Monday, March 25, 2013

100% Whole Wheat Bagels (2 hour recipe)

Okay, so with the real food thing, finding ready made baked goods-- bread and the like-- has been the hardest part. The difficulties in finding unprocessed (or minimally so) products has led me to do plenty of baking experiments on my own. Thankfully we do not have to rely completely on me as the family baker as I did finally find a whole wheat sandwich bread with no extra ingredients that the kids like and a whole wheat loaf that the grown ups like (a little chewier, I use it for sandwiches and toast mainly). I have also been able to find tortillas (both whole wheat and white) with basic ingredients and no additives at both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

One thing that I haven't been able to find is preservative or dough conditioner-free whole wheat bagels. Our 6 year old goes through phases where he's really in the mood for certain foods and will eat mainly that for breakfast. Lately its been waffles which I've been cranking out regularly to keep the freezer stocked. But in the last 2 weeks he's asked for a bagel 3 or so times, so I guess its time to make another batch. I made the first one a few months ago as an experiment. I thought they actually came out pretty good. But I wanted to repeat it (the scientist in me!) to make sure the results were the same before sharing it with you. Now that I've got the second batch out of the oven, I think I can safely pass this on to you!

The yield on this recipe will vary depending on what size bagel you make. The first time I divided the dough into 12 equal parts. This made small bagels about the size of the "mini" bagels they sell in the store. Really about perfect for a small child.  This time I opted to divide it into 8 parts as it was a little unsatisfying for the adults and the little dude has been pretty hungry lately (growth spurt coming, I think). The bagels are definitely full size without being ridiculous. If you really want a BIG bagel, you could divide the dough into 6 parts.

Now if you are a bagel snob, you might be disappointed. There are things that are typically done to bagel dough traditionally that we are skipping-- mostly because I do not want to be hunting down specialty ingredients or get involved in a recipe that takes 2 days. However, I personally don't notice the difference and you will get a nice chewy bagel out of this that toasts up great!

Recipe: 100% Whole Wheat Bagels
yield: 6 extra large, 8 large or 12 mini bagels

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 package (or 2 1/2 tsp) yeast
3 Tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
3 1/2 -4 cups whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur's white whole wheat)

1) In a large mixing bowl, pour warm water. Whisk in yeast package and sugar. Let sit until foamy, approximately 5 min.
2) Stir in salt and gradually stir in 3 cups of the flour.
3) Turn out dough and knead in additional flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough is lightly tacky but not sticky--about 5-8 minutes.
4) Return dough to covered bowl and allow to rise until doubled (approx. 1 hour)
5) After dough has risen, preheat oven to 400 F.
6) Fill large pot with approximately 2 quarts of water with 2 Tbs of sugar stirred in. Bring to a simmer.
7) While oven and pot of water are heating, divide dough into desired number of portions.
8) Roll each portion into a ball. Flatten lightly and use one finger to poke a hole in the center. Gently stretch the hole until it is about half again WIDER than you want your final bagel hole. (This time I didn't stretch enough and all my bagels ended up looking like belly buttons because their holes closed up!)

9) Carefully drop one bagel into the boiling pot of water (I recommend topside down for better looking bagels). Let simmer for 30 seconds and then use a spoon or tongs to flip. Allow other side to simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from water, allow to drain and place on parchment covered baking sheet.
10) Repeat for remaining bagels. When all the bagels are finished, if desired, brush with an egg wash and top with sesame seeds, dried onion, poppy seeds or some combination of these.
11) Bake in 400 F oven for 30-35 minutes.
12) Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container in fridge or freezer!

I'd love to get someone else's opinion on these-- are they true enough to traditional bagels? Comment below and let us know what you think!

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