Fun With Yeast

this segment brought to you, once again, by the lovely person who runs the Baking Bites blog. i get giddy-excited whenever i attempt a yeast-y thing and it comes out well. and that’s mostly because so many things of that nature in the past have NOT turned out well at all (read: dense, brick like loaves of bread, and dry crumbly things that should have been soft and wonderful). a few weeks ago i did the whole english muffin thing and was entirely pleased with the way they turned out and since bagels are one of my favorite things ever & they’re expensive at the grocery store (if i don’t buy them in twos they’re 60 cents each! and don’t even get me started on the thick, rubbery pre-packaged ones …) it was only natural that this was the second breakfast bread i tried. i’m glad i did. they have a few steps to them, but they’re not at all difficult and split and toasted, they’re light years better than anything packaged i’ve eaten.

Bagels
recipe made word for word, step by step from Baking Bites

You Need:

1 Tablespoon active dry yeast (i had to open up a packet, then use part of a second)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 cup warm water
4 cups bread flour (this is where i might go differently next time. next time i’ll start with 3 cups and add the last one in as needed, according to the texture of the bread. otherwise, i think you’ll need to add in a Tablespoon or so of water to get the dough to the right consistency)
1 Tablespoon salt
1 egg, for an egg wash

in a bowl, mix together the yeast, sugar, and water. let this sit for 5 minutes. stir in the flour (you can do all four cups at once, or do it a couple cups at a time and stir it up, to see how it looks and feels. it’s up to you). stir in the flour.  mix this altogether. dump the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and knead it 8 to 10 minutes until it’s smooth and pretty. put this in a greased bowl, turning the dough over to grease the top. cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour or so.

after it has risen, dump it out onto a floured surface and cut it into quarters. then cut those quarters into thirds. you’ll get a total of 12 pieces. they’ll look something like this

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form these pieces into balls by pinching the ends under

100_0008your balls (hee) will look like this

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cover these with a towel and let them rest for about 30 minutes.

after they’ve rested, poke a hole through the center of the dough balls with your fingers. make these wider then you want them, according to the BB blog, because there will some shrinkage in the boil/bake process.

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bring a large pot of water to boil (gentle boil, not a huge rolling one). i dropped (gently) four bagels at a time in the water and cooked them for 2 minutes per side (per directions on the recipe). if you have one of those stick thingamados that come with some wok sets, use that! it’s perfect for lifting and dropping and flipping and removing the bagels from the water. if you don’t have one, a kebab stick would probably work, or a dowel, or a large strainer (the spider spoon thing). one they’ve boiled the above mentioned number of minutes per side, drain them on a towel lined cookie sheet. speaking of cookie sheets, line a couple with parchment paper, while you’re at it.

100_0012place the drained bagels on the parchment lined sheets. brush them with that egg wash. bake them in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20-24 minutes, or until they’re nice and golden on top.

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to serve them, cut them in half and toast them. i’d have a picture of the one i toasted and sampled, but my mouth wouldn’t stop munching in time to photograph it. surprisingly enough, i’m not sorry about this at all.

baking music: 500 Days of Summer soundtrack (i went to Jackson to watch this yesterday. so cute. and the soundtrack kicks ass. plus my girlfriend, Zooey Deschanel is in it and she makes me swoon)

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2 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, fun with yeast

2 responses to “Fun With Yeast

  1. I have been dying to try making bagels!!! Yeast doughs scare me though!

  2. rebekah

    used to scare me too but i’ve found the more you work with it, the easier it is. as long as you’ve got good yeast and a good recipe that you follow exactly until you’re used to it enough to change it, you’re good to go.

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