Homemade Asiago Bagels

Monday, February 21, 2011

There really is nothing better than a bagel fresh from the oven...especially when it's your oven and you can eat as many as you like! The upside of homemade bagels is that they are relatively easy to make. The downside is that you can't quite get the super chewy yummy bagel "skin" that you get from a bakery. These are best when eaten soon after baking. And trust, me you won't be able to let these babies sit for long!

I've always used an adaptation of this recipe when I've made bagels (recipe at the end of the post). It's super simple but just requires a heavy duty mixer to deal with the heavy duty dough.

Let your water, sugar and yeast proof in a bowl. When it gets foamy your yeast is ready.

Combine your dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Make a well in the middle and add your yeast mixture and vegetable oil.

Use the dough hook attachment and mix up your dough. Knead by hand for ten minutes (or let the dough hook do the kneading for you. I usually go this route). The dough will stiff but smooth.

Place your kneaded dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for an hour.

Once your dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured surface.

Cut your dough down into 15 even pieces. I like to use my kitchen scale and weigh out each piece so that I know I'm breaking the dough up evenly.

I keep the dough balls (a.k.a. bagels in waiting) covered as I form the bagels so that they don't dry out.

Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball and work your fingers through the middle the create the bagel shape. I didn't do a great job with my dough so you can tell that the dough wasn't as smooth as it should be.

Cover the bagels with a tea towel and let the rise for 30 minutes. In the meantime, get a pot full of water boiling, adding a 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of baking soda to the water. This will help create a thicker skin to your bagel.

Once the bagels have risen and your water is boiling, drop a few bagels into the water. Boil them for 1 minute on each side. You'll note how puckered they get.

After boiling, mix 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and brush your bagels. If you want to add a topping, now is the time to do it. I topped mine with shredded Asiago.

Bake in a 500 degree oven for 10-15 minutes and voila! Fresh and yummy bagels straight from your oven.

Need a closeup of the yummy goodness?!

Asiago bagels
(adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride)

2 1/4 cups warm water, plus more as needed
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar, divided
6 3/4 – 7 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
1 Tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tsp baking soda

Combine water, 1 Tbsp sugar, and yeast in a bowl and allow to proof for 10 minutes until foamy. If there’s no sign of life after 10 minutes, dump and start over.

Combine flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, making a well in the dry ingredients. Add yeast mixture, and oil into the center. Mix until combined and knead by hand or mixer for 10 minutes. The dough should be stiff but should become very smooth and elastic. Form dough into a ball, put it into an oiled bowl, turning once to coat all around, then cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave to rise for about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and turn out onto floured surface again and knead for a couple minutes. Divide into 3 pieces, and then divide each into 5. If you have a kitchen scale use it to help you. Keep these dough balls covered or in your plastic-wrapped bowl while you’re not working with them. Form a ball and push your thumb through the center. Work around to make a smooth-ish ring that is about 3-4 inches in diameter.

Set bagels on oiled baking sheets, cover with tea towels and let rise for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 500 F. Set a large pan/pot of water to boil (at least 5 inches deep), and when boiling add 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tsp baking soda.

When the water is boiling and your bagels have puffed up a bit, start poaching. Drop a couple bagels at a time (or however many will fit with plenty of space) and boil for 1 minute each side. Place them back onto oiled backing sheets, well spaced.

Mix your egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water, and brush onto bagel while still moist. Sprinkle with Asiago. When all bagels are poached and topped, bake for 10-15 minutes or until they’re shiny and golden brown.

My Darling Dwight

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For our first Christmas as a couple, way back when, Steve bought me a Dwight (a la "The Office") bobblehead. Dwight has traveled with me from job to job, always getting a prominent place on my desk.

Recently, I've had to put Dwight to work. I can't just let him sit there and look pretty anymore. He's really good at holding onto things, so he'll often be sporting a variety of rubber bands around his neck.

Right now, he is also displaying a button that was created for the going away party of one of my co-workers. I think the over sized button has a true "Flava Flav" affect.

You'll also notice that with Dwight's purple pipe cleaner headband, he can hold onto my tube of hand lotion. Because of this new role, Dwight stays close by my side at my desk, especially during the dry winter months. I think if he works hard, we could also expand this role to include holding lip gloss, my bathroom key...the sky is the limit for Dwight!

**Please note: due to numerous moves, Dwight has a crick in his neck that just won't go away, so he's always looking a little to his right. Since I am not a bobblehead chiropractor, I sadly have not been able to remedy the situation.

Makin' Whoopie...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I love me some Valentine's Day baking! It's by far my favorite holiday to bake for. Last year I made an awesome play on a strawberry shortcake - it delicious, pink and heart shaped.

This year, since Valentine's falls on a weekday, I decided to make something fun to take to the office....thanks to my friend Serena at Big Apple Nosh, I found this recipe for Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. I made these guys mini so that co-workers can grab a little bite-sized treat when they're passing through the office kitchen.

What do you think about my first whoopie pie adventure (and, for that matter, my first red velvet)? I opted to scoop the batter into a pastry bag and piped them onto my baking sheet, letting me control the size/shape of my cookies. I also used up all of the red food coloring I could find in the kitchen!

Check out Big Apple Nosh for the recipe (and other foodie goodness) and enjoy your Valentine's Day <3.