Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mini Whole Wheat Bagels

I have a new-found respect for bakers.  As Belle from Beauty and the Beast sang, "there goes the baker with his tray like always.  The same old bread and rolls to sell."  (yes, I'm a huge Disney nerd...I'm pretty sure I can sing every song from this and many other movies!)  Yeah you know, the kind of baker that wakes up in the wee hours of the morning to bake artisan breads so you can eat them fresh for breakfast?  Bless them.

I'm fortunate in that I've never had an issue with making yeasted breads.  This wasn't hard either but boy was it very time consuming!  At least most of the time is latent.  It requires planning the night before so that you can get the pre-doughs kneaded.  I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure this step is what allows the gluten in the wheat to be broken down some and that's what makes this taste like a refined white bagel yet still with the nutrition of whole wheat.  So smart!  Then, if you're hoping to serve it for breakfast, you best get up at the butt-crack-of-dawn to finish combining the pre-doughs (yeah, this was a THICK dough...I seriously thought my Kitchen Aid was going to die at one point from overworking so I shut it off!) and then shaping the bagels for rising.  But wait!  You're not done yet!  Once your little bagels are all puffy and cute (mine got so puffy they nearly lost their holes!), you have to boil them in baking soda water to get that chewy texture AND THEN bake them to get the characteristic crunch.  After all of that, you forget that carbs are bad for you and feast!  I'll say it once and I'll say it again, I LOVE carbs.  Oh heck...they're mini-sized AND whole wheat.  Go ahead and eat a couple.

Sooooo good!  Worth the effort when you want something a little extra special :).  If you happen to have leftovers and want to try something different than just cream cheese, try using the bagels for sandwiches or top them with tomato sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings for a copy-cat Bagel Bite Pizza.  The latter is what I ended up doing for the Super Bowl and they were gone in a hurry!

Check another item off the 23 Things in 2011 List...woo hoo!  I can't wait to try other varieties of bagels.  My favorite at Panera is the Asiago Cheese Bagel with the Sun-dried Tomato Cream Cheese.  Who has a copy-cat recipe for that??

One Year Ago: Carrot Cake

Mini Whole Wheat Bagels

Mini Whole Wheat Bagels

Yields: 8 large or 12 mini bagels


Pre-dough 1:
  • 8 ounces whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) water
Pre-dough 2:
  • 2 Tbsp barley malt syrup (or molasses)
  • 5 ounces water
  • 8 ounces whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Final dough:
  • Both pre-doughs
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 7 Tbsp flour, plus more if necessary
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda (for boiling)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix all of the ingredients in Pre-dough 1 on medium-low speed until combined. Set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a 1-cup measuring cup, stir together the barley malt syrup and the 5 ounces of water in Pre-dough 2. Set aside, stirring occasionally, until the barley malt syrup dissolves into the water. Return to Pre-dough 1 and knead on low speed for 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Refrigerate overnight. Add the flour and salt for Pre-dough 2 to the empty mixer bowl; with the mixer on low speed, pour in the water-syrup mixture. Mix on medium-low just until combined. Cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set aside at room temperature for at least 8 hours or overnight.
  2. The following day, transfer the refrigerated Pre-dough 1 to room temperature for a couple hours to warm slightly. When you’re ready to make the final dough, stir together the 1 tablespoon water and the yeast. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix both pre-doughs, the water and yeast, and the salt on low speed until combined. While the mixer is running, add in the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it’s fully absorbed by the dough. Knead on low speed for 5-6 minutes, adding more flour or water if necessary to form a smooth, firm dough. It shouldn’t be sticky.
  3. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it increases to about 1 1/2 times its original size, 1-2 hours.
  4. Divide the dough into 8-12 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, then roll each piece into a rope about 3/4-inch thick (slightly thicker for larger bagels). Bring the ends of the rope together and roll them by placing your fingers inside the hole and gently rolling against a flat surface to seal. Set aside for about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat, and bring at least three inches of water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda, reduce the heat to medium-high and gently drop 2-4 bagels (as many as will fit without crowding) into the water. Boil for 1 minute, flipping the bagels halfway through.  If you can only fit one baking sheet, holding half a batch of bagels, in your oven at once, refrigerate the remaining unboiled bagels until the first pan is almost done baking, then boil and bake them.
  6. Place the boiled bagels on the prepared baking sheet.  Transfer the sheet to the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees, and bake until the bagels are browned and feel hard, 13 minutes for small bagels and slightly longer for larger bagels. Cool completely before serving.
Source: Originally from Whole Grain Breads by Peter Reinhart as seen on Beantown Baker and The Way the Cookie Crumbles


Bridget said...

Ha, yeah, they're a total pain in the butt. But yours look perfect!

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed! I wish I had time for a baking project like this, but for now I'll just live vicariously :)

Brady said...

These llook really good!

Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles said...

Thanks everybody! I couldn't have been more thrilled with the way these turned out :).