I’ll never forget the day I fell in love with baking. I was 7 years old.
My Mom decided that we would make a homemade pumpkin pie for the holidays. We spent hours deseeding and roasting pumpkins. I always enjoyed our time together in the kitchen because she gave me the best tasks.
On that particular day, I was in charge of making the pie crust look beautiful and fancy. Using my small hands, I tried my best to mimic the pie crust I had seen on the Thanksgiving dinner table, which of course resulted in something unsymetrical and pretty funny looking. Nevertheless, Mom was beaming at my accomplished pie crust and I was too! Eating the pie was the best part though; each bite brought me comfort and happiness knowing that I helped create a little slice of magic.
And so my love affair with baking began.
These days I find myself so busy that baking seems like a daunting task. It’s time-consuming, and sometimes a little bit complicated BUT I have to remind myself the results of home-baked goods are always unmatched. Lately I’ve been wanting to get back to real baking, the kind that is more like a project. And what’s more fun and interesting then making bagels from scratch? Seriously!
Now surprisingly, I don’t own bread machine, so I kneaded the dough by hand (talk about a calorie burner!); I felt accomplished and proud. Although, using an electrical mixer (such as a KitchenAid) would also work with this recipe.
Alas! I’m here to convince you to make homemade (handmade?) bagels. I’ll take you step-by-step through the recipe so that you can make these too! It’s a wonderful weekend project and great to do with kids. These bagels also happen to be lower in calories than bakery style, plus they’re chewy and toast perfectly. It’s some serious magic.
And since it’s Fall, we might as well make them pumpkin bagels, right? Then top them with a homemade whipped cinnamon honey butter.
So, here’s how we start: we’re going to proof the yeast (basically activate it)! Begin by placing warm water in a large bowl and adding the yeast along with brown sugar. The yeast essentially feeds off the sugar.
After a couple of minutes add the pumpkin, spices, and 2 cups of bread flour and mix until a sticky dough forms (pictured above).
Next, you’ll want to add another cup of bread flour; it’s time to get your hands dirty! Begin kneading the dough; it’s going to be difficult but you want to make sure that all of the flour is absorbed into the dough. Tip: coat your hands with a small amount of olive oil to reduce getting sticky dough all over your fingers.
Once all of the flour is mixed in, you’ll want to add another 1/2 cup of bread flour. It’s going to seem like a lot, but trust me, the dough will absorb it all, especially with the moistness of the pumpkin in it.
Now… we knead, knead, knead on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes. Simply fold the dough over and over. If you are unfamiliar with how to roll dough, you can check out this video for great tips.
The dough will feel elastic but not sticky when you are finished. If you feel as though it is sticky, continue to add a tablespoon or two of flour and fold it into the dough.
Now let the dough rest 5 minutes and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for about an hour.
After an hour, the bagels are ready to be shaped.
Line a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper or flour a surface and punch down the dough and shape into 12 balls (pictured above). I make sure they are even by stretching the dough into a rectangle and dividing them into 12 squares. Then I roll each square into a ball.
Roll each dough ball into a rope, about 8 inches long. Wrap the dough around to form a complete circle and overlap the dough. Seal the two ends together completely; this is an important step or the ends will come apart when you boil them. Alternatively you can push your thumb through the center to form a 2 inch hole and stretch the dough to form an even ring.
Do not worry about making perfectly round bagels! They will still be delicious even if they aren’t perfect.
Place the bagels on a baking sheet (greased or lined with parchment paper), cover again with plastic wrap and let rise for 15-20 minutes more.
Now we boil the bagels!
But why? Well, boiling bagels helps set the crust and creates a gel exterior. This also gives the bagels a dense, chewier crust.
Each bagel should be boiled for about 45 seconds on each side, then removed with a slotted spoon and patted well with paper towels. Transfer the bagels immediately to a greased baking sheet.
Next brush each bagel with an egg wash (lightly beaten egg). This helps crisp up the crust and turn it a gorgeous golden brown once the bagels are baked.
Now we pop the bagels into the oven for about 20 minutes until they are golden and beautiful!
I could barely wait to slice a bagel in half, toast it a bit, and spread it with cream cheese, peanut butter, or… this amazing cinnamon honey butter I whipped up. It reminds me of all things Fall and is perfect on top of the slightly sweet pumpkin bagels.
These are actually pretty easy to make when you get down to it. It’s a great project and quite satisfying to know that you made your own bagels. I keep them in my fridge for a quick breakfast or snack on the go since they’re a bit smaller than the typical bagels the size of your face.
So what do you think? Want to get back to real handmade baking with me? Let’s spend some time in the kitchen and have fun. The result is sure to be delicious.