Things have been a little nuts over here. Between my last semester in nursing school, looking for BSN-DNP programs, applying for jobs, working weekends, and a recent car accident, I’m a little pressed for time. Yet while I desperately want to be healthy, finding a nutritional breakfast that doesn’t break my calorie bank and isn’t going to make me want to hurl can be difficult (high protein breakfasts are too heavy for me). Not only that, but I needed something that I could make (because I’m a self-confessing control freak and cooking is calming for me), and I needed something I could make and be done (i.e. store in the freezer and require little to no preparation for my semi-comatose-in-the-morning butt to handle without burning the house down).
Enter the bagel.
I have loved bagels for as long as I can remember. Maybe it’s my German heritage, maybe it’s because they’re just so daggum good. Regardless, I was bored of my lonely slice of spelt sourdough toast smeared with an oh-so-carefully measured portion of peanut butter, and I was craving bagels. Yep, my decision to make bagels came down to cravings. (My decision to make anything comes down to cravings. Maybe I should work on that.)
After a quick Google search, I found a lovely little recipe for New York style bagels, and I adapted it to fit my health and bulk baking needs.
spelt bagels (makes 16 average/medium sized bagels)
2t dry yeast (I used baker’s yeast from a local health food store)
3T coconut/palm sugar (you can use sucanat, honey, or pure maple syrup here too; sugar just used for yeast proofing)
3C warm water (just slightly more than tepid; I’ve found it’s best to heat the water slowly on the stove)
7C sprouted spelt flour (I used this kind; you will need approximately 1/4C to 1/2C more for kneading)
3t salt (I used Redmond Real Salt, but any salt would do the trick)
Toppings: Be creative! I first made these with caraway and coarse sea salt dotting the tops. The sea salt was lovely, but we didn’t care for the caraway on top of the bagels as much. We concluded they would taste much better baked inside. (Word to the wise: a little coarse sea salt goes a long way… so I learned the hard way. 🙂 ) Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, cinnamon sugar… what’s your dream bagel? Go for it.
1. Warm water gently on the stove.
2. While water is warming, add yeast and sugar to a 6C measuring cup or medium bowl.
3. Once the water feels slightly warmer than tepid, remove from stove and pour over yeast and sugar. Do not stir.
4. Let the yeasty sugar water sit for five minutes. By the end of five minutes, it should have a frothy or bubbly appearance.
5. While the yeast is taking it’s five minute break, mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl (you can use a Kitchen Aid mixer here, if you’d like).
6. Add yeast/sugar/water to flour/salt after the yeast’s five minutes. You can dump it all in at once if you’re mixing manually (i.e. not Kitchen Aid); pour it in slowly if you’re using a Kitchen Aid (paddle attachment, first speed).
7. Bring flour and water together using a stiff, straight spatula or wooden spoon (mix until no dry flour remains and it starts to take some shape). (If using a Kitchen Aid mixer, continue using the paddle attachment and first-second speed until do dry flour remains and it starts to take a little shape.)
8. Without mixer: turn out dough onto clean, floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. (You can use the window test to check elasticity; this is my preferred method, but I’ve never seen as lovely an example as the one in the link, so don’t worry if it’s not picture-perfect!) This can take about 10-20 minutes, depending on your speed and efficacy of kneading.
With mixer: switch to dough hook and knead at speed 2 for about 10-15 minutes. Check dough every minute or so with the window test (link above) within that time frame to know when to end the kneading.
9. Regardless of mixer: stop kneading once dough achieves window pane elasticity. Form into a large ball. Place this new dough ball into a lightly oiled (I used sunflower oil) large mixing bowl (wood or glass or ceramic advised). Now pick up your dough that you just put in the bowl and flip it so that the now-oiled side of the dough is on the top. This flipping oils both sides of the dough.
10. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise for 1h in a warm place. When there is about 20 minutes left on your timer, prepare a large pot of water, and go ahead and let it start boiling. Also, preheat your oven to 425 F.
11. After 1h, the dough should have doubled in size. (If not, continue to let rise until it has doubled.) Turn out onto counter and divide into 16 roughly equally sized balls. These are your future little bagels! Press a hole in the center of your balls that is about a third of your ball’s diameter. Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.
12. While the dough is resting, prepare your favorite cookie sheet by covering with parchment paper and lightly grease (I used sunflower oil). Also, I like to use a cooling/drain/prep-for-topping area. I use a cooling rack placed over a big sheet of parchment on a counter juxtapose to our stove. If topping, I like to have a bowl of a little egg wash ready for the bagels and the toppings portioned out.
13. Have two timers ready (I use the microwave and my phone) and set for 2 minutes. Also have any utensil you’d like to use to flip a floating bagel (you’re going to do so soon) ready.
14. In boiling water, add a bagel (or more if you’re comfortable with it) and start one timer when it starts floating. (You may need to stir the water a bit if the bagel is still sitting on the bottom of the pot after a few seconds.)
15. After 2 minutes, flip bagel and start the other timer. Remove from water and place on cooling rack after 2 minutes.
16. Repeat with all bagels.
17. If you’re making plain bagels, you can now add your boiled bagels to your cookie sheet. If you’re topping them, dip the bagels in an egg wash and top with anything your creative little heart desires.
18. Bake about 20 minutes, or until your desired brown-ness.
19. Remove and cool. Do not slice them until bagels are completely cool. They will be gummy inside otherwise.
20. Optional, but nice: Once bagels have chilled out, slice and place in your desired container/bag. Now stick those little guys in the freezer, and you’re all set for lovely breakfasts for a while.
PS: Sorry for the lack of a photo! Should I remember (no promises), I’ll edit and add one. But in the meantime, just picture your favorite bagel ever– ’cause that’s what you’re going to make!