There was a time that I fancied myself big on making bread – this was long before the pandemic turned everyone into a home baker, mind you.
I made sandwich bread, dinner rolls, breakfast rolls, pizza crust (that's totally a bread, right?), breakfast loaves, muffins, donut holes (OK, maybe I actually am veering away from bread toward cakey things that are just delicious), oat bread, flat bread and biscuits. I even tried crackers once, though my results in that arena were less than spectacular.
A few years ago I moved my trusty stand mixer from its permanent perch on the countertop to make more room in my small kitchen, and that was pretty much the end of homemade breads. But recently I was handed a stack of yeast packets by someone who was cleaning out their own pantry, and I pulled my mixer out of retirement.
The first thing to make was a no-brainer for me: Bagels.
I love a bagel at breakfast. I love a bagel at lunch. I love a bagel at dinner. I love a bagel at 10 p.m. when I really shouldn't be eating anything, but what the heck – why not?
These bagels are great, and pretty easy to make as long as you have a mixer with a dough hook.
Boiling the bagels for a couple minutes is what gives them that smooth, shiny exterior. It also puffs them up a bit, so don't crowd the pot – you want them to have room to “grow.” I've found that adding toppings such as sesame and poppy seeds while the bagels are still in the pot of water helps the toppings stick better than if you wait until you transfer the bagels to the baking sheet. Of course, you don't have to add any toppings at all.
My bagels always turn out looking a little more ... um, let's say “rustic” than the perfectly round ones you buy at a store. But that's how you know they're homemade, right?
31/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for your hands and work surface
1 packet (21/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
13/4 teaspoons salt
11/3 cups warm water
In the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook, add the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Turn the mixer on low then add the water. Mix until the dough comes together in a single piece, about 2 to 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium and continue until the dough becomes a soft and smooth ball, about 7 minutes.
Put the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let sit for 1 hour or until the dough has about doubled in size. Gently press the air out of the dough and let sit another 10 minutes.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Divide dough into 8 pieces. Put a bit of flour on your hands and roll each piece of dough into a ball. Press a finger through the center of the ball and gently stretch until the hole is about 11/2 inches in diameter (the hole will reduce in size as the bagel boils and bakes, so you want it to be larger than you might think at this point). Put the dough rings on a parchment-lined sheet pan and cover with a damp towel to rest for 15 minutes.
Working in batches so you don't over-crowd the pot, lower bagels into the simmering water with their flat-sides up. After 1 minute, flip the bagels over and continue boiling for 1 minute while you add toppings, if desired.
Using a slotted spoon (or other utensil that will allow water to drain away), lift the bagels out of the water and place them several inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Remember the dough was sticky when you put it on the parchment paper, so you might have to gently peel the bagels off.
Variation: For a more savory bagel, add 2 tablespoons chopped roasted garlic and 1 teaspoon onion powder before adding water.
– Adapted from The Galley Gourmet
Recipe Swap is published the second Tuesday of each month. Corey McMaken is a home cook, not a food expert. To share your favorite recipe for possible inclusion, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Corey McMaken, c/o The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St. Fort Wayne, IN 46802; include recipe, cooking tips, full name, city of residence and a phone number so we can contact you.
Bagel Chips are a simple way to use up extra bagels.
Heat the oven to 325. Slice 2 bagels into “coins” about 1/8 of an inch thick and toss in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and your seasoning of choice, such as sea salt.
Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, then spread out the bagel rounds in a single layer. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the chips are slightly browned. They become crisp as they cool. This makes 2 to 3 cups of bagel chips, depending on the size of your bagels.
The chips are great plain or paired with a dip such as hummus or spinach and artichoke.