Ineveitably the popularity of bagels is inspiring home bakers to flour their bread boards, heat up their ovens and bake bagels.
Bread machines have revolutionized home bread baking and removed the tedium of mixing and kneading dough. We've targeted bagel recipes that we've tested specifically for bread machines, a foolproof process when ingredients are measured and timing followed. The same recipes are a breeze to make in a food processor, with a heavy-duty time considerably. Using the combination of frrod processor or electric mixer and microwave now means you can literally have bagels from dough to oven in about 25 minutes.
Boiling is the important step that gives bagels their unmatched chewable quality and adds the distinctive shine to the crusty surface. It's a deceptively easy task. Boiling the shaped dough is like making pasta, but faster and easier. It's certainly easier than making croissants, for example.
You can make bagels of almost any flavor and size, given the parameters of your kneading ability, and the size of your boiling or "kettling" pot and oven. A 1½ pound bread machine produces 8 to 12 bagels, depending on the size of the bagels. Hand-mixing and heavy-duty electric mixers can deal with larger dough batches.
WHY MAKE BAGELS AT HOME WHEN THEY ARE SO READILY AVAILABLE?
You can load them with your favorite ingredients and really taste them. I've tasted and analyzed many good commercially made bagels, but some have one or two raisins in a cinnamon-raisin bagel, one chip in a chocolate chip bagel and no taste at all in a pineapple-coconut bagel, with no sign of any pineapple. If I hadn't read the bin label, I would have thought I was eating a plain bagel.
The aroma of baking bagels will have your family tumbling out of bed in the morning, anxious to eat them warm right from the oven. Make them for guests — they'll talk about it for years.
The satisfaction of shaping sough and creating delicious bagles is hard to describe. Children revel in taking a ball of dough, working in a few raisins or chocolate chips into it, and then punching a hole through it. They follow the process through boiling and baking until they see "their" bagel, shiny and hot, emerge from the oven.
Finally, your homemade bagels will have no preservatives and no artificial flavoring. When you bake bagels, you know what's going into them. And if you're allergic to any flours normally used, it's easy to find substitutes.
In this book, along with innovative recipes for bagels, you'll find suggestions for spreads, sandwiches and canapes. Use these for homemade bagels and also for bagels you buy. Most bagel stores and delis offer a dozen or so spreads and sandwiches, some inspired, but most are ordinary because they're the ones that sell the best. At home, you have triple the choice. Any will look elegant and taste haute gourmet if you serve them for bagel brunches, lunches, and at different holidays. the cranberry spreads, for example, will delight your family and guests for Thanksgiving.
What is the real test of a good bagel? If you and your family like them, that's all that matters. Fortunately, there are no tests, no standards. No one can agree on what is "best." So surge forward. Bake bagels and embellish them according to your tastes.
From: Carolyn Shaw Date: 12 May 96
Your About Bagels -- Homemade is ready. Happy cooking!
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