Friday, June 8, 2012

Whole Wheat Bagels

There's something about home-made bread that just makes me feel like a better person. Healthier. More accomplished. A successful “home-maker” for making my house smell so wonderful. A courageous soul for taking on the task.

Actually no courage was required here. The bagel making process was surprisingly easy.

When they came out of the oven, they were just shy of perfect, but who can complain on a first attempt. My husband was drawn to the kitchen by the smell. He looked them over with an approving nod and didn't hesitate when I told him they were ready to try.

“They're a bit more brown than normal bagels,” he said as he brought it to his mouth.

“Whole wheat flour,” I responded.

He grimaced (not quite the health nut I attempt to be), but then later I noticed a few more bagels missing from the finished batch. Apparently my healthy home-made bagels were pretty good after all.

This recipe was taken from the “When Pigs Fly” blog at the suggestion of my wonderful neighbor who guided the way with the bagel-making fun.

2 ¼ cup hot water (read the directions on your yeast for exactly how hot... it makes a difference!)
2 Tbsp. plus 1/3 cup honey, divided (local would be awesome... though mine was only from the local Kroger)
2 ¼ tsp. sea salt
5 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. INSTANT yeast (I had my yeast in 2 ¼ tsp. Packets; I guestimated here)

-Measure out water and heat in microwave to recommended temperature. (I measured with a meat thermometer, but there are definitely better ways).
-Mix hot water, yeast, 2 tablespoons of honey, and sea salt.
-Add in the flour one cup at a time, mixing as you go with a spoon. When all of the flour is added, it will be too thick for the spoon and it will be time to knead. At this time, additional water may be necessary (it was for me) if the mixture is too dry/not coming together into a dough. Conversely, if it's too sticky, more flour may be added.
-When the dough is “slightly stiff,” knead your heart out for 8-10 minutes. Wear a content Martha Stewart smile while doing so.
-If making plain bagels, transfer dough into a large bowl and cover with a towel. (I decided to make two varieties of bagels at this point, splitting the dough in half into two bowls. One remained plain bagels. The second – my sweet tooth's rebellion against all the healthiness – became dark chocolate chip. I kneaded that dough more to thoroughly mix in the chocolate chips. Dried cranberries or blueberries would also be awesome. I was out of craisins, which was my original intention.)
-Let the dough rise, covered for a few hours until doubled in size.
-Pound the risen dough down after it's doubled, and then divide into 12 balls (or 6 balls of each variety). Let it rise again for 10 minutes.
-Bring water to boil in a large pot. Mix in 1/3 cup honey (easier if you are patient and really wait for it to boil). Return to a simmer.
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-Form each dough ball into a bagel shape, poking a hole in the middle, roughly 1 – 1 ½ inches in diameter.
-Carefully drop 3-4 bagels at a time into the simmering water depending on the size of your pot. They will float at the top. Let them simmer for 30 seconds on each side, and then place on a cookie sheet ,either greased or on parchment paper. Be sure you wait until the water is simmering here. If it is still slightly boiling, you will have pock-marked bagels. (My first three had this issue. Are you noticing a patience issue here? Hmmm...)
-After all bagels have simmered in the honey water, bake 20 minutes.
-Remove from oven, inhale, take pride in your bagel-making prowess!

Happy baking!


(Click here for printable recipe)

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