Tuesdays with Dorie: Bagels

When I first saw that we were baking bagels, I thought why?  We have perfectly good bagel places here in Charlotte (not like New York), but I don’t buy bagels for the most part because I don’t need more bread in my life.  Yes, that’s why I am doing a baking blog…I digress…I will say that after I made them, I may never buy a bagel again.  I won’t be baking them all the time, but perhaps for that NYC friend who visits or as a special treat for the family, I will get this recipe out.

I went ahead and mixed the dough in my KA – it only required medium speed for 6 minutes of kneading, so I wasn’t concerned about burning out my motor.  Though the dough was a bit sticky, I lifted it out of the bowl using a spatula and turned it into my buttered bowl.  After brushing it with butter, I let it rise.  When it had doubled in volume, I deflated the dough and stuck it in my fridge overnight until I could bake them off.

The boiling and baking was a process, but with a little organization (lots of parchment paper) it went smoothly.  Per the recipe, I divided the dough in half and stuck the other half back in the fridge.  I could have gotten 5 good-sized bagels out of each half of dough, but I made some mini bagels for the kids as well.  Shaping the bagels was fun – drawing the dough over itself to form a knot, turning the knot over and smoothing it into ball and plunging my index finger through to make the hole.  Using your thumb and forefinger, you rotate the dough until it looks more like a donut with a really big hole!

While preheating the oven to 500 degrees, I made my water bath of boiling water, a bit of sugar and baking soda.  I took another baker’s advice and only boiled each side for 60 seconds.  They came out smooth (ok maybe a few wrinkles – you know me and my wrinkled bread) and looked like bagels!

I lined my baking trays with parchment paper and after a quick brush of vegetable oil and a light dusting of cornmeal, I moved my boiled bagels over.  I used an egg white glaze and then sprinkled  sesame seeds over the top.  I slid the tray into the oven and as instructed, threw a small amount of ice water into the bottom of the oven to create steam. I closed the oven door quickly and lowered the temperature to 450 and baked the bagels for 25 minutes.  At that point, I turned off the oven and let them sit in it for 5 minutes.  The last step in baking is leaving them in the oven for another five minutes with the door open.  I imagine that this helps make them chewier.

As I laid them out on a baking rack to cool, I marveled at how professional they looked.  This is definitely a recipe for impressing your friends!  We enjoyed a feast that evening of smoked salmon, capers, and cream cheese.  I loved the flavor and the texture was great – chewy, but not doughy.  I will make these again!  If you want the recipe, please visit our host, Heather’s blog, http://www.heathersbytes.com/.

Shaped bagels

Boiled bagels

My lovely bagels!

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Tuesdays with Dorie: Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

When you hear cranberry pumpkin bread, you think (like I do) of a quick bread, not a yeast bread.  This was a yeast bread that required its own babysitter!  I don’t think I’ve nursed a loaf of bread like this before…

Throwing the dough together was pretty easy, since it could all be done in my KA mixer, as it only required medium-low speeds.  Had it been more heavy duty – kneading on medium-medium-high, I would have burned out my stand mixer.  It was only a matter of changing from the paddle to the dough hook once all the ingredients were combined.  I ended up adding more bread flour, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the dough balled and climbed the hook.

Fresh cranberries were not to be had since it was only the beginning of October. so I used dried.  I like walnuts, but my children do not, so I omitted them from the recipe.  The cranberries, pumpkin, nutmeg, and cinnamon made for an aromatic dough. For the first rise, I turned my golden orange ball into a buttered bowl, covered it tightly with plastic wrap, and waited two hours.  At that time, I deflated it by punching it down, returning it to the bowl and letting it refrigerate overnight.  

You have to take it out of the refrigerator about six hours before you bake, so I took my mine out first thing in the morning.  You let it sit out for 3-4 hours, then divide the dough and put it in buttered pans.  The recipe called for three small pans, but I used two medium pans.  After dividing the dough and shaping my loaves, I put them in the pans and covered them lightly with a dish towel.  Two hours later, I was ready to bake off the bread.  The pans went into a 350 degree oven for just over 35 minutes.  The golden loaves reminded me of my “sharpei” experience with the white loaves – a little smushed looking, like they couldn’t bust out of their pans.

They were tasty and the girls enjoyed them, but I’m not sure it’s a keeper.  I prefer my pumpkin banana bread (a quick bread), which may take a bit longer to mix up, but no babysitting is required.  As always, glad I tried it!

If you want to see the recipe, check out this blog, http://thisbountifulbackyard.com/

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