Whole Wheat Bagels

I do love me a good bagel. I remember being 6 or 7 and going well out of my way if a poppy seed bagel was anywhere in sight. When I was a college girl I enjoyed going to a particular deli that used bagels instead of bread for its sandwiches, and from there I developed an appreciation for a toasted tuna melt on an onion bagel. When I married the Dearliest, I became a more adventurous cook, which led to two years ago trying my hand at making my own bagels. The basic recipe that got me started can be found here.

Because cinnamon raisin is the Dearliest’s favorite I picked it to experiment with, and it was a huge hit with him and all the in-laws, who were then staying with us. The bagels were so popular, in fact, that I adapted the recipe for a triple batch and made them nigh weekly for a short spell! I was encouraged to enter them into the local fair, where they took home a blue ribbon.

I craved bagels while expecting Squeaky and for several months ate them topped with cream cheese, sliced tomato, red onion, and fresh basil. Hey! I think I even have a picture of that. *goes off to rummage in the picture folders*

I haven’t made bagels since the fair, although there were several times where I meant to. Recently I kept getting mentally bogged down at the “boil first, then bake” step because my mind thought it would be time consuming. Then I pulled out the recipe and realized something (beyond the fact that I apparently need to rewrite the recipe).

For a triple batch, yes, the boiling step can be time consuming and a lot of back-and-forth in the kitchen. But a single batch, which is all I would make for us at present, wouldn’t be much time at all!

Thusly, I buckled down and made bagels today, and half of them are already gone. Next time I may consider a double batch, or just plan on making them a little more often.

Whole Wheat Bagels (makes 12 smaller bagels or 8 jumbo bagels)

In a large bowl combine:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast

In a separate bowl or container mix together:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt

Add the wet mixture to the flour and yeast. Mix with a hand-mixer at low speed for about 30 seconds, then mix at medium speed for 3 minutes.

[For cinnamon raisin bagels stir into the bowl:

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins, soaked for 10 minutes in hot water]

Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in:

  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups whole wheat flour

Once you have a thick dough, remove it to a lightly floured surface and knead until it’s smooth and elastic. The dough needs to be a bit on the wet side, so be careful not to add too much flour! Cover dough with cling wrap or a towel and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using a knife, cut the dough into 12 pieces, then roll each piece into a ball. You can experiment to see how you prefer to form your bagels. For a while I preferred the snake n’ pinch method (roll dough into a rope and pinch the ends together), but I found I was faster at pinching a hole in the middle of the ball of dough, poking my index fingers through opposite sides of it, and sort of spinning the dough around my fingers to form the bagel. Cover and allow to rise for 20 minutes, or a little longer if you’re making bigger bagels.

As a note, I like to lightly oil whatever surface I’m going to let the bagels rise on, since they’re kinda sticky and it helps them maintain their shape when I go to pick them up later.

While the bagels are doing their thing, bring to a boil:

  • water that fills about 2/3 of a big pot
  • 1-2 Tablespoons molasses

Stir the molasses into the water a little to spread it out evenly. Reduce the water to simmering. Grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 375°F.

Carefully drop bagels 4 or 5 at a time into the water and cook for 7 minutes, turning once. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain excess water, then place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.

Place bagels into the oven and bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove them to a cooling rack, and enjoy them warm or cooled!

The bagels keep for several days in an airtight container or bag, and the molasses water can be reused. I store mine in jars in the fridge when I anticipate regular bagel making, although I don’t know how long it will keep in the fridge…I always throw mine out once the bagel craze seems to be over.


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