Friday, October 01, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Bagels

These were a great hit with everyone that tried them. The majority of the batch were boiled and baked, though I did deep fry a few to great effect.

I had a great deal of pumpkin on hand (and I froze even more) but you could easily make this with squash. In fact, I've baked with those frozen blocks of squash you can buy, and as long as it drains well, there isn't much difference between it and my own. It does pain me to admit that, but that's the truth.

Bread baking is funny (ha ha ha-no, you know what I mean) in that you can't give exact amounts of flour because so much depends on the moisture of everything else. You need to feel your way along (literally!). Keep in mind that the final amount of flour needed for these may be much more or less when you go to make it.

I ran out of bread flour after making the sponge, so I finished the dough with AP flour. Everyone says that worked great, and the bagels still developed the chewy crust they are to have. I don't know. Maybe a combination of flours is better? Or I was lucky? As I said, there are a million variables once you start baking bread that the best advice I can give you is to simply go ahead, and try it. Unless you completely screw-up, you'll probably get bread that is better than anything you could buy. *Shrugs*

You Will Need:


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

Mix well, cover with cling film and let stand 2 hours.

Finished dough:

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups flour (I used AP) (you'll probably need much more)
3 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons full flavour molasses
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups cooked, mashed, and drained pumpkin
1 cup raisins (optional)

Stir the yeast, salt, molasses, spices, raisins, and pumpkin into the sponge. At this point, start adding flour. You'll need to do this by hand or it will strip the gears of your mixer (trust me). It will be slow-going, and you'll probably still see streaks of the sponge through the dough-this is OK. Get in there and squish, and squeeze, and knead that sucker until you have a dough that is no longer too sticky to knead-you will likely need to keep adding flour, so keep the bag handy. You may need as much as four cups more (probably not) depending on the moisture of your pumpkin. This will take about 15 minutes. If the mass of dough is too difficult to manage, divide it in two and work in halves. When you are satisfied that the dough is elastic and no longer sticky, divide it into as many balls as you want bagels. I don't like huge bagels, so we got 24 from our batch. Roll the balls smooth, place on a lightly floured surface (a baking sheet works) and cover with a damp, not wet cloth. let them rest 20 minutes.

Shape the bagels by punching your thumb through the centre and shaping. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and continue (you'll need 2 sheets) until all are shaped. Cover lightly with cling film, and let rest 20 minutes. Transfer to fridge to rise overnight, or about 6 hours.

Next Day: (to boil and bake)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. dust 2 baking sheets generously with cornmeal.

Boil a large pot of water. Add 1 tablespoon bicarb (baking soda) and a boil a few at a time, for about 30 seconds, then flip with a slotted spoon and do another 30 seconds. Remove, draining as much liquid as possible and carefully set onto sheet. Repeat until one sheet is filled.

Bake 5 minutes, then rotate pan in oven and reduce heat to 450 degrees F. Bake another 10-15 minutes or until done. Remove to a rack. Return heat to 500 degrees F, and repeat with second sheet.

To deep fry:

Remove bagels from fridge and let warm a few minutes at room temperature. Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Fry in deep fat a few at a time for about 2 minutes of each side. Drain on a rack. Serve immediately, as they do not keep well.

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