I love quiet weekend mornings. I’m not sure you could call any morning here really quiet these days, but I love starting my Saturday or Sunday with a nice breakfast, the family around the table and slowly sipping a cup of decaf coffee. During the weekends we can take time for a fancier breakfast. It is usually something we don’t get to eat during the week like waffles, french toast, or eggs made three ways so everyone gets their favorite. (Thanks to my husband, the short order cook.) Recently I decided to try to make blueberry bagels. Although not really special for the rest of my family, this was really special for me. For one thing, I’ve never made bagels. For some reason they’ve always seemed really intimidating. Maybe it’s because I don’t know anyone who has ever made them or maybe it’s because I’ve never seen a recipe for them in any cookbook. It was also a big deal because I haven’t been able to find a “safe” blueberry bagel. I have been able to eat Rudi’s brand plain or cinnamon raisin bagels, but couldn’t find any safe blueberry.
I began looking around online for bagel recipes/techniques and found this recipe at Annies-eats.com, a great food blog. The recipe didn’t actually have a blueberry variation, but I decided to follow the plain bagel instructions and improvise when it came to the blueberry part.
I won’t go through the whole recipe here but I will share some things that helped me.
1. Plan to start the day before. The bagels need to hang out in the fridge overnight so plan to start the dough the day before you actually want to eat them and clear out some space in your refrigerator. I actually really liked the timing since I made the dough Friday night and had fresh bagels for the family Saturday morning.
2. Measure all of your ingredients by weight. The recipes uses a two stage process for the bagel dough and in the first step, making the sponge, I tried using my measuring cups to measure out the flour. When I combined the yeast, flour and water, my dough looked much more like a finished formed bread dough than a wet sticky pancake batter as seen in the pictures. I redid the sponge a second time using a digital kitchen scale and my results were right on.
3. Silpat mats work in place of semolina. I didn’t have any parchment or semolina (used to keep bagels from sticking to pan) the day i prepared everything so I used my silpat baking mats and had no problems.
4. Use dried blueberries to make blueberry bagels. I knew fresh blueberries would just turn the dough into a purple mess during kneading but was worried dried blueberries wouldn’t have the right texture. To my surprise the dry blueberries rehydrated quite a bit in the dough and were perfect. I used about a half of a cup of dried blueberries that were dried but still had a little stickiness/chewiness when I ate a few. I found them in the organic bulk foods section at Whole Foods and they were not cheap, maybe $11.99/lb.
5. Add the blueberries near the end. To make the plain bagels blueberry, add the dried fruit after the 3 cups of flour in the dough making process, right before the 3/4 cup of flour used to stiffen the dough. My old stand mixer wasn’t up to the kneading task and I had to finish kneading the dough by hand. Every now and then blueberries would pop out but I just kept sticking them back in the dough.
These bagels turned out great. I really couldn’t believe that I made them. We ate quite a few for breakfast and I froze a bunch in a ziploc bag. A quick zap in the microwave and I have a homemade soy free/dairy free breakfast.