I know, I know, I’m repeating myself. I’ve posted bagels before. But, those were the first bagels I had ever made. Since then, I’ve made lots of bagels, and I’ve been messing around with the types of flours and grains that I use in the dough, and that’s how I arrived at the version you see here. Last weekend, the Austin food bloggers gathered for a potluck brunch/baby shower celebrating the soon arrival of Addie’s second child. I got inspired to make bagels for the brunch when I saw the Barefoot Contessa making vegetable cream cheese for bagels on a re-run episode. Rather than having to bring sliced cucumber, tomato, onion, and whatever else, this was an easy way to add flavor and crunch to a bagel topping without needing to tote a million separate things to the party. For the bagels, I still follow the steps from the Breads from the La Brea Bakery book with changes to the type and amount of flour. In that book, there is a recipe for onion bagels, and I’ve tried it. Minced, fresh onions are sauteed and then patted dry before being coated onto the bagels. When I tried it, the onions didn’t stick, so I decided to use dehydrated onion flakes instead which work great.
I have the La Brea book open as I write this, and I just noticed the bagel page has poppy seeds and amaranth seeds stuck in the crease of the binding. I like evidence of a cookbook being used. Now that I’m familiar with the process, bagel making seems very easy. My whole grain version of the dough is made from starter, water, fresh yeast, white bread flour, wheat germ, oats, amaranth seeds, whole wheat flour, barley malt syrup, milk powder, sugar, and salt. The mixed dough is divided into 14-18 pieces, left to rest for a bit, and then those pieces are formed into bagels. The bagels are placed on a baking sheet, covered with a towel, and left to slowly rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, they are briefly boiled and then pressed into the coating of choice before being baked. I’ll include the recipe below since I’ve changed it from the original.
The chunky, vegetable-packed cream cheese was made with finely diced celery, carrots, and radishes, and sliced green onions. I added some thyme from my garden as well. The vegetables were mixed with room temperature cream cheese. It’s a good idea to use the cream cheese within a few days because as it sits, the vegetables begin to lose their crunch.
Looking back at my previous bagel post, I realize that I’ve since figured out how to form the bagel shape with an appropriate-sized hole in the middle. I’ve even gotten confident enough to make bigger bagels by dividing the dough into 14 rather than 18 pieces. I still tinker with the flours and grains each time I make a batch, but the formula I list below has worked well a few times. Maybe the surface coating is the place to get creative next.
Whole Grain Sourdough Onion Bagels
adapted from Breads from the La Brea Bakery
12 ounces water
1 cake packed fresh yeast
13.5 ounces sourdough starter
15 ounces white bread flour
12 ounces whole wheat flour
2 ounces raw wheat germ
2 ounces oats
1 ounce amaranth
2 ounces sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons barley malt syrup
6 tablespoons milk powder
semolina flour for dusting
1 cup dehydrated onion flakes plus 1 teaspoon salt for coating
(I have also used a combination of white and black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, and salt.)
-Place water, yeast, starter, flours, wheat germ, oats, amaranth, sugar, salt, malt syrup, and milk powder in the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook and mix on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is smooth about four minutes. Turn the dough out onto a flour-free, that’s right no flour, surface and knead it for a few minutes by hand. Cover the dough with a cloth and let sit for ten minutes.
-Cut the dough into 14-18 pieces depending on how many bagels you want and how large you want them to be. When divided into 18 pieces, they’re a little smaller than what I usually see at bagel shops. Turn and tuck each piece of dough and leave the balls covered with a cloth to rest for 15 minutes.
-Take one piece of dough at a time and roll each into a nine to ten inch rope. Wrap the rope around your hand to form the bagel and pinch to seal the open ends. With the rope of dough around your hand, roll the dough up and back where the ends meet so as to seal. Place each bagel on a parchment-lined baking sheet that has been dusted with semolina flour and cover with a cloth as you continue forming bagels. This will require two baking sheets to fit all bagels. When all bagels are formed and covered, place baking sheets in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours.
-Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F. Bring at least four inches of water to a boil in a wide stockpot, and remove bagels from the refrigerator to let them come to room temperature while the oven heats and the water comes to a boil. On a wide plate or tray, scatter the dehydrated onions and mix in the salt. As bagels are removed from the parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle the parchment with more semolina flour. When the water is boiling rapidly, drop three bagels at a time into it. Press them lightly with a wooden spoon to hold them below the surface for ten seconds. Turn them and let them cook for ten seconds more. Then, remove the bagels and place them rounded side down in the dehydrated onions. Turn and press to apply the coating and then place bagels back on the semolina-dusted, parchment-lined baking sheet. When one sheet is full of boiled and coated bagels, place it in the middle of the oven, reduce oven temperature to 400 degree F, and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate the baking sheet after 10 minutes. After removing the first baking sheet, turn the temperature back up to 450 degrees F, and repeat baking process with second sheet of bagels.
I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting where you’ll find some seriously well-made bread.