Regardless of what it is, if there's a bread product I can make with yeast, I want to learn how to do it.  For years after I got married, I tried to keep bagels in the house.  The hubs is a big fan.  It occurred to me one day, however, that bagels had yeast in them...and that equals deliciousness.  Hence, this bagel recipe has become quite a staple in my house.  I will admit, when I first saw this technique, I was skeptical.  Trust me, though.  It works, and it's so yummy!

What you'll need:
4 1/2 cups of flour
2 packages (or 4 tsp) of yeast
1 1/2 cups of warm water 
1 tbsp of salt
3 tbsp of sugar

And whatever else (if anything) you want to add!

You will also need a gallon of water and another tbsp of sugar later.

This yeast recipe is a bit different than most.  Generally speaking, you're going to mix your yeast and water, let the yeast "bloom" (like with cinnamon rolls) and then add it to the flour.  Not this time.  This time, you're going to add your yeast to 1 1/12 cups of flour in a nice big bowl.  Mix the two together and set aside.

Mix your water, salt, and 3 tbsp of sugar together and mix it up until the sugar and salt dissolve.  Once dissolved, add the salty sugar water to your flour and yeast.  Combine, then mix on high for three minutes.  It's going to be really runny- not like a dough at all.

Now by hand, mix in 2 1/2 cups of flour.  This is very important.  Do NOT add all the flour right now.  This took me several fails to figure out why my bagels were really tough.  You have to knead your dough on a floured surface, so I reserve that last 1/2 cup to flour my counter top.  If I don't, I will end up with too much in the dough, and we will all be eating bagel flavored rocks.

Knead for 8 minutes or so- just until the dough is like elastic.

Toward the end of your kneading, you can add any little additions you'd like.  Some great examples would be dried cranberries, cinnamon, or pecans.  (If you're going to add cheese, do it before baking instead of now.)  

Once kneaded, cover your dough ball with a damp cloth and let rest for 15 minutes.  After they rest, you're going to cut it into 8 equal pieces and form your bagels.  Don't fret.  They are going to be tiny little things.  They grow.  Cover again, and let rise for 20 minutes.  While they are rising, get a great big pot, pour in a gallon of water, and get 'er a boiling.

When your bagels have risen a bit and your water is boiling all nice and big, add your last tbsp of sugar to your water, and start dropping in your dough just a few bagels at a time!  Seriously.  You're going to boil your dough.  Gross, right?  It was so nasty sounding to me, too.  Something about the boiling stage makes the outside super chewy and amazingly delicious though.

Boil them for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Flip, and boil another 3 minutes.  Take them out to drain a bit on a towel.

This is a bit of a tedious process.  Find something productive to do between flips....like work on your blog.  

Once they've all been boiled, bake on a greased baking dish (I used a big 9x13 glass dish and two glass pie plates.  I tried cookie sheets, but they burned every single time.  Glass just works better.) at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.  When they are browned on the bottom, flip them and cook another 15 minutes or so, just until browned on both sides. 

These are so yummy, especially fresh from the oven with some cream cheese.  These can also be formed into just balls and used as bread bowls!  Enjoy this delicious warmness and the unbelievable scent of yeast as it fills your home!

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