Many of you will be reading Valentine’s Day inspired posts this week. These bagels are my contribution. Bagels? Yes, bagels. Back in 2006, I worked at a bakery in downtown Denver. I also met Ryan. The bakery and his apartment were only three blocks from each other, so I would leave after my morning shift and come knock on his front door. Those Denver mornings that year were cold, but I remember most clearly the sound of his feet as he ran down the stairs. Still wearing my black apron, I also held a freshly baked bagel. We sat and ate together. We fell in love.
And now, fast forward almost eight years. We have a daughter together. She eats the blueberry bagels we now make in our kitchen. If you haven’t made bagels before, I’m here to offer you a perfect Valentine’s Day activity. For those of you with lovers…for those of you with friends…for those of you with children…it works. Because what smells better than blueberry bagels rising in your oven? And what tastes better than a toasted bagel with melted cream cheese? This is love in gluten-form, friends. Lucy, Ryan, and I will enjoy a batch of fresh bagels this Friday…and you should too!
1 TBSP honey
1 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup + 2 TBSP lukewarm water
3 1/2 unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup dried blueberries (rinsed in water)
1 TBSP melted butter (optional)
Cane sugar (optional)
2 quarts water
1 TBSP baking soda
1 TBSP honey
1 tsp kosher salt
In a small bowl, stir the honey, the yeast and the salt into the lukewarm water. Place the flour into the bowl of a standing mixer (or any large bowl) and pour in the yeast mixture. Using a dough hook, or a large wooden spoon, mix on low speed for 3 minutes. The dough should form a stiff, course ball and the flour should be fully hydrated.
Resume mixing on medium speed for 3-5 minutes, or knead dough on a lightly floured surface so that the gluten can develop. The dough should have a smooth, satiny feel. If needed add more flour or water to achieve the desired consistency. Add the rinsed blueberries during the last two minutes of kneading.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and allow to rise at room temperature, for 60-90 minutes. After initial rise, divide the dough into 6 (4.5 ounce) pieces. Form the pieces into rolls.
Line 1 large sheet pan with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Poke a hole in a ball of dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter for a large bagel, two inches for a regular one or just slightly more than one inch for a miniature. The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible.
Place each of the shaped pieces two inches apart on the pans. Mist the bagels lightly with the spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and allow to rest over night.
In the morning, remove your bagels from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. After an hour, check to see if your bagels are ready for boiling. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be boiled when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. If they don’t float, let them sit at room temperature for 30 more minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Bring a large, wide pot of water to a boil, and add the baking soda and honey. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.
Gently drop the bagels into the water, boiling only a few at a time. After one minute, flip them over and boil for another minute. Remove the boiled bagels to a wire rack.
When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately five minutes, then rotate the pans. Continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown.
Remove the pans from the oven and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle the bagels with cane sugar and remove to a wire rack. Allow the bagels to cool for 15 minutes before serving.