Thursday, July 12, 2012


I'm feeling absolutely horrible today, so I'm probably not going to get a real post written.  I woke up this morning, went to the kitchen to start a batch of scones for breakfast, then promptly had a seizure.  For those of you who don't have seizures, you may be unaware of exactly how exhausting they are and how "off" you can feel for the rest of the day post-seizure.  I've had a killer migraine for the last six(!!) hours and am trying to do my best to not break down in tears due to just how "blah" I feel. 
I'm not sure if it's the heat from the oven or the fact that I go from asleep to mixing dough in less than five minutes, but I was actively cooking breakfast last time I had a seizure, too.  Apparently my body has decided that cooking breakfast first thing in the morning is evil, so I'll take today to share my favorite recipe for a breakfast that you can prepare weeks ahead of time.  It freezes well, reheats to perfection, and can even work as a sandwich roll.  What could this awesome breakfast food possibly be?  Bagels!

I promise I'll be back tomorrow with something more interesting and less whiny.  Thanks for understanding, Internet.

Forgot to get a picture of them post-baking; will make sure to do that next time!

"Every Week" Bagels

adapted from Lauren Groveman's recipe, as featured on "Baking with Julia".
Ingredients in bold are not included in the measurements listed below.
2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups lukewarm water, separated
1 pinch + 2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp vegetable shortening
5-6 cups bread flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
poppy seeds, to taste

In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast and pinch of sugar in 1/4 cup lukewarm water.  Allow to stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

To the yeast, add the remaining 2 cups water, 2 tbsp sugar, shortening, 3 cups of the bread flour, salt, pepper and poppy seeds.  Use the hook attachment for the mixer as a "spoon" to roughly combine the ingredients in the mixer bowl.  Attach the dough hook and mix dough on low speed for 2-3 minutes, until thoroughly combined.  Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough comes together and forms a ball on the hook, about 5-7 more minutes.  Turn out dough onto lightly floured work surface and knead several times to form a ball. 

Grease a large bowl (or mixer bowl) and return dough to bowl, turning to coat in oil.  Cover in plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled, then punch down dough.  Allow to rise a second time at room temperature, then punch down again.  Allow dough to rise in refrigerator until ready to use, at least 2 and as many as 24 hours.

Once ready to make the bagels, preheat the oven to 500* and bring 3-4 quarts of water to the boil in a large pot.  While the water is heating, punch down the bagel dough and divide into 12 equal pieces.  Form each piece into a smooth ball, then poke a hole in the center and stretch the dough out so that you have a 4" diameter hole in the center of each bagel (remember: the holes will shrink as you boil the bagels).

Once the water is boiling, add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp baking soda.  Carefully drop 3-4 bagels in the water and allow to boil about 3 minutes.  Flip bagels (using either a chopstick or a slotted spatula) and allow to cook an initial 3 minutes.  Remove bagels from water using slotted spatula, making sure to allow excess water to drip off and back into the pot, and place on a Silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheet (you will need two total).  Repeat with remaining bagels.

In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with a splash of water to make an egg wash; use your fingers to remove the clumpy bits of egg white.  Working one at a time, brush bagels with egg wash, then top with additional salt, freshly ground pepper and/or poppy seeds.

Once all bagels are topped, place baking sheets in the preheated oven, one rack in the top third, one in the lower third.  Throw a few ice cubes onto the oven floor, then immediately close the door and reduce the heat to 450*.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bagels are golden brown, making sure to rotate the pans halfway through baking.  Remove bagels to racks to cool, then slice in half and freeze.

To reheat (we don't have a toaster), place bagels in cold oven and then allow the oven to preheat to 375*.  Separate the bagel halves once the oven has preheated, then place inside-up on a baking sheet and allow to toast an additional 5-10 minutes.

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