Friday, August 29, 2014

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Can you believe it's almost September?  Where did the summer go?!  I know I have been MIA for most of this past year, but I thank you all for bearing with me.  There are some exciting things happening in my life right now - my little guy just turned 1 this past week, and as of a few weeks ago I am officially a stay-at-home mom.  What does that mean for you?  Well, hopefully I'll use my "extra" time (nap time and those few moments where he actually entertains himself without stirring up some trouble) to cook more and blog more!  If you've stuck with me during my crazy past year and a half (moving, new baby, etc) I assure you that I will be blogging more often now.

A few months ago What's Baking announced the theme of "Baking your Heritage", which ended up being sidelined for the summer produce theme back in June.  My original thought was to bake my own challah, which I've been wanting to do for a while.  But when the theme came back for this month's challenge I wanted to go a little crazier.  So I looked through a few of my Jewish cookbooks and had an "aha" moment.  What's more Jewish than bagels???!  I excitedly bought the few ingredients I needed (I had to replenish my whole wheat flour and buy bread flour and yeast, everything else was already in my pantry) and set aside a rare child-free morning to tackle this challenge.

It was surprisingly easy to make bagels.  I broke out the dough hook of my mixer to knead the bread which I think helped a lot (though you don't need to knead for as long, my mixer started smoking after 5 minutes!).  These were so simple that I think I'll try again with other kinds of bagels as well.  What I especially love about them is that I can make them whatever size I want.  We love bagels but try not to have them too often since the ones we buy at the local bagel store are approximately the size of my face (ok, I'm exaggerating - they are the size of my one year old's face).  So having these slightly smaller homemade ones are great to have on hand.  I ended up with 11 bagels of varying sizes so we'll have a few over the next day or so and can freeze the rest to enjoy in the future.


1 1/2 cups warm water
4 tsp dry yeast
pinch of white sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (use white whole wheat for a lighter texture)
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
1 cup plumped dark raisins
1 egg white, beaten

for the kettle water:
6 qts boiling water
2 tbsp. brown sugar

- In a large bowl, stir together the warm water, yeast, and white sugar.  Let the mixture stand for a few minutes to allow the yeast to swell and dissolve.
- Whisk in the oil, honey, and brown sugar, stirring to blend.
- Stir in the whole wheat flour, cinnamon, and salt.  Blend well.
- Add 3 cups of bread flour and knead for 10-12 minutes, adding more flour as needed to make a firm but smooth dough (***with my stand mixer I only kneaded the dough for about 7 minutes and didn't need any additional flour).  Let dough rest for 5-10 minutes.
- While the dough rests, heat a small bowl of water (enough to cover raisins).  When water is hot, add in raisins and let them sit for a few minutes.
- Knead or press the raisins into the dough.
- Please the dough on a work surface and cover with a clean tea towel or plastic bag, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8-12 portions (depending on desired size of bagels).  Form each portion into a rope about 10 inches long.  Form the ropes into bagels, sealing the ends by using wet fingers to press together, then roll on the work surface.
- Let the bagels rise about 20 minutes until they appear a little puffy.
- While the bagels rise, bring 6 qts of water with brown sugar added to a boil.
- preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Once the water is boiling and bagels are puffy, place a few bagels at a time in the boiling water.
- As the bagels come to the surface, flip them over and cook for another minute.
- Remove the bagels to the baking sheet and let them dry briefly.
- Brush each bagel with the beaten egg white for extra shine.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and reduce the heat to 425.
- Bake (turning once midway) until the bagels are medium- or golden-brown, 18-22 minutes.