Yeast Feast ~ Homemade Bagels

When I first thought about doing a series on bread and yeast, my main reason was to take a breather from sweets for a good minute.  I think seeing all the confections and goodies at the Bake Sale for Japan made me want to swing over to the savory side for a while. My taste buds were craving salt (as you witnessed in my previous post).  But then I started thinking too much into it, like I usually do, and wondered if I would throw off new readers who dropped by for a dose of sweets by sillianah.  

Then, while I was at Waldbaum's, I walked by the shelves stocked with 20 different kinds of Matzos and immediately thought, how insensitive was I to be posting about yeast-laden goods while Passover is about to be observed? I know.  The crazy thoughts that go through my mind... but wait, it doesn't stop there - another thought that I had was, why in the world am I obsessing over bread now that Spring has finally decided to show up? Shouldn't I be focusing on seasonal fruits and light, airy stuff?  

Who knows, blame it on my fear of yeast.  I'm not quite sure why I was afraid, but the last time I worked with yeast before last month's King Cake was oh... maybe almost 10 years ago?  Or maybe it was the whole waiting around for the dough to rise and all.  Patience is definitely not my best virtue as I've mentioned many times before.  But, I've finally, finally learned the truth of the saying - good things comes to those who wait.  Not only in food, but in life.  

These bagels are so wonderful, I cannot believe I waited this long to start making my own breads...slightly crispy and chewy on the outside, soft on the inside.  Toasted, with some raspberry jam, Nutella... now that's my kind of breakfast!

By the way, there really is no rhyme or reason to how I'm picking my recipes - whatever doesn't look too intimidating will do.  So if you have any good bread/yeast recipes, feel free to pass them over my way!  This one just happened to pop up in my Google Reader on Friday and I just knew I had to make them...I. must. make. more. bagels. There is a great step-by-step from Tasty Kitchen but I changed the recipe up a little bit to keep things interesting.  

Note: I highly suggest doubling this recipe if you want more than 4-6 bagels.  (I only got 4 out of it and was craving more...)

Homemade Bagels
adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Makes 4-6 bagels

[Print Recipe]

⅔ cups warm water
½ tablespoon sugar
1-½ teaspoon yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ teaspoons salt
cornmeal, enough to crust bottoms of bagels (optional)
toppings, such as kosher salt, ground cinnamon, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc (optional)

Combine water, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the flour, oil and salt, and mix until the mixture comes together (if necessary, add more water - but do so a little at a time).  Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 40-60 minutes.

Remove dough from bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead. Divide into 4 or 6 equal pieces (depending on how large you’d like your bagel). Roll each piece into a log, long enough to wrap around your palm.  Brush each end of the log with water and press together in your palm, forming a circle. Place the formed bagels on a floured board, cover and allow to rise another 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Meanwhile, bring 6 cups of water to a boil in large, heavy-bottomed pot. When the water is gently boiling, add 2 -3 bagels to the water, flipping, after 1 minute on each side.  Remove the bagels with a slotted spoon, and place on paper towels to take off excess moisture.  Alternatively, you may also place them, bottom-side down, onto  parchment-lined pan dusted with cornmeal.  Transfer to a lightly-greased baking sheet and sprinkle with toppings, if desired.  Repeat with remaining bagels.   Bake for 18 minutes, turning them over after 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

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