Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bagels and Cream Cheese

Bagels seem to be so feared and thought of as so much work. I find making them fairly doable, highly rewarding and theraputic. I have tried many recipes, but this one with my alterations is my favorite. Our two favorite toppings are cinnamon raisen and Asiago. Be careful if you do asiage though. If you have kids around, they may have the urge to continually dip their hand in your cheese and consume large handfuls at a time....at least mine did. Please fogive half of my bagels for being short on cheese.


















Hope the pictures help. Try these out at least twice, the first time is a little confusing.


Asiago Cheese Bagels

adapted from Peter Reinhart

1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups unbleached high-gluten flour
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3 cups white wheat flour
3 T wheat gluten
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons malt powder or 1 tablespoon dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar 1tablespoon baking soda

(2 C. grated Asiago)
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, asiago cheese, cinnamon sugar, kosher salt, rehydrated dried minced garlic or onions, or chopped onions that have been tossed in oil (optional)

To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.
To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 2 cups of the flour, the gluten and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients for a ball, slowly working in the remaining 1 cup flour and 1 C asiago cheese to stiffen the dough. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour - all ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 71 degrees F. If the dough seems to dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky. Immediately divide the dough into 3-4 ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired


Form the pieces into rolls. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter (half of this for a mini-bagel). The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots.)
Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pan. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and slip each pan into a food-grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float. Return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.
The following day, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit. After 1 minutes flip them over rand boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side .While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. If you want to top the bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water. You can use any of the suggestions in the ingredients list or a combination. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.


Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: For cinnamon raisin bagels, increase the yeast in the final dough to 1 teaspoon, and add 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar(the same time I added the Asiago) to the final dough. Rinse 2 cups of loosely packed raisins with warm water to wash off surface sugar, acid, and natural wild yeast. Add the raisins during the final 2 minutes of mixing. Proceed as directed, but do not top the bagels with any garnishes. When they come out of the oven and are still hot, you can brush the tops with melted butter and dip them in cinnamon sugar to create a cinnamon-sugar crust, if desired.



Veggie Cream Cheese:
(This stuff is way better than the grocery store stuff.)
4 ounces light or whipped cream cheese
1 T carrots
1 T scallions
1 T bell pepper
Dice the heck out of the carrots, scallions and peppers. Mix with the cream cheese and serve with your bagel. Or sandwhich for that matter.

2 comments:

  1. Wow Tammy you're amazing! You've really inspired me to cook more from scratch

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  2. Mmm I'm not trying your recipe but I am making bagels for the first time and you're right, they're so easy! Now if only we had cream cheese in the house...

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