Upon hearing that I decided not to head south to a tropical paradise for spring break but instead hang out in my (temporarily) quiet town, one might ask, “Shannon, what could you possibly do with all of that time?” Well, bagels. Bagels is what I have done with my free time. Lots of batches, lots of varieties, and lots of bagels.
Yeah…. I wasn’t exaggerating. Well, here’s the brief backstory. I’ve recently been cutting back on sweets, and sugar in general. Which is great, but it triggered a ravenous craving for all things bread. For the first time in ages I was aching for bagels, which was weird and not exactly welcome. I figured as long as I was going after them, may as well see if I could make them myself. I tried it out a few weeks ago on a short visit home, and it was so exciting that I knew I’d have to do it again soon. And that brings us to today, the day of the thousand bagels. Okay, maybe that was an exaggeration.
In general, I think I keep pretty up-to-date with the online world of food-blogging and the great fads that pass through. Green smoothies? Way ahead of the game. No-bake cookie balls? Totally on it. The versatility of cauliflower? Not far behind. But bagels? Apparently I completely missed the memo. When I decided to try them I searched them on foodgawker and low and behold, I’m late to the party. On the upside, that meant there were tons of recipes to peruse and lots of friendly advice shared among bloggers. Also of note, bagels are very photogenic. And if you’ve been slacking on the recipe-posts (*cough cough*) then it’s a great way to announce a return.
This recipe is pretty standard, and completely vegan. I used to think yeast was this tremendously complicated endeavor saved strictly for bread makers in France, or something of the like. Once I actually went to the store to buy the (incredibly inexpensive) yeast packets, the rest was just a matter of flour and spices. The complicated part was simply that I never had yeast on hand or made anything that required it, but it was definitely a perspective shift as I now see how great and easy it can be. Enough chatter. Here’s the original recipe I followed, pretty closely at that. Thanks Hungry Gnomes. I now give you, bagels:
- 2 cups bread flour
- 2 cups wheat flour (or all purpose, or half of each)
- 1.5 cups water (to mix with yeast)
- 2 cups water (to use if you’d like to do the boiling step)
- 2 packets (4.5 teaspoons I think?) active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp agave (or slightly more of a dry sugar)
- 1-2 tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp flaxseed + 2tbsp water (OR an egg white can sub)
“everything:” I used equal parts garlic powder, sea salt, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, and sesame seeds. It was delicious and probably my favorite.
I also experimented with cinnamon raisin oat, cinnamon sugar and berry. They all vary by palate and pantry ingredients. Let me know if you have any creative ideas to try for my next batch!
- Mix the agave with the warm water, and add the yeast. Wait for bubbles (2-3 min for me)
- Mix together most of the wheat flour, all of the bread flour, and the salt
- Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients and start mixing. Add additional flour as needed, and kneed for approximately 5 minutes
- If you want to add mix-ins to the dough, or make multiple flavors, separate the dough and add now.
- Add the dough to a greased bowl, and let sit for one hour.
- Once it’s grown to an exciting new size, break into balls and make holes, if you choose.
- Let the dough settle for a 5-10 minutes here
- *** This is the step that the New Yorkers seem to swear by. At the risk of disgracing bagel lovers everywhere, I will say that I forgot to do this the first and third time I baked them, and truly didn’t notice a huge difference. I made sure to try it once for comparison purposes, but it
really didn’t seem to effect the texture or flavor too much.. BUT, if you’d like …
- … Bring about 2 cups of water to a boil and add a pinch of sugar. Reduce to a simmer, and toss a
round of bagel dough in for a short 30 seconds, making sure to rotate half way through. Let drain and dry before proceeding, and repeat for the rest of the batch.
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Mix the flaxseed and water and let sit for a few minutes so it can gel up. Paint it onto the bagel, this part gives them their crispy exterior.
- I add the seasonings to the top of bagels at this step as well.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes (mine were good to go a little after 20), rotating half way through if you choose.
Let cool, and dress up to your liking.
I’m still on my eat-fewer-sweets kick so I actively avoided going wild with chocolate chips, but if you’re up for it I’d definitely suggest trying to fill or top some bagels with chocolate. I also saw several holiday-themed bagels where food coloring was mixed in and they looked wild. Perhaps a more natural route could be to add some beet to the mixture? That sounds fun too. Definitely let me know if you have any recipes that you swear by or have just tried. I’ll undoubtedly decide to bake these again in the not-to-distant future and will want to jack up the creativity fo sho.
Oh, and I almost forgot. I asked my mom if I could take a picture of her bagel if she made one of her lovely breakfast creations that she does so frequently. When I found out she was just feeling a simple jam- topping that morning, I told her that that probably wouldn’t be as photo-friendly. She was bummed, and I felt like I had just rejected a perfectly innocent and beautiful bagel-model. However, mom did make sure to email me a pic from the following day when she decided to add spinach and sun-dried tomatoes (I think). So this is her food art, thought I’d share :)
In other news, I am officially on spring break. Which, for me anyways, is about 10 days devoted to recharging my brain so that I can make it through the rest of the semester. Yeah I know right, ten days sounds like barely enough time for that. It’s also time for me catch up with school, and sort out parts of life that I’ve neglected to sort thus far. As soon as decisions are made and I have exciting plans to share, I definitely will. Right now I’m toying with the idea of fashioning a “study abroad” out of the fall semester and returning to graduate in the spring. Ah! typing it out made me realize how much planning/ scheming/ organizing I still have left to do so I’ll bump that up on my priority list and report back soon. I hope everyone had as pleasant of a weekend as Blacksburg has had. Relaxing would be an understatement. And that is an unusual gift. Maybe spring isn’t too far off (: