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Making Bagels

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So, I’ve made bagels once before, but it’s been awhile. For some reason, I just felt like making a batch. Who knew that today (February 9th) is National Bagel Day?! Was there something subliminal going on there? These won’t be baked until the following day, though…but I made the dough and shaped them on National Bagel Day. That still counts, right? Right.

To give credit, where credit is due, I am using a recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, by way of a website: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/. The recipe makes 12 bagels. It begins with a “sponge”, which is similar to a sourdough starter, except all the ingredients are fresh. About half of the flour is used with all of the water and half of the yeast. After a couple of hours, the sponge is combined with the rest of the ingredients to make the dough. After the dough is made, kneaded, and portioned, it is allowed to rise. Once formed, the bagels relax briefly and then are refrigerated overnight. The process is finished in the morning.

BAGELS

Sponge:

1 t. Instant yeast

4 c. Bread flour

2-1/2 c. Water

Dough:

1 t. Instant yeast (original recipe calls for 1/2 t., but mine has been in the fridge for awhile, so….)

3-3/4 c. Bread flour

2-3/4 t. salt (why not 3? I don’t know, but I followed directions here.)

2 t. malt powder (not malted milk powder) You could substitute a tablespoon of malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar, according to the recipe. (I used a tablespoon of molasses.)

1 T. baking soda (to add to boiling water for cooking)

Corn meal for dusting the baking sheet

Toppings, if desired. Poppy seeds, dehydrated chopped onion or garlic, salt, sesame seeds, etc. (I don’t do sesame, due to an allergy in the family.) I made my own mixture for Everything Bagels.*

Day or Evening Before

Make the sponge. Combine the ingredients and mix to combine. It will be wet and sticky. Cover and allow to rise for about 2 hours.

Sponge for making bagels

Sponge for making bagels

The sponge has risen!

The sponge has risen!

Make the dough. After rising, add 3 cups flour, yeast, salt, and malt powder (or substitute) to the dough and mix as well as you can.

Turn out on a clean, floured surface and begin kneading, using the last 3/4 c. flour to keep from sticking, incorporating it as you go. Knead for 10 minutes.

Kneading the dough.

Kneading the dough.

Immediately after kneading, divide the dough into 12 equal portions (about 4-1/2 oz). My scale is broken, so I had to eyeball it. Line a sheet pan with parchment and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Shape the portions into balls and put them on the cooking sheet. Cover the dough balls with a damp towel or damp paper towels and let rest for twenty minutes.

Divide the dough and shape into balls.

Divide the dough and shape into balls.

After resting, use your thumb to punch a hole in the center of each dough ball, and rotate the dough around to widen the hole. Try to maintain even thickness all the way around the bagel.

Shaping the dough.

Shaping the dough.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. You are done until tomorrow morning!

Ready for the refrigerator, overnight.

Ready for the refrigerator, overnight.

The Next Morning

Preheat the oven to 500F. Prepare a baking sheet with a sprinkle of corn meal. Bring a large, preferably wide, pot of water to a boil. Add the baking soda and stir to dissolve. This helps the dough brown properly, when baked. The original recipes from many, many years ago, called for lye. For some reason, that is frowned upon these days. (Seriously, don’t do it.) While the water is boiling, drop bagels in, one at a time, until the surface is covered. Boil for one minute, flip over carefully, boil for another minute.

Boiling the bagels.

Boiling the bagels.

Place the boiled bagels on the baking sheet and, if using toppings, apply them at this point, while bagels are still moist. Continue until all bagels have been boiled and topped.

I did half "Everything" and half plain.

I did half “Everything” and half plain.

Place the bagels in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 450F, rotate the pan, and cook for another 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and cool…until you can’t stand it any more! Note: my bagels took about 18 minutes, actually.

Done! How long can I wait? Not long!

Done! How long can I wait? Not long!

My “Everything Bagel Topping” without sesame seeds: I used about two tablespoons each of Roasted, salted sunflower seeds, minced dehydrated garlic, chopped dehydrated onions, and then about a tablespoon of poppy seeds. I used a mortar and pestle to break up the big stuff a little before adding the poppy seeds.

My "Everything Bagel Topping", no sesame seeds.

My “Everything Bagel Topping”, no sesame seeds.

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Pumpkin Bread

Mini Loaves, just out of the oven...oh MY!!! You want it.

Mini Loaves, just out of the oven…oh MY!!! You want it.

Every now and then, I use someone else’s recipe pretty much as is; especially when it comes to baking. The recipe below came up along with a number of others on Pinterest when I searched for “pumpkin bread best ever”. Obviously, they can’t all be, but this one turned out so yummy, that I’m going to file this one and keep using it! Thanks to “Mom’s Menu with Cindy”! (see her link below) I have copied her recipe, as is, with the exceptions that are my notes, in parentheses. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread

From: http://www.momsmenuwithcindy.com

1 3/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree*

Wet ingredients.

Wet ingredients.

4 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sweetened applesauce (I’m using homemade crabapple butter)
2/3 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon**
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg**

I half-melted the butter in the microwave. Used wire whip and it looks kind of weird, but it worked.

I half-melted the butter in the microwave. Used wire whip and it looks kind of weird, but it worked.

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves**
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger **
raisins and/or walnuts, optional

*Or substitute one 15-ounce can pumpkin puree or solid pack pumpkin

**Or substitute 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice for these individual spices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour well three 7 x 3-inch loaf pans. (I used 7 mini loaf pans that were about 3×5 and filled them ¾ full and it worked out perfectly.) In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, applesauce, oil, water, white sugar and brown sugar until well blended. (I blended the wet ingredients first, then the butter that I half-melted in the microwva followed by the sugars.) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger (or the pumpkin pie spice). Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Do not over mix. IMAG1653

Add chopped walnuts and or raisins, if desired. (I had a handful of pecan pieces left over from a previous recipe, so I threw them in.) Pour equally into the prepared pans.

Mini loaf pans, ready for the oven. Do not over-fill.

Mini loaf pans, ready for the oven. Do not over-fill.

Bake for about 50 minutes or until done. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Since I used the mini loaf pans, I checked mine at 40 minutes. They were just right at 45 minutes.)

Good texture.

Good texture.

Slightly cooled loaf. You can only wait so long!

Slightly cooled loaf. You can only wait so long!

Update: 11/16/13     I made a double batch of Pumpkin Bread today. It produced 2 large loaves and 5 mini loaves. I had a little left over, so I sprayed inside of a coffee mug with the cooking spray that has flour in it. I could have greased and floured it, but this was easier! Anyway, I filled the mug about 2/3 full with batter and microwaved it for 2-1/2 minutes.

Poof! It's pumpkin bread microwaved  in a mug!!!

Poof! It’s pumpkin bread microwaved in a mug!!!

batter in a mug

batter in a mug

My microwave oven is a small, weak one. If you have a good and powerful microwave oven, 2 minutes will probably be sufficient. It also puffed well above the rim of the cup, so 1/2 full would have been enough, but it was very good. It doesn’t brown like it would in a regular oven, but tastes just as good!

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