Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sourdough Cinnamon - Raisin Bagels

It's been a while since I've broken out the bagels around here. Ever since mom began reducing bread in her diet (it is her one diet weakness) I've had nobody to make it for - until my sister mentioned she missed the bagels we used to buy every weekend at The Great Canadian Bagel. Back then, we'd go with mom or dad to pick up a baker's dozen of the huge, chewy rings - I was partial to the sourdough and the French toast versions, my sister would divide her picks between plain, chocolate chip and cinnamon raisin. We'd no sooner get them home before we'd pluck our "treat" out of the paper bag (mom insisted on slicing and freezing the rest of them), smear it with margarine (no money for butter) and stick it in our rickety toaster oven to melt everything into gooey, crispy bliss. I swear, given the option, the two of us would have gladly lived off of toasted bagels with margarine, peanut butter, honey, cherry jam or even corn syrup (yes, I know!). Highschool shot me off in a different direction on the weekends, and our bagel-buying sprees ended. For a good long while, it was only on the occasional road trip that we'd get our fix at the local Tim Hortons. Nowhere near as authentically "bagelly" as the honey-water boiled circles we grew up with, they were still in appearance bagels and came in a few of the varieties we both liked.

When Teaghan brought up the Great Canadian goodies, I knew I could make a pretty decent facsimile in our own kitchen - and if possible, even improve on the classic. First, I tweaked the basic dough formula to convert it to a sourdough - whenever it comes to sweeter yeast bread, I like the tangy edge and overall character that the prefermentation adds. Then, given that in her maturity, my sister has in fact garnered a taste for whole wheat bread, I decided for a 100% whole wheat dough that I proceeded to lace with a goodly amount of cinnamon and sweeten with barley malt and dark brown sugar. For the final touch, both Thompson and sultana raisins (a rough 50 / 50 mixture) took a bath in some lukewarm water while the sponge fermented before I kneaded them in by hand.

The whole batch, from preferment to boil-and-bake, took just under two days - but the results were well worth the wait! Crispy, chewy crust with a toasty hue from the high heat oven and the alkaline pH bath, they sliced open to reveal a tight crumb and a smattering of raisins. Perfectly fitting in the toaster or simply chewed on au naturale, they are similar to Montreal's famous bagels but with a distinctly "Oshawan" kick.

Submitted to this week's YeastSpotting at Wild Yeast

Sourdough Cinnamon - Raisin Bagels
Makes 8

 
Sponge:
185 g whole wheat bread flour
¼ tsp instant yeast
220 g water
140 g sourdough starter
 
Dough:
¼ tsp instant yeast
235 g whole wheat bread flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp malt syrup
6 g salt
1/3 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained well
 
Boiling/baking:
1 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp honey
1 egg white (optional)
 
Sponge:
  1. Combine sponge ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix well to form a batter-like consistency.
  2. Cover and let rest for 2 hours at room temperature.
Dough:
  1. Add the yeast, whole wheat bread flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and malt syrup to the sponge.
  2. Stir to combine, then add the salt.
  3. Knead with the dough hook for 12 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and pliable. It will be stiff but not dry.
  4. Turn out onto a counter and, by hand, knead in the raisins.
  5. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, then place in the fridge for 8-24 hours.
Boiling / Baking:
  1. Remove the dough from the fridge and let rest at room temperature 1 ½ hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or SilPat.
  3. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide into 8 pieces. Shape into rings (keep the middle holes larger than you want them to be in the finished bagel).
  4. Cover with a towely and let rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda and honey.
  6. Drop in as many bagels as will comfortably fit in the pot. Cook 1 minute, flip, and cook 1 more minute.
  7. Place boiled bagels on the baking sheets and brush with egg white.
  8. Place one sheet of bagels in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to 450°F and bake for another 5 minutes.
  9. Repeat for remaining tray of bagels
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 255.3
Total Fat: 1.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 12.8 mg
Total Carbs: 58.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 7.7 g
Protein: 9.2 g