Saturday, January 7, 2012

homemade bagel brunch

By now, it's probably pretty clear that I love breakfast and brunch food. And why shouldn't I? The first meal of the day often includes my three favorite food groups:  bread, fruit, and bacon. While I usually go for oatmeal during the week (quick oats + banana + cinnamon + soy milk), I like to give breakfast its due on the weekends.

I spent New Year's at the beach for the first time since 2008, and it was marvelous. On January 1st, we had a lovely brunch anchored by homemade bagels, courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law's friend Chrissy. They are phenomenal, and they actually seemed somewhat manageable to make. Maybe these will be my next DIY food project (homemade yogurt in the making as I write this!), but for now I'll just post a recipe and a few pictures for you to enjoy.

We had half plain and half sesame, but you can make them however you'd like. The sesame ones went like hotcakes (which I guess they kind of are). They're great with lox and cream cheese, and we had a lovely fruit salad on the side. We also had breakfast casserole, granola, and sausage, but really, the bagels are impressive enough on their own.

homemade bagels
courtesy of Chrissy Braden, adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
makes a dozen medium-sized bagels

3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 2/3 c warm water
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp malt syrup, molasses, or honey*
1 lb 6 oz bread flour (about 4 1/2 c)**
1 1/2 tbsp salt
toppings of your choice

 *Although the original recipe calls for malt syrup, Chrissy uses more readily available molasses. If she doesn't have enough molasses, she just adds a little extra sugar to the mix. I've also seen recipes that use honey, so you could probably use almost any syrup you want. 
**Chrissy has also made these with half bread flour/half whole wheat flour, and they turned out well.

Whisk together active dry yeast and warm water. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, 1 tbsp molasses, flour, and salt. Knead until dough forms (the dough will be a little sticky), plus 5-10 minutes more. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.

Divide dough into 12 pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. With lightly oiled hands, roll each piece of dough into an 8"-inch-long cylinder, and shape into a circle to make the bagel.

Place bagels on prepared sheets at least 2" inch apart. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let sit for another 20 minutes or until slightly puffy.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Fill a stockpot with about 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining molasses.

Gently drop bagels into the water, putting in as many as possible without them touching. After 30 seconds, flip bagels over and simmer for another 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon remove the bagel and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Top with toppings of your choice. Repeat with remaining bagels.

Immediately place baking sheets in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Then rotate sheet and lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to bake until the tops of the bagels begin to turn a golden brown, about 10 minutes. Flip bagels over and continue to bake until the tops are golden brown, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Although I don't know why you wouldn't eat them all immediately, these will keep in an airtight container for about 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 weeks. Slice them before freezing for easy toasting.