Friday, August 20, 2010

Bagels, take one.

I really love bagels. Really, really. I like mine either toasted with a bit of butter, fresh and plain or as a delicious, dense base for a sandwich. When I was growing up in New Zealand the bagel situation was pretty dire, there was one great bagel bakery in Auckland that we would visit whenever we were there and bring bags and bags back for the freezer to escape the supermarket white bread with a hole in the middle fate.

Bagels have always been something I've wanted to try making myself, but always seemed way too daunting. The whole boil then bake part sounded like it was going to be tricky and time consuming, but it was actually really easy! The dough is simple, the boiling isn't scary, and even though you have to wait for your dough to rise it's enough time to go and do something else. We're inundated with BC blueberries at the moment, so since we had a bunch in our fridge and freezer I thought rather than start with a plain bagel I'd go straight into the fruity and sweet! I looked around at a few different recipes and techniques for this, so I'll just write down what I did. I'm not sure if next time I'd use dried blueberries or not, as the kneading part was.....interesting. I'd not even thought about the fact that they'd be so juicy, but thankfully I hadn't added all my flour so I was able to save the dough and it all worked out in the end!
Blueberry Bagels

- 2 cups warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 pkg, I think?)
- 5ish cups flour
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh, frozen or dried.

1. Combine warm water, yeast and sugar and leave for 5 minutes. Your yeast should start rising and bubbling a bit, if not then your yeast has expired.
2. Add salt and about 4 cups of flour, taking your time to mix a bit after every cup of flour.
3. Fold in the blueberries and kneed your dough to combine (this is where it gets messy if your blueberries aren't dried, don't worry though it'll sort itself out). Once it is fairly combined, continue adding the remainder of the flour. This should soak up any blueberry juice that's escaped to make your dough sticky.
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for around 10minutes until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
6. Place your dough in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Place somewhere warm (I use my oven, make sure it is turned off and remove it before preheating!! I....did not.) and leave to rise for an hour.
7. Once your dough has risen, punch it down and break it into 10-15 pieces depending on the size you want your bagel. You then want to shape it into the bagel, either by rolling it into a ball and poking your thumbs through the middle or rolling them into snakes and joining the ends. The second option can be tricky because when they boil the puff up and can come undone.
8. Cover and leave the bagels to rise for 25min, and bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a couple teaspoons of sugar to the water. Preheat your oven to 400 F
9. Oil or dust with flour/cornmeal your trays*. Once your bagels have risen again, start boiling them. Place as many as will comfortably fit in the pot and submerge. Cook for 1min and flip to cook for 1min on the other side. Remove and place on the prepared tray.
10. Bake your bagels for 10min on each side, remove and let cool. Enjoy!

*I used oil, as the fancy bagel said too, but I found it pretty tricky to remove them from the tray. So I'm not sure if I didn't use enough oil, or should have just floured the tray.

This recipe could be used as a base really easily, just take out the blueberries and have some seeds ready to dip your bagels in once they come out of the boiling water for a savoury bagel. Yum!
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