An Ode to Bagels

Miles/May 26, 2013

Reach back in your memory bank as far as you can and search for the moment when you first bit into a bagel with cream cheese. Hold onto that moment as long as you can and enjoy it. Since that bite, you have never been the same. There’s just something about that combination of foods, flavors and textures – your mind instantly knows it’s going to be a favorite. How the bagel became an American icon, we’re not sure, but if you’re to check the facts, it started around 1683.

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Somewhere around that time, a special being (call it what you want) blessed the earth with the coolest thing since the dinosaurs. The bagel. Somewhere shortly after that someone even smarter decided to throw in some sesame seeds, some more salt, some poppy seeds and a little onion, and the everything bagel was crated.

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The popularity of bagels has seen a constant rise since it was first created. The appetite for bagels increased 37% since 1994, and it is estimated figures reached nearly $940 million by 2011. Need something to invest in? Bagels are purchased by 46% of all consumers (mainly college students)—and most purchase frozen bagels from their local supermarket. However, it’s the pleasure of a fresh-baked bagel that allows you to truly enjoy the finer things in life.

We happen to stumble upon an amazing recipe over at Hungry Gnomes (an awesome little blog) for creating your own whole wheat everything bagels that we’d love to share. Let’s face it, fresh bagels are great, but when they come out of your own oven, they’re perfect.

This recipe makes 10 mini or 6-7 medium-large bagels

Total time involved: about 1 1/2 hour, including dough-rest-time

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ c warm water, about 110 degrees
  • 4 ½ t active dry yeast (or 2 packets)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (or honey or agave)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups bread flour (try whole wheat bread flour)
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups(try all-purpose whole wheat flour)
  • 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon water for the egg wash
  • Make it an everything bagel: 4 tsp each of dried garlic, dried onion, poppy seeds and sesame seeds and 2 tsp kosher salt all mixed together in a bowl (this, of course, is totally up to you!)

Directions:

  1. Dissolve sugar in water and add the yeast. Let it stand until the mixture bubbles, for a few minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, sift together the bread flour, 1 ½ cups of the whole wheat flour, and salt.
  3. Form a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Stir right nice to combine. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes (getting the yeast all excited), adding extra whole wheat flour as needed.
  4. Place dough in a large, greased bowl, then cover and set in a warm place -let it rise until it doubles in size (way cool), about an hour.
  5. Once it’s gotten large, divide the dough into small pieces with a bench scraper/knife. Shape each into a ball and allow to relax for a few minutes.
  6. Flatten each round with the palm of your hand. With your thumb, press into the center of the bagel and tear open a hole in the center with your fingers. Pull the hole open.
  7. Cover the bagels with a kitchen towel and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  9. Bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of sugar. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Put 2-3 bagels at a time into the simmering water for about 30 seconds, turning once (this sounds way more intimidating than it is; really, you just plop them in and turn them over).
  10. Drain and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush with the egg wash (or flax meal wash) and sprinkle with your toppings of choice. Using a spatula or your fingers, flip bagels over and repeat with egg wash and toppings.
  11. Bake for 30-35 mins or until goldenly (that’s a word) browned.
  12. Eat with organic cream cheese, fresh chêvre or even peanut butter and bananas. Or, go get some fresh lox, capers, and red onion and really do it up. You’ve created a bit of heaven right on your plate.

Thanks to Hungry Gnomes for the great photo and the recipe.

Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy a bagel:

Bageland avocado

Sundried tomato bagel with cream cheese and avocado via Culinary Catastrophe.

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Everything bagel with kale, mushroom, tofu scramble, shallot hash browns and avocado via The Veganette.NSCbagellox

Poppyseed bagel with cream cheese, lox, cucumbers and capers via Preparatory School.

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Cinnamon-raisin bagel with crunchy peanut butter via Heather Eats Almond Butter.

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Everything bagel with edamame hummus, sprouts, cucumbers, red onions and carrots from Living On The Vedge.

 

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