Monday, April 20, 2020

Beet Bagels

Bagels with a delicate pink hue and a touch of earthy (beet-given) sweetness are chewy and whole grain - perfect for breakfast!

Beet Bagels

I've been seeing a lot of people getting into baking these days while we're all stuck inside, and I for one am all for it! As a Home Economics teacher I am so used to hearing that my art is "long lost" and unnecessary in today's world of easy-to-find consumables. These days have seen a resurgence though, and while yeast is still impossible to find (thankfully I have a stash) for those of you who have scored the precious microbes I am hoping to finally catch up on documenting all the breads I had languishing in posting purgatory.

First up (because I just baked a batch of different bagels) are these cute, pink, beet infused bagels. Some of you know I grow a ton of heirloom beets every summer (well, maybe not this summer if I can't get seeds) and while I love them raw, I also roast up a bunch of them for various applications, including pickles, conserves and baking. I've made loaves of beet bread in the past, but when it came time to make holiday gifts for one of my coworkers back in 2018 (yup, told you this was an ancient recipe waiting for publication) I wanted to come up with something more portable that she could take with her to work for lunch or a snack. Thus, these bagels were born, based on a recipe I found on Discover Delicious.
Beet Bagels

The recipe won me over with the colour - I mean how can you not be drawn in by that pink hue? The recipe also appealed to me flavour wise as it used a pre-ferment, which like the much-adored sourdough allows part of the flour to absorb the water properly and ferment, giving the dough a delicate tang and smoothness. Malt powder is totally optional, but I added it because I had it on hand and felt it gave a "bagel-y" nuance to the finished product too. Like all good bagels, these are boiled in honey water before baking, which makes them chewy, shiny and perfect for slicing.

Beet Bagels

In the end, these bagels were everything I hoped for - a great size, chewy, with a delicate nuttiness from the whole wheat and an earthy sweetness from the beets. They took time to make (needing an overnight retardation in the fridge) but boy were they worth it, and I would 100% make them again.

What have you been baking these days? Anything new to cope with being isolated? Comment below!

Beet Bagels

Beet Bagels
Makes 12

Pre-ferment:
410 g whole wheat bread flour (or whole wheat flour + 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten)
1 tsp instant yeast
260 ml water

Dough:
255 g fresh beets, roasted and peeled (weight before cooking)
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp fine salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 1/2 tsp malt powder (or more brown sugar - not malted milk powder)
490 g whole wheat bread flour

Boiling:
1 tbsp honey
  1. In a large bowl, mix the pre-ferment ingredients well until you have a cohesive dough. Cover and set aside for 2½ hours.
  2. Meanwhile, puree the beet, water, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  3. Add the paste to the preferment and add remaining ingredients (except honey).
  4. Knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and not sticky.
  5. Cover and let rise overnight.
  6. The next morning, remove the dough from the fridge and let stand at room temperature 2 hours.
  7. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form each into a ball.
  8. Poke a hole into the centre of each ball and stretch to about 2” diameter.
  9. Place formed bagels on baking sheets, cover and let rise 1 hour, until puffy.
  10. Heat the oven to 400F (convection if possible).
  11. Fill a large, wide pot ⅔ of the way with water. Add honey and bring to a fast simmer.
  12. Lift 2-3 bagels into the water and cook for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  13. Place boiled bagels on lined baking sheets.
  14. Place sheets in the oven and bake for 8 minutes.
  15. Reduce heat to 350F and bake 25 minutes.