Before my appetite returned, one of the only things I wanted to eat during those first four months of pregnancy was bagels. Bagels, bread, pasta, basically anything carb or carb related. They call it morning sickness, but for me it was pretty much all day sickness – just enough to not want anything to do with real food. I’m sure the first kid is part gummy worm, so this one is probably going to come out smelling like blueberry bagels. There are worse things, I guess.
To fulfill my need for all the bagels, all the time, I decided to make up a batch of my own. I had made bagels one time before and it took forever. As in up until 3am finishing them forever. This time I was determined to find a recipe and a method that didn’t require complete exhaustion as an ingredient. After sifting through a few online recipes, I found this blueberry bagel recipe from Bakerita that seemed to be relatively simple. It uses common ingredients that I always have on hand and doesn’t take hours to complete. In fact, the total rise time for this dough is 30 minutes! Fantastic! I could make the bagels and still have time for a sit down (which, let’s face it, means time to crochet) during kiddo’s nap time.
As with many recipes, having a stand mixer makes baking so much faster and easier, but making this recipe by hand is not much of a chore either. Get your hands in there and knead away! As I’m wont to do, I made a few changes to this recipe. It asks for 5 cups of bread flour, but I wanted my bagels to have some semblance of “health” to them, so I used whole wheat flour. Full disclosure: I would change that to half whole wheat, half white the next time I make them. Keep on reading for more on this.
I used the dough hook on my mixer to combine 2 cups of the flour, honey, yeast, salt and warm water, and gradually incorporated 2 more cups of the flour. At this point the dough looked like it had been shredded up and was quite crumbly. That’s good! The recipe doesn’t specify fresh or frozen blueberries, and I didn’t have the forethought to defrost mine, so in they went frosty and frozen. I wasn’t sure if it would work out at first. The blueberries just kind of rolled around in the bowl, but after a few seconds they started to incorporate into the dough, and the moisture from the berries made the dough come together into a nice smooth and elastic ball. I continued to mix the dough and ended up adding about half a cup more of flour, 4.5 cups total. Since I used 100% whole wheat, the dough was quite stiff and dense which wasn’t really a problem, but I kind of expected that the dough wouldn’t behave as the original recipe had indicated.
I left my purple dough to rise, covered, on the table in my warm dining nook. The recipe suggests 20 minutes, but since my dough was 100% whole wheat, it didn’t really rise much at all. I left it for a bit longer – maybe 40 minutes total – and hoped for the best. In the end it didn’t rise, but it may have helped to let the dough rest for that time anyway. Although I’ve made lots of bread and worked with many doughs, I really don’t understand the particulars of how dough behaves and why. #Lifegoals, I suppose. For the time being, I’m still baking by trial and error.
According to the recipe, boiling the bagels before baking them will give them a nice chewy
crust. I put some water on to boil in a big pot while I divided up the dough into 12 equal portions. I rolled out each portion into about a 9-inch rope and wet the ends to help them stick together in the shape of a bagel.
Once they were all ready to go, I let them rest under a damp towel for about 10 minutes. With a bread flour or more white flour the bagels would have risen a bit more, but mine stayed about the same. Once they were ready, I boiled each bagel for 30 seconds on each side. While they were boiling they fluffed up quite a bit and started to look like yummy bagels.
The recipe suggests sprinkling the bagels with cinnamon and sugar, but I’m not really fond of cinnamon on my bagels, so I just went with the egg wash to give them a nice brown sheen. I baked these at 425 for 15 minutes, rotated the pan as per the instructions and baked for another 10 minutes. I would recommend removing them after the suggested time and not over-baking them. The bagels will continue to bake on the inside when you remove them from the oven.
Even though I used 100% whole wheat flour which prevented them from rising, these bagels turned out great. I was definitely pleased with the result, and much like any baked good, the bagels were best when fresh. That being said, I did freeze most of them and they were still quite tasty when defrosted and toasted. As I said earlier, I would use half whole wheat, half white flour the next time to get a little more rise out of the dough and to make the final product a bit less dense. The boiling really helped make the bagels fluffier than they would have been otherwise, but I think they would have been even better if they were a bit lighter. Whether you choose to follow the recipe as written or to make your own modifications, you’ll get a lovely result.
While you won’t find these yummies at my booth this summer, you will be able to grab some soaps that ressemble doughnuts and cupcakes at the Esquimalt Farmers Market, the Oaklands Sunset Market, Fernfest and Car-Free YYJ. Stop by and see me at any or all of these events!
Happy bagel making!