Inspired by my recent success at making some things that I once considered impossible to replicate at home I ventured into the bagel arena. I am a very picky bagel eater. They must be crunchy and chewy and substantial. None of this terrible bread that just happens to be arranged in the shape of a bagel business. Again, the problem for me lies in the hefty price tag associated with said delicious bagel. Ideally, I would like to stay at home with my son and continue to eat like I was single. Am I asking too much here? Maybe, but I am so up for the challenge.
I made bagels once before when my husband and I were first married. They were good, but who cares if you spend $12.00 on a dozen bagels when your husband is in med school and you are a new teacher and the two of you have about 13 minutes together a day? I didn’t really want to spend those few minutes together over a pot boiling dough.
Now things are different for us. We are about to start seeing each other for about 13 minutes a day again as he finishes his research time and heads back into the hospital to complete his residency. I have the time to cook from scratch with Luke and he loves to help standing nearby on his little red step stool. Matt and I still like to eat well, but we are on a very tight single salary budget. What’s a girl to do but try out some new recipes and hope for the best.
So here is one of those bests from me. Maybe I can turn this into a series: Budget-Friendly Bests!
BAGELS: (Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)
- 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1-2/3 cups warm water
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1-1/2 cups wheat pastry flour
- 1-1/2 tablespoons table salt
- Bagel Toppings
- Vegetable oil (for bowl)
- Plastic wrap
- Parchment paper
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the yeast and water. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the dough hook and — with the mixer on low speed — add the sugar, molasses, flours, and salt. Knead for about 1 minute (until a slightly tacky — but not sticky — dough forms). Continue to knead dough for about 5 more minutes — then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. (NOTE: I did this all in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and it worked GREAT.)
- Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours (until doubled in bulk). We keeo our home cool… like, really cool. So the only way I can get dough to rise is to set the oven to warm, turn it off and stash my dough in there. I have tried a million things, and if you can’t get your dough to rise try this trick.
- Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and rest for about 20 minutes.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- With lightly oiled hands, roll each piece of dough into a 6-inch rope. Form a circle around your hand and then roll the two ends together to seal.
- Place the bagels 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap (I used the same one from earlier in the process), and let rest until puffed (about 20 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Or if your oven is maxing out at 500 F too, then put the lower rack in the middle of the oven because the bottoms of the bagels will burn too close to the bottom element.
- Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil..
- Gently drop bagels into the water about 2 at a time. After 30 seconds, use a slotted spoon to gently flip the bagels over — simmer for yet another 30 seconds.
- Then, using the slotted spoon again, return the bagels to the parchment-lined sheets. Top them with the seeds or salt — you must do this when the bagels are still wet so everything sticks to them. Cinnamon and turbinado sugar is really good too.
- When you’ve finished this process with all the bagels, immediately place sheets in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes and then rotate the sheets and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, probably about 10 minutes.