It's Secret Recipe Club time again!
This month I was assigned to Veggie Converter, where Kristi enjoys blogging about food she makes for herself, a vegetarian, her husband, a meat eater, and their two undecided kids. In 2011, Kristi completed a challenge to create a different family-friendly vegetarian meal for each of the 365 days in the year. I think that is truly impressive!
Since I am trying to make more meatless meals for our family, I found her blog to be a great resource and inspiration. Knowing me, though, I was most drawn to the baked goods, like Carrot Spice Muffins, Crockpot Cheesecake with Cookie Crust, and Chocolate Chip Quinoa Muffins.
I finally decided on making bagels. Hers were made with dried blueberries - but since I couldn't bear to pay $3 for a 3 oz package of those, I substituted dried cherries instead.
I have made bagels once before - and while they turned out okay, I hadn't been particularly inspired to make them again. These, however, were so scrumptious and wildly popular with my children, I'm sure I'll make them many times. They were really good fresh on the first day. But truth be told - I liked them even better lightly toasted on the second day. With just a smear of butter, maybe a dab of jam.....yum.
The recipe may look long and involved, but it's really not. You do have to plan ahead, but I thought it was great to have bagels ready to boil and bake first thing in the morning. I'll admit, it took longer than I was anticipating because I could only boil 3 at a time, so at 2 minutes per batch, that took me 8 minutes, plus the time to get them in and out of the water. Then after they bake, you're supposed to let them sit for 15 minutes before eating.....we didn't quite make it that long. The children were
Dried Cherry Bagels (adapted from Veggie Converter)
Yield: 12 large bagels
1 tsp. instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
2-1/2 cups water, room temperature
1 tsp. instant yeast
3-3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2-3/4 tsp. salt
1 T. brown sugar or sucanat
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 T. baking soda
To make the sponge, in your stand-mixer bowl, stir the yeast into the flour. Add the water and whisk well. Cover the bowl and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. It should double in size and fall when the bowl is tapped against the counter.
To make the dough, add the yeast to the sponge and stir. Add 3 cups of the flour, the salt and brown sugar. Stir slowly with the dough hook until the dough turns into a ball. Slowly add the remaining flour to stiffen the dough.
Add cherries gradually while kneading 6 minutes by machine (or 10 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface). If you try to add the cherries all at once, it's likely that they won't incorporate into the dough very well and you'll end up with a pile of cherry bits at the bottom of the bowl.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form into balls. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Spray two large sheet pans with oil or cooking spray. Shape the bagels by poking a hole in the center with your thumb and spinning the dough around your thumb to form about a 2 1/2-inch hole. Set the bagels on the sheet pans at least 2 inches apart.
Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. At this point you do a “float test” to see if the bagel dough is ready for retardation in the fridge. Drop one bagel in a bowl of water. If it floats within 10 seconds (mine floated immediately), you’re good to go and you just pat that one off and set it back on the pan. If not, return it to the pan and check every 10-20 minutes with the float test.
Once your bagels are ready, cover them with plastic wrap or foil and place them in the refrigerator overnight (or up to 2 days).
When you’re ready to boil and bake your bagels, preheat your oven to 500°. Bring a large pot of water to boil with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Boil as many bagels at a time that fit comfortably in your pot (mine fits 3) for 1 minute per side (2 minutes per side for chewier bagels). Remove with a slotted spatula to a drying rack and repeat with remaining bagels.
Respray baking sheets and divide bagels among sheets. Bake at 500° for 5 minutes. Switch the pans to the opposite shelves and rotate each pan 180 degrees. After rotation, turn oven down to 450°. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes, depending on desired golden-brownness. Cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.