Friends, I am here to tell you that it is time to conquer your kitchen fears. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and just jump in with both feet. Well, maybe don’t close your eyes. That could lead to trouble. BUT. Very, very good (and delicious) things can come from conquering your kitchen fears.
These bagels are a perfect example. You see, me and yeast aren’t exactly tight. I mean, we usually get along when we’re making cinnamon rolls, but I’m not too trusting of yeast when approaching other baking endeavors. Yeast can be a bit temperamental. Like – oh, don’t make the water too hot or you’ll kill me! But don’t make it too cold either, or I won’t wake up. Don’t add too much sugar or you’ll slow me down! Basically, yeast does whatever the hell it feels like when I’m around.
PS. I’m not a bread maker, for obvious reasons.
However, this past weekend I wanted to try something new. Something that would challenge me and test the boundaries of my baking abilities. And given the arrival of the Autumn Equinox (umm, yay!), I also just had to bust out the pumpkin. And then I came across a recipe for pumpkin bagels. Hallelujah. Let’s do it!
Disclaimer: Making bagels is not an activity for the faint of heart. They take some time. However, when you pull those fresh bagels out of the oven, slice one up, toast it until it’s golden brown, and slather on a generous amount of cream cheese, it all seems worth it. I promise you.
My advice – plan ahead. Get everything together ahead of time and be patient. Don’t rush through the recipe – read it through first so you know what you’re getting into. Take your time and enjoy the process. My essential accessories of choice on this adventure – a french press full of hot coffee and some good tunes. I’m not going to claim to be a bagel pro just yet, but I was really pleased with how these turned out for my first attempt. The pumpkin flavor is not overwhelming and the spices are very subtle. My favorite way to enjoy these bagels was by toasting and slathering them with either butter or cream cheese. I bet they would make amazing bagel sandwiches too.
Happy Fall friends!
Makes 8 bagels. I made these bagels two ways – the first time with whole wheat and all-purpose flour (as indicated in the recipe), and the second time with only spelt flour. I loved the texture of the spelt bagels, but found the dough extremely difficult to work with. I ended up adding almost an entire additional cup of spelt flour in order to get the dough to come together enough to handle. If you’re going to use spelt flour, just be aware of this and exercise additional patience!
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup pure pumpkin
1 TBSP. baking soda (for the soda bath)
1 egg (for the egg wash)
Toppings – ie. sesame seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast, water, and brown sugar. Whisk together and set aside for about 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes frothy.
In a separate large bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Add the pumpkin to the yeast mixture, and using the dough hook, start mixing on low speed. Slowly add the flour mixture until it is completely combined, about 3 to 5 minutes. At this point, the dough should be smooth and elastic, but not too sticky (it will be pulling away from the sides of the bowl). If it is too sticky, incorporate more flour, one TBSP. at a time. Place the dough in a bowl coated with oil and cover, allowing it to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 90 minutes.
After 90 minutes, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and roll them into balls. Cover and let rise about 20 minutes more.
Then, using your thumb, punch a hole into the middle of each ball and widen it, trying to make it even on all sides. Widen the hole more than you think necessary, because it will shrink in the boiling and baking process. Set the dough on a parchment paper or Silpat-covered baking sheet. Repeat with the other balls.
Preheat your oven to 425°F and prepare the egg wash by cracking the egg into a small bowl and whisking with a fork.
Fill a large pot about halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add in the baking soda and gently mix. Working in batches of 2-3 bagels at a time, drop the bagels into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Flip them and cook for 2 minutes more (the longer you boil the bagels, the chewier they will turn out – boil for 1 minute on each side if you want them to be less chewy). Once done, remove them with a slotted spoon and place back on the baking sheet. Lightly blot them with a paper towel to remove some of the excess water. Then brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle with the toppings of your choice. Bake the bagels for 15 to 20 minutes (until golden brown), rotating the pan halfway through.
What are you baking up in your kitchen to welcome Fall?