Bit of a Bust Bagels
In another bout of culinary adventuring, I decided to make homemade bagels! One of my favorite food bloggers, Half Baked Harvest, posted a recipe for cinnamon crunch bagels, and I decided to try my hand at it. This post’s purpose is to take you, my dear reader, on the journey that was bagel making. Let’s get started.
To kick things off, I thought the ingredients list was super easy. As seen here, there’s really not that many ingredients:
Very standard things, like flour, salt, butter, sugar. I didn’t have to go to the store for anything! Except packets of instant yeast. As you can see from the picture, the yeast I actually bought was not instant, because I am a fool.
So, I had to mix the yeast with warm water, specifically water that was a hundred degrees, but I don’t have a thermometer so I just microwaved some water and hoped I didn’t burn my yeast alive. I’ve also never used real yeast before, only instant one time before, so I hoped I was doing it right as I mixed the water, sugar, and yeast together until it just looked like brown water. Then it got kind of foamy.
After pouring everything in the stand mixer, foamy yeast included, I attached the dough hook and let it work its magic. After a couple minutes, I ended up with this!
The recipe said to let it rise for an hour or two, so I opted for two, because I was busy playing Super Smash Bros.
As you can see, this sucker puffed up!
I punched the bejeezus out of it and rolled it out onto a lightly floured work surface (aka I just threw flour on my counter).
The recipe said it makes ten to twelve bagels, so I chose to split the dough into ten pieces, and after doing my damnedest to shape them, this is what I got:
Hey, those things vaguely look like bagels! Nice!
The recipe said to make the holes two inches but I wasn’t sure how to measure that kind of thing so I just said to myself, does this look like a bagel? And if it kind of did, I figured it was close enough.
The next step was boiling. This part is very important, DO NOT leave your pot of boiling bagels unattended. Honestly, I wouldn’t even look away from them if I were you. Never in my life have I had a pot of water try so hard to boil over (and succeed).
Once they were boiled, the bagels grew in size a considerable amount. They were almost like sponges, and soaked up a bunch of the water, so I ended up having to add more water to the pot, and boil it all over again.
I didn’t know they’d get so big. Be sure not to overcrowd your pot, I certainly almost did.
Next was the pièce de résistance, the cinnamon crunch layer. Comprised of nothing but sugar, butter, and cinnamon, this delectable addition was sure to be the star of my creation. Behold their glory before I baked them:
As you can see from the picture, the mixture got all over the baking sheet and all up in the holes of the bagels. The recipe for the cinnamon crunch layer is supposed to cover all ten to twelve of the bagels, but I used all of it on these six. So I had to make a half-batch for the remaining four, and then I used all of that on the last four! Maybe I’m too heavy handed with it, or maybe it was because so much of it spilled all over the parchment paper. Either way, you might want to make sure you have enough of your ingredients to make another batch or half-batch if necessary.
Alas, the thing I had counted on being the star of the show was the demise of my bagels. Once they baked, all that sugar that escaped turned into severely burnt caramel.
All that black goo is basically molten sugar, and it coated the bottoms of the bagels. Once it hardened, it made the bagels practically impossible to bite through because the burnt sugar layer was so hard. It also tasted bad, because, well, it was burnt.
So, I learned my lesson, and with the remaining four bagels, I put the topping on them before setting them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. This ensured there was no sugar laying around on the baking sheet all willy nilly. And behold:
Much cleaner! These actually looked like they came out correctly. However, upon eating them, they were just too tough in my opinion. My dad said they were good, and they were the right amount of chewy, like a bagel is supposed to be. But I still think they’re too hard. My dad and I decided to microwave them for like fifteen seconds to soften them, which worked okay I guess.
I’m curious if they were tough because I overworked the dough? Or maybe they would have turned out better if I had used instant yeast like I was supposed to?
Honestly, for the effort and time put into making these, I would say it’s probably better to just go with store bought bagels, or picking up some Panera cinnamon crunch ones.
So, while these were not a total bust, and they are edible enough, I wouldn’t say this endeavor was a huge success, either.
Congrats! You’ve reached the end of the post, which means I shall bestow upon the recipe for these bagels.
What’s your favorite kind of bagel? Are you a buttered bagel kind of person or do you like cream cheese on it? Do you toast them? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!