Bagels for dinner! Really...what could be better? Only one thing - homemade bagels for dinner, that's what. Last evening we had a pretty standard Saturday: we went out to sushi for dinner with good friends, met up with some more friends for drinks, a cab ride back uptown, delicious pizza at 2am, and a long night's sleep. Something that goes along with a standard Saturday is a standard Sunday - being tired, lazy, and perpetually hungry.
We have not been able to stop eating today. We both knew we wanted bagels, but we wanted to make them...so bagels for dinner it is. We found a pretty straight-foward looking recipe in Bread Alone by Daniel Leader and Judith Blahnik. Since we're not bagel aficionados, we followed their recipe to the T, minus the one ingredient we couldn't get our hands on (malted barley syrup). If anyone knows a good place to find this stuff, let us know!
Making these bagels was a real learning experience. Bread Alone is a great reference for learning the basics of baking. It has a scientific formula for the temperature of dough and ingredients. The ideal temp is 74-80 degrees. Too cold and it won't rise fully. Too warm and it will over ferment. So, very important to mix your dough in this range. The gist of it is that Dan and Judy give a formula for figuring the temperature the water should be based on the other ingredients and the room. Fun fact: for every minute you knead dough the dough temperature goes up one degree. The friction factor. We really kneaded vigorously:
Once the dough was smooth and elastic, we kept kneading for the required 15 minutes more. After that was all over and done with, and we both had biceps large enough to flip small SUVs, we balled the dough up and took its temp.
It was a little warm, so we made sure to keep it covered in a not-so-hot part of the kitchen. After it sat for an hour and a half and Sar and I watched the latest SNL episode, the dough looked full and beautiful. We deflated it and cut it into 10 equal-ish sized balls.
Once the balls rested, they got shaped into the classic bagel ring, rested some more, and boiled. We used 1 tablespoon of baking soda in place of the malt syrup, and we missed the sweetness that the syrup would have given the bagels. The baking soda wasn't bad, though.
Poaching jump-starts the yeast's action and the bagels really puffed up while they were drying off:
They got an egg-wash:
And then got sprinkled with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, dried minced onion, coarse salt, wheat germ, or some combination thereof.
While the bagels baked, we whipped up some scallion cream cheese by stirring 1/3 cup of finely chopped scallions into 1 block of softened neufchatel cheese.
We took a lovely picture of the scallions mid-chop while the sun was still pouring into the kitchen. It would be a shame not to share.
The final bagels were delicious with the cream cheese, as well as with cheesy eggs - we both had two.
We highly recommend Bread Alone for any baker - novice to experienced.
Turning bagels around in the oven
Adding 1 tablespoon of whatever sweetener you choose to the dough (this recipe doesn't call for any); whether it's the malted barley syrup, molasses, honey, or simply brown sugar
Slightly less salt in the dough - the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon, but 2 or 3 teaspoons may be enough
This recipe at CD Kitchen looks great - we'll definitely let you know how it compares to Bread Alone's recipe, if we get a chance to make them, too.
Enjoy MLK Day off (or not)!
Lil & Sar