Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Challah Bagels Four Ways

Even though I've had mixed experiences with raisins over the years, whenever I would go visit my Grandma Rose (affectionately referred to as RoRo,) they were always apart of breakfast. I used to pick the sugar coated raisins out of Raisin Bran and snack on cinnamon raisin bagels all while playing around and watching "Seinfeld" and "Friends." To this day, not only am I a big "Seinfeld" fan, I love my cinnamon raisin bagels. My mom, who would make bagels and bread for her two picky children, also would make a favorite holiday bread of mine called Challah. Truthfully, being the picky child that I was, I only liked the bread when it just came out of the oven and was soft, warm, and had a comforting appeal and smell. Well, I'm a firm believer that nearly all baked goods taste best warm. A few days ago I had an epiphany and decided to combine my two childhood favorite starchy foods: bagels and Challah. The result is a moist and flavorful bagel with the thick, crunchy crust of Challah.

3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter/oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (about one packet)

{Makes about 8}

{Adapted from a family recipe}

Step 1: In an electric mixer, combine the water, yeast, and salt. In a separate bowl, add bread flour and sugar, then mix thoroughly. Once the yeast mixture becomes frothy, make a hole in the middle of the flour-sugar mixture and pour the yeast mixture in it. Mix together.

Step 2: Transfer the contents into the electric mixer bowl and mi, slowly adding in the butter/oil and eggs.If your dough is too dry, add water until you get a consistent and moist dough.

Step 3: Knead the dough on a floured surface until is elastic and firm.

Step 4: Lightly brush and coat a bowl and the dough with an oil of your choice. Use a damp towel to cover the bowl. Wait about an hour for to rise and punch it back down.

Step 5: Divide the dough into two equal pieces, into four, and into eight. Smooth and briefly knead the dough pieces. Roll or shape into balls.

Step 6: Cover your finger in flour and press your finger into the ball. Stretch out the ring by gently moving your finger in increasingly larger circles. Continue for the other dough balls.

Step 7: Place the rings on a oiled or parchment paper covered baking sheet. While boiling a large pot, cover the baking sheet with a moist towel until the water comes to a boil. Preheat your oven to 425 Degrees.

Step 8: Once the water comes to  boil, lower the heat. Use a turner or large slotted spoon to lower the dough into the water. Leave the dough in for about 4 minutes, two minutes on each side. Arrange each bagel back onto the cookie sheet after boiling.

Step 9: Let each bagel sit for about 30 seconds to dry and cool. Since this is Challah dough, use the egg white of one egg and generously coat each bagel. For the bagels you want toppings for, lighlty sprinkle the ingredient on. Some of my favorite ideas are sea salt, poppy seed, sesame seed, cinnamon and sugar, and cheese (Parmesan or Asiago.)

Step 10: Once the oven is heated, bake on the cover baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until the exterior is thick and a deep golden brown.

Step 11: Let the bagels sit for a few minutes on the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack. And, ta-da! Enjoy your chewy, crunchy, and moist Challah in the versatile form of a bagel.

Challah Bagel, Raisins, Cinnamon, Berries, Lavender Infused Cream Cheese
Cinnamon Raisin with Lavender Infused Cream Cheese and Blueberries

Lavender Infused Cream Cheese-
-1/2 tablespoons lavender
-3/4 cup confectioners sugar
-8 ounces cream cheese

1. In a food processor, combine lavender and confectioners sugar.
2. Using a mixer, mix the lavender powder and cream cheese together.

Challah Bagel, Cream Cheese, Chives
Poppy Seeds with Cream Cheese and Chives

Challah Bagel, Natural Peanut Butter, Banana, and Clover Honey
Plain with Natural Peanut Butter, Banana, and Clover Honey

Challah Bagel, Asiago Cheese, Hummus, Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta
Asiago Cheese with Hummus, Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta


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