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Bagel Sandwiches are Awesome

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I know I said I’d be back with another vegan dinner, but I forgot to take a photo of it! Plus, I deveganized it, but the Collard Greens and Black-Eyed Peas were definitely delicious.

Instead I have a sandwich using one of those homemade bagels I mentioned yesterday. I had a cream cheese, spinach, egg and bacon sandwich on a cheese bagel. It was pretty outstanding. I mentioned it to Brent several times, calling it the highlight of my day. That is definitely not an exaggeration.

I ate said sandwich while on a conference video chat with my mom and my cousin. Everyone I know and love is in the midst of the Snowpocalypse! On a side note, I freaking love Skype. It’s so awesome to be able to see my family while I’m talking to them! And it’s hilarious when my cousin, mom, aunts, and sister and I are all on one huge conference chat! 🙂

I know the rest of the country is getting pelted with horrific precipitation, but it was actually gorgeous here today! We live at the bottom of Queen Anne hill, and here’s a view from the right side of our balcony looking up the hill.

Cute, right? I love our neighborhood! I am so happy that we ended up here, and the more time I spend here, the more I love it. 🙂

Bagels

Of everything I make, bagels are probably my favorite. They’re much easier than I would have originally thought, the flavor combinations are endless, and they are just totally delicious!

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I’ve posted this recipe before, but I’ll do it again to make it easier for everyone, myself included. The only difficult part for me is shaping, but really, who cares? The bagels will be delicious regardless.

The steps may seem like a hassle, but please let me assure you, they’re not. These take a few hours, but nearly all the time is inactive. I made this batch while studying yesterday.

CLASSIC BAGELS

  • 1.5 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1.5 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ~4.5 cup bread flour
  1. Mix together yeast, sugar and water and set aside until foamy, which will take about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Combine salt and 2 cups flour together in another bowl and add to foamy yeast mixture.
  3. Slowly add additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Dough should condense around the dough hook and peel away from the edge of the bowl.
  4. If you are doing this by hand and not a stand mixer, go by feel. The dough should feel slightly sticky and tacky, but you can pick it up and handle it easily.
  5. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel.
  6. Let rise until about double, or an hour or so.
  7. Punch the dough down and reshape into a ball, letting rise again, for about 30-45 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 and begin boiling a large pot of water.
  9. Punch dough down and divide into 12 equal pieces (this is much easier if you have a food scale).
  10. Let pieces rest for 5 minutes under a kitchen towel.
  11. Begin shaping pieces. You can either roll into a long rope and try to connect and roll the ends together (which doesn’t work for me), or what I do is roll the dough into a small bowl and slightly flatten it. Then I just punch a hole into the middle with my thumb and stretch it out a bit. Not gorgeous, but I’m no professional.
  12. Shape the 12 pieces and then let rest about 10-15 minutes under the towel.
  13. Once water is rapidly boiling, using a spatula, carefully place 2-3 bagels into the water.
  14. Boil for 30-45 seconds and flip the bagels. Boil for 30-45 seconds on that side and remove onto a cooling rack using a slotted spoon or spatula.
  15. Repeat for all bagels.
  16. At this point you can add toppings. Brent’s favorite is the everything bagel, for which I use grill seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and caraway seeds sprinkled onto the top, but you could do cheese and herbs, sesame seed, whatever…
  17. Place bagels onto baking sheet and bake 35 minutes or so, flipping the bagels over halfway through.

I know a lot of people are intimidated by yeast, and even those who make bread probably think making your own bagels is a bit weird, but there is no reason not to. Yes, you could buy bagels at the store, but bagels shouldn’t have more than 5 ingredients, and they definitely taste better without preservatives or HFCS. You could buy them from a bakery or something, but they would be huge calorie bombs, plus these taste better. Really, they do.

Like I said, flavors can be anything. If you want to flavor the whole bagels, just mix in your flavorings in the shaping stage. I’ve done cranberry-orange bagels, pesto, sun-dried tomato, garlic-Parmesan, cinnamon-raisin. So many options! I use the bagels for sandwiches a lot, like last night’s burgers, and don’t worry about having 12 bagels laying around, they freeze really well. I slice them and stick them in the freezer and then just toast them right from the freezer. Works out perfectly!

Well, that’s my story. I hope at least one or a few of you will think about making bagels.

So after work, I have an info session with the director the nursing program. I’m stressing a bit — my entrance exam is next week! I’m not sure if I am as ready as I could be, but I just really want to get it over with so that I can stop stressing about it.

Seasonal Bagels

Brent is out for the weekend visiting a friend in Ohio, so I took the opportunity to make a royal mess out of the kitchen without him complaining about it. I decided to try a new bagel flavor: Cranberry-Orange Bagels! Tart and delicious. I used my half whole-wheat bagel recipe and added about 1.5 cups roughly chopped fresh cranberries and about 1 tablespoon orange zest.

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I had one of these for dessert after dinner. Yum. I’ve never baked with fresh cranberries before, only the dried sweetened ones, but these were really good. I’ve been feeling very celebratory with regard to the holidays this year, and using a small portion of the cranberries I bought to make the sauce seemed like a fun idea. It’s already gotten me even more in the mood for Thanksgiving!

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We’re leaving for Chicago on Wednesday after work, and assuming I still have some of these left, I think I’ll take some to the family. We’ll be there for a few days. I think we’re going to come back on Saturday, and this time we’re actually bringing the dogs. Should be a really good, (and probably pretty loud), time.

Bake-athon

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Because I had a three day weekend, I really felt like I could spend one of the days just baking and not worry about cleaning the house and all that other boring stuff. So after breakfast, the gym and the grocery store, I set off to start my bake-athon.

First up was to use the last of the organic pears we had laying in the kitchen, a day away from being rotten. I made Pear-Walnut Quick Bread, based on the lower-fat banana bread recipe from Veganomicon.

Then I got to work on making some sandwich bread for toast for the week. One loaf to eat, one loaf to freeze.

Following the bread was the project I was looking forward to the most. Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Glaze. So good. I had a pumpkin scone from Starbucks two weeks ago and ever since I’ve been wanting another one. These were much smaller, and then turned out more cakey than other scones I’ve made, I guess from all the pumpkin. A perfect fall treat.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons cream (i used silk creamer)
  • 1 egg

Mix all the flour, baking powder, sugar and spices together in a large bowl. Add in diced butter and mix with a fork until crumbly. Whisk pumpkin, egg and cream together and add to dough. When dough comes together, form into a ball on flat surface and flatten into 1 inch thick rectangle or circle. You can cut the dough into triangles, or use a cutter to make circles. Bake at 425 for ~15 minutes depending on size of scones. (This makes 12 scones, 2.5 inches in diameter).  Whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon milk and drizzle over cooled scones. Enjoy!

The final project for today’s bake-athon was of course Bagels! I made some sun-dried tomato for myself and some everything for Brent.

Here is the world’s ugliest bagel, according to Brent:

Today was great! I’ve been looking forward to baking all week, and now we have treats for all this week, as well as a pretty well stocked freezer.

On a side note, we went to the grocery store and because we’re trying to be mindful of how much we waste and we’re trying to cut down on non-fixed expenses, we planned everything meal out before going, used a few coupons, and managed to spend less than $45 at the store for groceries for the whole week. This was a big accomplishment for me, because I love the grocery store and every time I go I see tons of new things I want to try.

More Bagels and Some Cupcakes Too

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I wanted to make bagels for my friends and family, mostly because a lot of them seemed surprised that I made them to begin with. I heard a lot of “I’ve never heard of anyone making bagels.” So last night, I made up a few new flavors:

Pesto:

Sun-dried Tomato:

I also made Cinnamon-Raisin for my mom, but I lost my picture of that. The bagels were boiled of course, and then baked.

Here is what they looked like when they were done:

I made the Pesto flavor for my friend Tessa who loves pesto and the sun-dried tomato for myself, but I have to say the pesto was my favorite. Seriously Amazing.

I decided to make some German Chocolate Cupcakes as well. These were from the Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, since I was not feeling particularly creative. I think the frosting was really sweet and my coconut was definitely on the chunky side, but I think they turned out well.

Now off to work for a few hours and then we’re headed to Chicago!!! We have family parties, catching up with some friends and a Cubs game!

Bountiful Harvest

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I have been patiently trying to grow red bell peppers and cherry tomatoes in my front yard, and I’m finally seeing results. Nothing really edible yet, but things are definitely growing. Here is my pepper plant. It’s so cute!

And here is my cherry tomato plant!

Dinner

For dinner tonight we used our last bagels as buns for grilled veggie burgers, which turned out great. I think the bagel buns were a perfect size and texture for the veggie burgers. We used the “everything” flavor bagels. We had grilled asparagus and sweet potato fries as well.

Friday Cocktail

On Friday nights, we like to make a different cocktail. It’s a fun thing to do, and a good way to end the work week. This week we tried our hand at sangria.

We’re trying to use up things we have in the house, so our mix was:

  • half a bottle Pinot Noir
  • 1 bottle other fruity red wine that we can’t pronounce
  • 1 cup Blue Curacao
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lb. sliced strawberries
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 sliced lime
  • 1/2 pint blackberries
  • 5 cherries sliced

    That’s pretty much what we had in the house. I think some sliced orange and/or orange juice would have been nice and complimented the orange liqueur, but alas… maybe next time. The sangria tastes great and we’re keeping it in a pitcher in the fridge so it should be good tomorrow too.

    Happy (early) Birthday to Me!

    Brent got me some birthday gifts, and because he knows me very well, he did not bother trying to hide them until my actually birthday. I see more creative cupcakes in my future!! I’m so excited!

    And he was considering getting me another Moosewood Collective cookbook, but he thinks everything we’ve made out of Veganomicon has been really good and so he saw the author’s first book and decided to go with that. I’ve been skimming through it trying to decide what to try first.

    I’m making my first sourdough bread tomorrow. I hope it has been worth the wait!

    Bagelmania!

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    When we lived in Torrance, one of our favorite breakfast places was The Bagel Factory.
    Unfortunately, we have been unable to find an equivalent bagel that meets our (Brent’s) high standards in the Fort. Because bagels are delicious and we were unwilling to live without them any longer, I decided to try my hand at making my own.

    I made my first batch of a dozen bagels Saturday night, and by Sunday morning we only had 7 left. They had that perfect crispy chewy crust and soft inside. However, I realized I should probably make some attempt to beef up their nutritional value, since the first batch was made entirely with white flour.

    That brings me to last night’s attempt. I substituted whole wheat bread flour for part of the white bread flour, making sure to add to the kneading time due to the whole grain flour.

    The dough kneading in the mixer.

    After kneading in the mixer for about 5 minutes, I started kneading by hand for about 5-10 minutes until the dough was smooth and elastic.

    After letting the dough rise, deflate and rise again, they were boiled on either side and sent into the oven to become delicious.

    After flipping halfway through baking, the bagels came out and cooled.

    I made a plain one for Brent, a few sesame seed, everything, and parmesan, garlic and herb.

    I had one for breakfast with veggie cream cheese and another at lunch as a sandwich with tuna salad. Definitely chewier than their all white flour counterparts but they still had the crispy chewy crust that makes bagels different from other bread.

    Larry wanted me to show everyone what a great assistant he is. Here he is trying to eat some bread flour. He’s obviously adorable, but we try not to tell him that too often because he already has quite an ego.

    INGREDIENTS:

    1-1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees if you have a thermometer)

    4-1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast (2 packages)

    1-1/2 ounces sugar (~3 tablespoons)

    1/2 ounce kosher salt

    2-1/2 cups white bread flour

    1-1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour

    desired toppings: I like parmesan cheese and herbs, as well as sesame seed

    water for boiling

    PREPARATION:
    • To make the sponge: combine water, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes.
    • Combine 2 cup flour (it doen’t matter which flour you use first) and the salt in a mixing bowl.
    • Add the flour and salt mixture to the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
    • Slowly add in other flour, about 1/4 cup at a time until dough is sticky and stiff.
    • Roll dough out onto floured surface and need for about 10 minutes – just pushing the dough away and pulling it back toward you, while flipping it over.
    • Put dough in greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place until double – about 1 hour.
    • Knead dough for an additional 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
    • Placed the dough back into the greased bowl and let rise again until double – about 35-45 minutes.
    • Deflate the dough and divide into 10 or 12 equal pieces depending on how large you want your bagels to be.
    • Let pieces rest 5 minutes and then shape. I think the easiest way to shape them is to roll them into a smooth ball and slightly flatten. Then make a hole in the middle and stretch the hole to desired width.
    • Let shaped dough rest for 10 minutes.
    • In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Carefully place bagels (2-3 at a time) into boiling water and flip them over after 30-45 seconds.
    • Place on a lined baking sheet and top with desired topping.
    • Repeat boiling and topping process with additional bagels.
    • Bake bagels for 35-40 minutes, flipping bagels over mid-way through cooking.
    • Let cool on a wire rack.
    • Delicious toasted with cream cheese!