Monday, December 20, 2010

Bagels, Bagels, Bagels!

If you are a fan of Bagels, and don't live in a town that is known for them, than you need to try and make your own.  There is nothing better than a bagel that is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Making bagels is so easy and the results are delicious.

This recipe makes 16 bagels which you may think is too many, but you can share with friends or put in the freezer for later. They freeze great.

So pull out you Mixer and lets get started.

For the dough:

3 1/3 cup lukewarm water
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons Malt Syrup. (if you can not find you can sub sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
9 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon salt


In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the water, sugar, malt syrup, and yeast.
Proof the yeast, it should take about 5 minutes for the yeast to start to bubble.  

Add the flour first than the salt.  You just want to keep the salt from coming in touch with the yeast. 

With a dough hook mix on low speed to incorporate and than beat on medium high speed for about 3 minutes.  the dough should form a smooth ball.

Place in a oiled container with a lid and let rise until double. 

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.  With a bench scraper or a knife, divide the dough into 16 equal pieces.  (don't worry if they are not all the same, they are home made)

Form balls with the dough and place on a floured surface covered in plastic wrap to rise.  Let rest until double in size.

Now to shape the bagels:

Line 4 sheet pans with non stick paper and lightly oil.

Take a ball of dough in your hands, with your thumbs and pointer fingers work a hole in the center of the ball. And stretch.   Place the dough on the prepared sheet trays.

Again, cover with plastic wrap and let rest and rise for about ten minutes.

Now to cook the bagels:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. First you boil the bagels, this gives them their texture. Place the bagels in simmering water for 3 minutes on each side.  Return the poached bagels to the oiled sheet trays.

Now to season,  You could just egg wash ( 1 egg plus 1 Tablespoon water) the bagels and bake or you can egg wash and add your favorite bagel topping. Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion, garlic, salt.  What ever you like.

Bake the bagels for 10 to 15 minutes depending on your oven.  Bake them until they are golden brown.  let cool for 5 or 10 minutes if you can keep your self from digging into one.  

Now enjoy!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pint sized Panettone

I make these little beauties every week for the Farmers Market.  I know they are traditionally "Italian Holiday Bread", but my customers love them. I do however make the traditional size at Christmas.

So here is my version of Panatonne.... 

Day one:

Soak 1 cup dried cranberries, 1 cup yellow raisins, the zest of 2 oranges and the zest of one lemon in with 1/2 cup orange liqueur, and one cup warm water.  Soak until fruit is plump at least 2 hours to over night.

Make the Sponge: 

In a container with a lid mix together yeast,1/2 cup room temperature milk, 1 tsp dry active yeast, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup bread flour. Cover and let sit for 8 hours or over night.

This is optional, but I like to add roasted hazelnuts. 1 cup hazelnuts Just place on a sheet pan and toast in a 350 degree oven until golden.  If they still have the skin on, do the same but after you toast them place the hot nuts in a dish towel and rub to remove the skin. let cool and chop.  Not all will come off but that's OK.

Day two:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, Add 1/2 cup room temperature milk, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 4 teaspoons dry active yeast, and any liquid from the soaking fruit. Proof for about 5 minutes until it starts to foam.  Add the sponge from the day before, 4 whole large eggs, 8 egg yolks, and 6 1/2 cups bread flour and 1 tablespoon of salt. Fit with the dough hook and run on medium speed until combined. Raise the speed to high and kneed for 5 minutes to build gluten structure.

Reduce the speed and add 1 1/4 lbs of room temperature butter, one ounce at a time. Mix until incorporated, scrape sides to insure butter is evenly distributed.  (the butter has to be soft to the touch but not too soft.)

Next add the soaked fruit and the hazelnuts if used.

The dough might seem a little sticky and you must fight the urge to add more flour.  Brioche is a soft dough.  

Place the dough in an oiled container with a lid. The container must be at least twice the size of the dough so that it has room to proof.  Place in the refrigerator for 8 hours to over night.  This is called a slow proof.

Day 3:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface.  Kneed the dough a couple of times and divided into 9 equal portions.

I like to use brown paper bags to bake the Panattone in.  These are what they call "2" lb bags. Small lunch bag.  I take the bag and cut it about 3 inches from the bottom.

Place the dough portions in the bags.  No need to oil the bags.

Now let proof until double in size.  Depending on the temperature of your house this could take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, give these little beauties an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water)  and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  A way to tell if they are done is to tap the bottom of one of the loafs. If it sounds hollow it should be done.

Add ribbon and you have a great little gift for the Holidays!

 and as always....   Enjoy!