Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Homemade "Soaked" Bagels & Yogurt Cheese

This post is linked up with Cutting Back on Sugar on Naturally Knocked up
and Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet.

I stopped buying bagels in the store a long time before I ever stopped buying bread.  The reason is that my daughter loves them & will eat them all day.  It seemed like a lot of empty calories & sugars for her so I just stopped buying them.  But as we struggle to find things for my daughter to take in her lunches (she's picky) I decided to make some bagels for us all.  I had made homemade bagels once before, a long time ago, and it really is not too hard.  This time I used the recipe from Passionate Homemaking  soaked grains & no added sugar equals bagels I can feel good about.

First you mix 1 cup warm water, 2 Tbsp. acid medium (I used kefir), 1/4 cup honey & 4 1/4 cups whole wheat flour.  I had to use a fork because this is a lot of flour relative to not much liquid.  After a while of mixing I pressed the dough down (trying to get all the flour in contact with the moisture) covered it and let it "soak" for 12 hours.

When I was ready to make the bagels I combined 2 Tbsp. of yeast, 1/2 cup warm (100-120 degrees) water, and a dab of honey & let it "puff" for about 5 minutes.  DO NOT use a 1 cup measuring cup to do this in!  I turned around to do some dishes & when I turned back around I saw this!

OK, well we know that yeast is active!  I tossed the soaked flour mixture into the bowl of my Kitchenaid mixture.  You can see, it is very dry, but I think that's how it has to be...

Because once I added the yeast mixture (and 1 Tbsp. salt) I got a dough that was really very...

STICKY!  I added about a 1/2 c. of spelt flour to it & kneaded it for several minutes.  It did eventually become more of a dough, though still very sticky.  I wanted this dough to rise quickly, so I put it in the oven with the light on & a pot of just boiled water.  After two hours my dough had risen well.

Time to punch down the dough & since I wanted cinnamon raisin bagels I added about a teaspoon of cinnamon & 1/4 cup of raisins at this point.  The dough is still very sticky, but I did not want to add more flour.  If your dough is sticky I would suggest oiling your hands very well (I used olive oil).  After kneading in the cinnamon & raisin I picked up the dough & split it into half, then each of those into half, then each of those into thirds (making 12 balls).  I laid them out on the same oiled plastic wrap I had used to cover my dough while it was rising (oh yes, I reuse around here- a lot!)

While those are resting I've already got out my big skillet & started the water boiling.  I purposefully used this one, with the most surface area, because I wanted to be able to cook several at once.  Lindsay says to cook 2 or 3 at a time, but I just don't listen.  I am either lazy or I love being super efficient- or both!  After 5 minutes you then poke a hole in the middle of the balls & let them rest for another 10 minutes.  You can see mine are kind of wonky- but that doesn't bother me!

While they're resting you can also start pre-heating your oven to 350.  Hopefully by now your water is at a good boil.  Cooking them first in the boiling water is what gives bagels their characteristic "chewy" texture.  I cooked them for about 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side, and drained them on a wire rack.  A lot of the raisins fell out of the dough in the water, but when I had boiled all the bagels I just used the spatula to strain the raisins out of the water & poked them back into the bagels.

They were still very soft so I carefully transferred them onto a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.*  I did not do the egg white glaze. I'd rather not mess with an egg white, and they are fine without it, just not shiny.  After baking for 35 minutes they are done (and your kitchen smells wonderful).  The instructions are to flip them half way through, but my cookie sheet is insulated so I don't need to.  They aren't the prettiest things ever but they are very tasty!

*I always use parchment paper on my cookie sheets because I'm sure they are aluminum & I don't want aluminum touching my food.  And did you know you can reuse parchment paper?  Oh yes you can!  Since most things just slide right off you can keep reusing that parchment paper until it turns a dark brown.  I do this with my bread pans too- parchment paper makes getting the bread out so easy.

Have you made yogurt "cheese" before?  You just line a strainer with coffee filters, put it inside a larger bowl, and pour the yogurt in.  After a few hours the whey is strained out (save this in your refrigerator & use for soaking grains) and you are left with something very close to cream cheese.  I had put a large container of yogurt in my freezer (it was about to go bad & I didn't have time to use it up).  A few days ago I pulled it out so it could thaw in the refrigerator before I used it to make a wonderful creamy yogurt "cheese".  I like to put a couple spoonfuls of yogurt cheese in a small cup & then dip bits of bagel in there.  For my daughter I mixed the yogurt cheese up with some fruit syrup (frozen fruit cooked with maple syrup, leftover from breakfast).  And then I had a craving for ginger- so I took some candied ginger (ok, I confess there's some organic sugar in there), minced it & mixed it in with the yogurt cheese- that tasted awesome with a cinnamon raisin bagel!

Good stuff!

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