Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm My Own Apprentice!

So, have you heard? There's a new baking kid (or kids, as it may be) in town, with a brand new challenge for the world of oven and flour owners worldwide. They are the undertakers of one of the most insanely delicious feats I've come across, baking their ways merrily through The Bread Baker’s Apprentice! Now, since I (sadly) haven't acquired that book yet (fingers crossed!) I figured I would live vicariously through their experiences, picking and choosing the recipes that my family would eat (and I could afford!).

I couldn't help but notice one of their delicious undertakings being bagels. Now, I am nowhere NEAR the bagel / bread expert that Reinhart is, I did use his recipe as the learning platform for all the bagelly goodness on this blog (inlcluding all of the ones on this post). So, though these bagels are all total rip-offs and are in no way affiliated with the BBA challenge, you must admit I have pretty awesome timing! Do, please do, if you own this book, check out the challenge at Pinch My Salt's blog. New members are always welcome from what I've seen and by gooy would you have a learning experience 10x better than in any classroom!

Because I have been completely remiss in keeping up with these bagel posts (and posts in general!) I'll condense the rest of the post into the just the 3 recipes I have for you. Yes, I know there are 4 different bagels in the photos, but I don't think I bothered writing down the first batch's formula since it was my earlier Sourdough Bagel recipe with the simple addition of granulated garlic, oregano, black pepper and parmesan cheese. I actually made these more to use up some of the ingredients from the pantry's ever growing stock than for my mom to fall in love with. I mean, don't get me wrong, she liked them (especially with cream cheese), but she likes her carbs to come sweet.

Sweet it shall be, then! My next bagels were created as a tribute to one of my mom's favourite desserts of all time: Pecan Pie. Through random fits of late night brainstorming, I came up with a combination of ingredients (including golden corn syrup, toasted pecans, evaporated milk and Skor toffee!) that approximated the flavour and gooeyness of the Southern treat. I was just taking them out of the oven when she came home from work, and the first thing she said was "it smells like pecan pie in here!". These bagels were probably devoured the fastest of any batch I've made yet - and apparently toasted with honey (did I mention she likes sweet?) was the order of the day.

Pecan Pie Bagels
Makes 10
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp corn syrup
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (yes, another one)
1/4 cup warmed evaporated low-fat milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp gluten flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup Skor toffee bits
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tbsp corn syrup (for boiling)
  1. Pour warm water into a large bowl (preferably in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook).
  2. Add the syrup and yeast and let stand 10 minutes, until foamy.
  3. Add remaining water, milk and brown sugar, mixing well.
  4. Whisk together flours, cinnamon, gluten, and salt in a separate bowl.
  5. With the mixer running on low, add about 1/2 the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.
  6. Add the toffee bits and pecans.
  7. Add the remaining dry mixture until it is all incorporated.
  8. Knead on medium-low speed 5-7 minutes. Finished dough will be very stiff.
  9. Place into a greased bowl, turn to grease the top and cover. Allow to rise 1 1/2 hours.
  10. Deflate the dough, divide into 10 pieces and allow to rest another 5 minutes.
  11. Shape each dough portion into a ring shape and place on greased or parchment-lined sheets. Cover and let rise 40 minutes.
  12. Preheat the oven to 375F and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add syrup to the water.
  13. Place the risen bagels, two at a time, into the boiling water mixture and cook 1 minute each side.
  14. Drain well and place back on greased or lined sheets.
  15. Bake bagels 30 minutes, until crusty, and cool on wire racks.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 278.4
Total Fat: 6.0 g
Cholesterol: 5.6 mg
Sodium: 42.0 mg
Total Carbs: 50.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g
Protein: 7.6 g

I made some bagels with fruit too, just a week after the pecan pie treasures, just so my mom could justify her bready noshing (only to herself, because really, who doesn't like carbs?) as being a source of antioxidants. I went for the double-whammy effect on the antioxidant front, since when I went into my freezer that morning for some lemon zest (my original pairing plan with the cherries) I came across an open bag of walnuts that I had tossed in there at some point. Since they were chopped fairly small, their taste was able to permeate the entire dough while still having that tiny crunch feeling with every bite.

Cherry Walnut Bagels
Makes 8
1 cup warm water, divided
1/4 cup warmed (1%) milk
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp gluten flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dried cherries
1 tbsp honey (for boiling)
  1. Pour 1/2 cup warm water into a large bowl.
  2. Add the sugar and yeast and let stand 10 minutes. Add remaining water and milk, stir well.
  3. Whisk together flours, gluten and salt.
  4. Slowly begin beating about 1/2 the flour mixture into the proofed yeast.
  5. Mix in walnuts and cherries, then remaining flour.
  6. Knead for 5-10 minutes, either by mixer or by hand.
  7. Place into a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise 2 hours.
  8. Punch down the dough, divide into 8 balls. Shape into rings, cover and rest again for 35 minutes (alternatively, place into fridge for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before proceeding).
  9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with the honey, and preheat the oven to 375F.
  10. Place the bagels, two at a time, into the boiling water for 2 minutes.
  11. Drain well, and place on lined baking sheets.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes and cool on a rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 308.4
Total Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.4 mg
Sodium: 7.4 mg
Total Carbs: 59.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.1 g
Protein: 9.9 g

The most recent (and last for this post!) bagel making adventure involved brown sugar, flaxseed, cereal and maple! I definitely planned these out as "breakfast bagels", though I can attest to the fact that they were eaten as not only breakfast, but for second breakfast, elevensies, and occasionally afternoon tea. One may have served as dinner that week too.

Maple Flaxseed Bagels
Makes 10
1 1/4 cups warm water, divided
1 pkg active dry yeast
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp maple extract
2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup high-fibre hot cereal (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 tbsp gluten flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Flax seeds for topping (about 2 tbsp total)
  1. Combine 1/2 cup warm water, yeast and sugar in a deep bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand 5 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Stir in maple extract.
  3. Combine flours, cereal, gluten, salt and cinnamon in another bowl.
  4. With the mixer running, slowly begin adding the flour to the wet ingredients, beating well to fully incorporate it all.
  5. Knead (by mixer or by hand) 5-7 minutes, until stiff and pulling into a ball.
  6. Place into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Punch down the dough and divide into 10 even balls.
  8. Allow to rest 10-15 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F and bring a large pot of water to a boil (at this point you can add maple syrup to the water for even more flavour).
  10. Shape each dough ball into a fairly thin ring, placing on lined or greased baking sheets.
  11. Two by two, drop the bagels into the boiling water and cook for one minute on each side.
  12. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider, draining thoroughly, and place back on the sheets.
  13. Top the bagels with a light sprinkle of flax seeds.
  14. Bake for 35 minutes, rotating sheets 1/2 way through baking time.
  15. Remove bagels immediately to a wire rack and cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 210.1
Total Fat: 2.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.9 mg
Total Carbs: 41.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.8 g
Protein: 8.2 g

So, thus ends my tale of recent bagelling! When I hit the "exam wall" at college (yeah, these recipes/photos are that old) I had to scale back my projects to more or less single-processes (2 rises + bake) versus the additional boiling time and attention bagels demand. Were these bagels Reinhart quality? Doubtful - I never retarded the dough overnight, nor did I follow a set formula anywhere near as detailed as The Master would have documented. These bagels were chewy, dense and shiny like all the other (real) bagels in this world, yet they were something different. They were pieces of me tht I could give back to my mom!

1 comment :

  1. Oh wow! I don't know which bagel I wish to drool over first. They all sound incredible!


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