Making bagels is a little bit of a production. They need to be boiled and then baked, making them more time consuming, but the flavors more than make up for it. The bagels I made are Cinnamon Raisin flavored, but the cinnamon and raisins could be omitted, substituting other things as desired. Think of adding things like walnuts or pecans or other nuts of choice. How about date pieces instead of raisins? Using dried blueberries would mimic another store type of bagel, but why stop there? How about using dried cherries, dried cranberries or even chopped dried apricots?
There are also savory additions to take into consideration. I love grains and seeds in my bagels. Cook some wheat or rye berries until soft and add them to the bagel dough. The same can be done with barley. Add in sesame seeds and sunflower seeds to make the bagels more nutritious and provide texture. Leave the bagels plain and instead use toppings to provide flavors. Brush on an egg wash and sprinkle on some sesame seeds or poppy seeds. Slowly sauté some onions until well caramelized and brush them onto the top of the bagels before baking. These ideas are nothing new, so think up ideas of your own.
Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
4 1/2 cups bread flour
5 teaspoons instant rise yeast, about 2 packets
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water, no more than 110 degrees
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon, reserve 1 teaspoon aside
1/3 cup raisins
10 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 egg white
1 teaspoon agave syrup or corn syrup
MAKE DOUGH. In a mixer bowl combine 1 1/2 cup of flour, yeast, 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon. Heat the water in the microwave in 30 second intervals until this mixture is just lukewarm, no more than 110 degrees. Add this to the flour in the mixer bowl and turn on low to combine, then increase speed and beat for 2 – 3 minutes. If using a heavy duty mixer capable of kneading bread dough, switch to the dough hook. If not using a heavy duty mixer, continue by hand. Begin adding the 3 remaining cups of flour. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add in the last teaspoon of cinnamon for the last 15 to 30 seconds of kneading, leaving streaks of cinnamon through the bagels. Set aside to rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.
WATER BATH. In a very large pot, combine the water, sugar and the baking soda. Stir well to combine the ingredients and melt the soda. Place on stove and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
GLAZE. Mix together the glaze ingredients, have a pastry brush handy and set aside. Prepare 2 large baking sheets by lining them with parchment. Spray the parchment with cooking spray. Set aside. Have some paper toweling handy for blotting the bagels after their water bath.
Turn out the dough onto a working surface. Lightly sprinkle flour over the surface. Divide the dough into 12 or 14 portions. Take a portion of the dough and form a tight ball by continually bringing sides to top and pinching together. Poke a finger down into the center, then using gentle pressure, widen the hole until you can easily fit all 8 fingers inside. The dough will spring back down to a very small hole. Set aside and continue with all the bagels. Allow them to rest for 20 minutes.
If the pot with the simmering liquid is large enough, place 2 or 3 of the bagels at a time into the pot. Time them for 1 minute. Flip and time for one minute more. Remove to the paper toweling with a large slotted spoon or spatula and blot well. Gently place onto the prepared baking sheets. Repeat until all the bagels are on the baking sheets. Brush the bagels with the prepared glaze. Have the oven racks set at the lower and middle positions. Place the two pans in the oven and bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
If using different flavorings than cinnamon and raisins, eliminate these two ingredients and substitute about a half cup of some other nut, seed or grain for flavor and texture. If making plain or savory bagels, eliminate the syrup in the final glaze and substitute egg yolk for the glaze. These are quick to make when using instant rise yeast and so worthwhile. Do give them a try.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it was informative and helped you along your own culinary journey.