The Bagel: traditionally a ring of yeasted dough shaped by hand that is first boiled and then baked. These little dough rings originated in the Ashkenazi Jewish communities of Poland as early as the 1600s.
Here at Journey’s End we have spent the past few months practicing the art of bagel bakery. Preparation for the elusive “Bagel Day” begins the night before as we prepare the yeasted dough. This dough, comprised of a white and whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, honey, oil, water, and eggs, is mixed thoroughly and then kneaded for several minutes. It then rests in a lightly oiled bowl overnight. The yeast go to work and by morning it has at least doubled in size!
Next we divide the dough and knead in additional ingredients to specialize each variety of bagel. Our favorites are garlic cheese, cinnamon raisin, and blueberry. The dough is then shaped into individual bagel sized rings.
The dough rings are then placed in boiling water for 1-2 minutes (or until they begin to float) before being transferred to a buttered baking tray.
We often add about a tablespoon of honey to the boiling water which helps the bagels brown nicely in the oven.
After the bagels are boiled they are topped with a sprinkling of seeds, garlic, and salt. Here are the gluten free bagels we have been experimenting with (below).
The bagels then go in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 425° - the finished product comes out crusty and delicious.
7 Cups flour (usually 50/50 white and whole wheat or nearabouts. Depending on your preference!)
1 Tbl. Oil
2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Yeast
2 Cups Water
Once you get the basic recipe down experiment by adding a mixture of other flours as well, we like to add Buckwheat and ground Flax Meal to our dough.
Add yeast and honey to lukewarm water (if water is too hot it will kill the yeast, too cool and it will not properly activate). Next, stir in oil, eggs, and salt. Add flour last - the bulk of it can be added right away, but I would suggest keeping the last 2 cups out and adding them in as you knead dough. Stir until you can handle dough, then knead in the remaining flour. Dough should be elastic and tacky to touch. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic, “bee’s wrap” or damp cloth to keep it from drying out. Leave in fridge overnight, and the next morning you’ll be ready to bake!
Preheat oven to 425° and start a large pot of water on the stovetop. Butter baking pans.
Morning of Bagel Bananza
Remove dough from overnight bowl and divide into as many sections as bagel varieties you wish to make (you don’t have to divide the dough if you plan on just making plain or one kind of bagels). Roll dough into a “log” and cut into individual bagel sized pieces (this recipe makes approx. 12 bagels but this part might require some experimentation). Shape dough pieces into doughnut forms by wrapping pieces around your hand, make sure to pinch the ends together so that they don’t bust apart in the water. Once all the bagels are shaped and the water is ready, it’s time to start boiling bagels! You can boil as many bagels at a time as there is space for - they should all be able to be fully submerged and not crammed together. Something like 4-6 at a time depending on pot size and bagel size. They will rise in the water! Take bagels out after around 1 minute and place on baking tray. Once on the tray, sprinkle with whatever toppings you choose. Continue this cycle until all bagels are on trays, then bake in your nicely preheated oven for 20 minutes, being sure to rotate half way through.
Gluten Free Bagels
Gluten free baking can be challenging, but that doesn’t mean that GF folks don’t deserve bagels!
Here’s a recipe we’ve been experimenting with that has come out quite nicely.
3 Cups GF Flour (1 ½ Cups Buckwheat, 1 ½ Cups your choice of GF baking flour mix)
¼ Cup Flaxseed Meal
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
2 ¼ tsp. Yeast
2 Tbl. Honey
1 Tbl. Oil
¾ Cup Water
Just like the gluten-ful recipe, add yeast and honey to lukewarm water. Next stir in eggs, salt, and oil. Add GF flour, flaxseed and baking powder last. Mix all together, “kneading” with hands (GF dough doesn’t bind to itself well, it will seem pasty and you’ll be able to pull chunks off). Leave in lightly oiled bowl (covered) overnight once thoroughly mixed.
On baking day, just pull off bits of dough and form them into bagel shapes. The rest is the same as for Gluten bagels, just be sure not to over boil as the GF bagels will fall apart more easily.
Specialty Bagel Ideas
Cinnamon Raisin: Dice raisins and knead into dough with a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Garlic Cheese: Mince garlic and finely grate cheese. Knead both together into the dough. For a lil’ extra fun, sprinkle some more cheese on top of bagels halfway through baking. General consensus brings these bagels to the #1 spot on our list.
Blueberry: This one is quite tricky. Because we use frozen blueberries from the farm, the extra moisture can make the dough unworkable. My method is to roll dough out into a rectangle and place blueberries all over it. Then roll the dough into a spiral, so that blueberries are on the inside in pockets. This makes it so any juice from crushed blueberries stays on the inside, instead of compromising the outside of the dough. Despite the difficulty, we make them every time because they are quite delicious.
Plain with Poppy/Sesame: Sprinkle bagels with seeds after they are boiled! Good additions to the classic seeds are minced garlic and sea salt.