This month I am participating in the Love and Olive Oil Kitchen Challenge. Each month in 2013, Lindsay is challenging herself and her readers to make something that seems “scary” or that she has always wanted to make. This months challenge is Bagels, and being the Carbohydrate Queen I am, jumped at the opportunity.
Note: This article contains a lot of text. I felt this was necessary to explain why this was a challenge, and to explain how it’s really not hard at all. I also felt it was necessary to explain why I did what I did; how I differed from the original source, and to explain the technique of making and forming bagels. If you would like to skip down to the recipe, feel free to do so. However, it is recommended to read the entire post before baking the bagels.
But I couldn’t just make any old plain bagel. I had to make something new, interesting, and summary. I love Panera and go there frequently when I am at school for bagels, and love all their interesting flavors with different types of crumb toppings. (PS: Pumpkin spice bagels with pumpkin spice lattes are a perfect fall breakfast) So I decided to create a summer ode to the perfection that is Panera Crumb Topping bagels and made a S’mores Bagels. I love bagels, I love S’mores, combining the two was destiny.
Not that making this was easy. It seems easy; a yeasted dough baking at a high temperature and topped with graham crackers, chocolate chips, and marshmallow bits. I love yeasted doughs and make them all the time. However, making bagels is a two day long process that involves two raises, proofing, an overnight rest, and being boiled before you bake them for a mere 16 minutes.
And then there are the ingredients. The original recipe calls for barley malt syrup. What the heck is that? The recipe stated that it can be found in most grocery stores, but I didn’t see it. I opted to use molasses, which didn’t seem to make too much of a difference. (Of course, now I have almost an entire bottle of molasses to use up, which I need to think of ways to do. If anyone has suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.)
Looking back, I can see why this was such a challenge and seems scary!
After letting the dough rise, we shape the bagels, after dividing them into 6-8 parts. I made 6. There are two ways to do this: The easy way, and the way that professionals prefer to use. I did both, and preferred the easy way. The professional way is to roll the mound of dough into a long rope, moisten the ends, wrap the rope around your hand with the ends meeting between your thumb and forefinger, and roll the circle for a bit to close the seam. Confused yet?
The easy way is to make a hole in the mound of dough with your thumbs and to stretch it out to about two inches in diameter. You can see why I preferred this way!
We let them sit overnight on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat that is lightly oiled. Make sure you do this in the fridge, we don’t want the bagels to rise any more! About 60-90 minutes before baking, pull them out and perform a “float test:” fill a small bowl with cold water and dip one of the bagels into it. If the bagel floats, they are ready to bake. If not, put them back in the fridge and pull them out in about an hour.
Next is the boiling. This step is necessary because it creates the tight crumb that bagels are known for. You know how the air pockets in italian or other sandwich breads are much bigger than in bagels or pretzels? That’s what “tight crumb” means. There are less air pockets and the bread as a whole is more dense. This is a result of boiling the bread before baking. Instead of boiling in just plain water, we add some molasses, salt, and baking soda. Technically, you are supposed to add these after bringing the water to a boil, but I added them all at once and my bagels turned out fine.
Turn the heat down to low and dunk the donuts in the water and let them simmer for a minute or so. Flip them over and let them soak for about 15-30 more seconds before removing from the water and placing on a lined and oiled cookie sheet. If you are using parchment paper, make sure it is oiled- otherwise the paper will glue itself to the bagels while they’re baking.
Here we top with our crumb topping. I took a usual crumb topping- flour, sugar, and butter- and added crushed graham crackers, marshmallow bits, and chocolate chips. You may have some leftover- I did. Feel free to half the recipe if you prefer. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle on the crumb topping before baking for 16-20 minutes.
Here is where I differed from the original recipe again: You technically are supposed to heat the oven to 500˚ for 30 minutes before lowering to 450˚ while baking. I skipped this step (an accident- I didn’t read the recipe completely before baking) and my bagels baked perfectly for 16 minutes.
In conclusion, I’m really happy I decided to participate in this challenge. It was a great way to stretch my baking skills, learn how to make another bread, and save money on food I love. And it helped me to be more creative in the kitchen! If you’re calorie conscious, feel free to slice the unbaked rounds in half to make bagel thins.
Recipe: (from epicurious.com)
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 Tbs molasses
- 1 and 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 C plus 2 tbs lukewarm water
- 3 and 1/2 C bread flour
- 3 quarts water
- 1 and 1/2 tbs molasses
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs baking soda
- 1/2 C (1 stick) salted butter
- 1 C flour
- 1/2 C crushed graham crackers (about 3 graham crackers)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 C marshallow bits
- 1/4 C chocolate chips
- Stir together molasses, yeast, salt, and water. Pour into flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook for about three minutes. If not using a stand mixer, mix with a wooden spoon in a large bowl for about three minutes, until the dough forms a stiff ball and the flour is fully hydrated.
- Let the dough rest for about five minutes. Move to a floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes, until smooth, supple, and stiff. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Line a baking sheet with a lightly oiled silicone mat or parchment paper. Divide the dough into 6-8 equal parts and form each piece into a loose ball. Shape the bagels by poking a hole in the center and stretching it out with both thumbs until it is about 2 inches in diameter. (You may also use the other method mentioned in the blog post; roll the ball out into a long, even rope. Moisten the ends and wrap around your hand. Roll the seam a few times to seal the seam.)
- Place on prepared sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator and up to 2 days.
- On baking day, remove the bagels from the refrigerator 60-90 minutes before baking. Fill a small bowl with cold water and place one of the bagels in the water. If it floats, it is ready to bake. If not, let rest a little bit longer.
- Make the crumb topping- combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and cut together with a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands until butter is broken down and combined with flour in small pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the poaching liquid and bring to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and plae 3-4 bagels in. When they float, let them simmer for about 1 minute. Flip them with a slotted spoon or spatula and let simmer for another 15-30 seconds. Transfer back to the prepared pan dome side up. If needed, oil the paper or mat a second time before placing the bagels.
- Brush the bagels with 2 Tbs melted butter, then sprinkle on the crumb topping.
- Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and check the bottom of the bagels. If they’re too dark, place a second pan under the bagels. Bake for another 8-12 minutes until golden brown.
- Let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before serving.
Store bagels in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.