When it comes to breads, I would rather make my own then buy them in a grocery store. Why? Well, as with anything, I like to see exactly what goes into the food I am eating. If I make it myself, I know that I am using quality ingredients and that there isn’t any hidden butter/sugar in the recipe.
Bagels, while not the healthiest things in the world, are one of my many food weaknesses. I like just about every kind of bagel. Give me a bacon, egg and cheese bagel and I’m one happy girl.
I recently decided to try my hand at making Panera’s Cinnamon Crunch Bagels. Panera’s bagels have a whopping 420 calories, 81 carbs, 31 g sugar and 6 g of fat. But, as it turns out, making them yourself can shave off nearly half of the calories, sugar and carbs. My bagels have 258 calories, 49 carbs, 14 g sugar and 4 g fat. (Without the sugar topping they are only 191 calories per bagel) Not as healthy as I would like, but an improvement!
I am confident in my baking skills, but was hesitant about making bagels because I had not ventured into this territory before. But, going to Panera, Bruegger’s or Einstein Bros to buy bagels gets pricey. And hey, I’m always up for a challenge.
I used a bagel recipe from Epicurious, but made some minor changes. I am so pleased with how they came out and it will be hard for me to ever buy bagels from a store ever again. I am all about making everything homemade. (Remember, the way to a persons heart is through food, homemade food, that is). My recipe made 9 bagels, because I wanted them to be slightly smaller than normal, but you could easily make 8 larger bagels with this recipe.
Cinnamon Crunch Bagels
Makes 8-9 bagels
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp instant yeast
1.5 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp water, room temperature
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
2-3 quarts water
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
3-4 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon
Day 1: Preparation
Stir the honey, yeast and salt into the water. Place the flour in a separate bowl (preferably the bowl of a standing mixer). Pour in the liquid mixture. Using the dough hook of a standing mixer, mix on low for 3 minutes, until well blended. The dough should be a coarse ball. (Make sure the dough is fully hydrated and if not, add more water, a tbsp at a time). Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Mix the dough again for 3 minutes on low speed to develop the gluten. The dough should have a barely tacky feel and should be stiff yet supple.
Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for at least an hour.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (or Silpat, if you have one) and spray with cooking spray. Divide the dough into equal pieces (A typical bagel is about 4 ounces before baking, but I made mine between 3.2 and 3.4 ounces each. Also, if you make more than 6 bagels, you will likely need to prepare 2 sheet pans.) Form each piece of dough into a ball by rolling it on a dry work space with a cupped hand. (If the dough slides around, try wiping the surface with a wet paper towel).
Poke a hole in the center of the ball with your thumb to create a doughnut shape. Then, holding the dough with both thumbs, gently rotate and pull the dough until the hole is stretched to about 2 inches in diameter.
(Epicurious states another method as well, which I did not try: “use both hands (and a fair amount of pressure) to roll the ball into a rope about 8 inches long on a clean, dry work surface. (Again, wipe the surface with a damp towel, if necessary, to create sufficient friction on the work surface.) Taper the rope slightly at each end and moisten the last inch or so of the ends. Place one end of the dough in the palm of your hand and wrap the rope around your hand to complete the circle, going between your thumb and forefinger and then all the way around. The ends should overlap by about 2 inches. Squeeze the overlapping ends together by closing your hand, then press the seam into the work surface, rolling it back and forth a few times to seal. Remove the dough from your hand, squeezing it to even out the thickness if need be and creating a hole of about 2 inches in diameter.”)
Place the bagel on the oiled sheet pans. Lightly brush with olive oil. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or for up to 2 days).
Day 2: Bagel baking day!
Remove the bagels from the fridge about 60-90 minutes before you plan on baking them. Immediately check to see if the bagels are ready to use by using the “float test.” Place one of the bagels in a bowl of cold water. If it floats, it is ready. If it sinks and doesn’t float back to the surface, return it to the pan and wait another 15-20 minutes. When one bagel passes, they usually all do (I checked about half of them to be extra sure..they all passed with flying colors the first time!)
Preheat your oven to 500°F (do this about 30 minutes before planning to put them in the over, it takes awhile to get your oven to that temperature).
To make the poaching liquid, fill a large pot with 2-3 quarts water. Make sure the water is at least 4 inches deep. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain at a simmer. Stir in the honey, baking soda and salt.
Gently lower each bagel into the simmering poaching liquid, adding as many as will comfortably fit in the pot. After 1 minute, use a slotted spoon to turn each bagel over. Poach for another 60 seconds, then use the slotted spoon to transfer it back to the pan, domed side up. It’s important that the parchment paper be lightly oiled, or the bagels will stick, badly. If using a garnish other than the cinnamon-crunch topping, sprinkle it on as soon as the bagels come out of the water.
Transfer the pan of bagels to the oven, then lower the oven heat to 450°F.
Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and check the underside of the bagels. If they’re getting too dark, place another pan under the baking sheet. (Doubling the pan will insulate the first baking sheet.) Bake for another 8-10 minutes, until the bagels are a golden brown.
If making cinnamon-crunch* bagels:
While the bagels are in the oven, mix together the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl (big enough to fit a bagel into). Melt butter in separate bowl. Once the bagels come out of the oven, brush the top of each bagel with butter, then immediately dip the bagel into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
*If you want more of a “crunch” to your bagel’s topping, like Panera’s, put the crunch topping on halfway through baking.
With cinnamon-crunch topping: 258 calories, 49 grams carbs, 4 grams fat, 14 grams sugar, 6 grams protein
Without topping (plain bagels): 191 calories, 40 grams carbs, 0 grams fat, 6 grams sugar, 6 grams protein