Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blueberry/Lemon Bagels and Cinnamon Raisin

I don't make fruit bagels often, as it limits them to breakfast use, but I had some lovely blueberries that were pleading to be used in bread ("pleaseeeee, bake me in bread").

The blueberry bagels were quite wet, so you'll want to use additional flour as you work in the fruit-the dough will be much softer than you'd expect, but once they are boiled and baked you won't know the difference. I suppose the word I'm looking for is "slack." The dough will be quite slack.

I just made one batch of dough and split it for two different fillings. I'll give the basic recipe and let you follow your own tastes. I do the prep work the evening before (about 2 hours of work) and then boil and bake them in the morning. The overnight rise in the fridge isn't absolutely necessary-you could rise them on the counter for a couple hours and bake, but i think the long, slow rise helps the flavour of the dough develop.

A word of caution-unless you own a commercial mixer, do this by hand. I killed the gears of my professional grade mixer on bagels, and I wasn't even close to the ten cups of flour it was supposed to handle, "with ease" (yeah, my foot!). The sponge is easier to incorporate by hand anyway.

You Will Need:


1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups bread (strong) flour
2 1/2 cups water

Mix together, cover and let stand 2 hours.


Add to the sponge:

1/2 teaspoon yeast
3 3/4 cups (about) bread flour
2 3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
Add the flour a cup at a time. You may not be able to incorporate all the flour-that's OK. Do as much as you can and knead it really well.

After kneading, divide into 12-15 balls (or more if you prefer small bagels). Set them on a board and cover with a damp cloth. let rest 20 minutes.

Remove cloth, shape balls and then punch a hole through the centre-proceed to shape into bagels. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and cover lightly with cling film. Let rise another 20 minutes, then transfer sheet to fridge overnight (you may need two sheets if they are small).

Next morning:

Make yourself a cup of coffee first (you won't get a chance later).

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

When water boils, add 1 tablespoon baking soda (bicarb). Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal. Place bagels, a few at a time, top-side down in the water and boil 30 seconds. Flip them with a slotted spoon and repeat. Remove with spoon letting excess water drip back into pot. Place on baking sheet. If you are using toppings like poppyseeds, add them now so they will stick. When the tray is filled, place in the oven for 5 minutes. After five minutes, rotate sheet, then reduce heat to 450 degrees F. and bake another 10 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove with a spatula (they can stick sometimes, so be patient) and cool on a rack.

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