Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

We've made these a few times now (like 4 or 5) but I am just getting around to sharing the recipe.  If I could remember and plan ahead everyday, we would have them everyday.  My kids LOVE, LOVE them.  They have almost replaced their favorite breakfast food and they might be my favorite breakfast food.  I love bagels.  And these bagels are so good it's ridiculous.  My favorite bagel recipe so far, by far.

I adapted the recipe to use active dry yeast because that's what I always have on hand (I buy Red Star active dry yeast in bulk) and that's what I want my recipe to call for.  I don't want to have to buy different kinds of yeast.

If you like cinnamon raisin bagels, these need to go on your to-make list.  They take some planning and a little bit of time, but they are so, so worth it!

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels
For the sponge:
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups water (about 90 degrees)
3 1/2 cups bread flour

For the dough:
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/3 cup sugar
2 T brown sugar
3 cups bread flour*
2 3/4 tsp salt
2 cups loosely packed raisins, rinsed
1 T cinnamon

To finish:
1-2 T baking soda
cornmeal for dusting

For the sponge, combine water and yeast and let sit 5-10 minutes for yeast to dissolve.  In the bowl of your mixer, combine water/yeast mixture and flour.  Mix well.  
Cover (I like to use a lid that will fit instead of having to use plastic wrap.  I just grab one of the lids for my pans and set it over the top.)
and let sit for about 2 hours, until at least doubled in size.  It will be very bubbly.
To make the dough:  Combine the 1/4 cup of water and 3/4 tsp yeast and let sit 5-10 minutes until dissolved.    add to sponge with both sugars, and salt.  Mix well with paddle attachment.  Switch to dough hook and add 2 1/2 cups of flour and mix until dough forms a ball.  Add additional 1/2 cup of flour to stiffen the dough if needed.  (*The 3 cups of flour ends up being perfect for me, but the original recipe calls for up to 4 1/4 cups of flour.  I wait for the dough to clean the sides and bottom of my bowl, so it's not sticking anywhere.  Then I know it's ready to knead.) You can continue to knead the dough with your mixer (which is what I did but I have a 6 quart professional series mixer.  If you have a 5 quart or less and you feel like your mixer is working too hard, you might want to take the dough out and finish by hand.)  Knead the dough for about 7 minutes with your mixer and about 10 minutes by hand.  You want a dough that is pliable, smooth,  and satiny; that isn't tacky to the touch.  You can add additional flour or water if needed to achieve the right consistency.  In the last minute or so of kneading, add raisins and once those are incorporated, I like to add the cinnamon and just mix until swirls or formed.  If you don't want the swirls or don't care, you can add the cinnamon before the kneading starts with the rest of the ingredients.
Divide the dough into 4 oz pieces and shape into balls (I end up with about 16-17 4oz balls).  Pull the dough down to the bottom to form a smooth top on the dough and the seam on the bottom.  Cover with a damp cloth and let sit 20 minutes.
Either spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or line them with parchment paper that has been sprayed.  As you can see, I just skip the parchment paper. Make a hole in the center of your ball and stretch and shape the dough into a bagel shape.  (You can use flour or cooking spray if needed)  Once the hole is in the middle, I like to twirl it around my finger to stretch the hole some and it's super fun. :)   You want the center to be 2-2 1/2 inches in diameter.  Transfer to a baking sheet and cover with greased plastic wrap.  Let sit for about 20 minutes and then check to see if bagels are ready to be proofed.
Fill a bowl with room temperature water and drop one of the bagels into the water.  If it floats, they're ready.  If it doesn't immediately float to the top, lightly dry with paper towels and return to baking sheet.  Wait 10-20 more minutes and check again.  Repeat until a bagel floats immediately to the top.  You only need to test one bagel, not all of them.
Place covered baking sheets in refrigerator overnight.
When you're ready to cook/bake them, remove from fridge and let sit at room temp while you preheat the oven to 500 degrees (with racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven) and get 1 to 2 pots of water boiling (about 2-3 quarts of water).  I like to use 2 pans so it goes faster.  Grease an extra baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Once the water is boiling add 1 T of baking soda to each pan.  Add bagels 2 at a time and boil 1-2 minutes per side (2 minutes will produce a chewy-er bagel).  (It helps me to start a timer for like 20 minutes and just pay attention to when I add them to the water so I can flip them after a minute.)
After they have boiled on both sides for 1-2 minutes, remove from water with a large slotted spoon or spider strainer.  Let drain slightly and place on baking sheet dusted with cornmeal.  Once another baking sheet has been emptied, re-grease it and sprinkle with cornmeal so it's ready for bagels once they come out of the water.  I can fit all the bagels on 2 baking sheets to proof them overnight, but once they've been boiled, I need 3 to bake them.
Once you have a baking sheet full, reduce the oven temp to 475 and transfer baking sheet to the top rack of the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes transfer the bagels to the lower rack in the oven and by now I can add the second pan to the upper rack.  After another 5 minutes, you can remove the bagels on the lower rack, transfer from the upper to the lower and add the third pan of bagels to the upper rack.  Continue boiling and baking until bagels have baked on the upper and lower rack for 5 minutes each and are light golden brown (or a total of 10 minutes).  Remove from oven and cool. Since I don't use parchment paper, I sometimes need to use a spatula to get my bagels off the baking sheet.  If you use parchment, you probably won't have that problem.
And then experience pure heaven.  No, seriously.  These are good just plain with nothing on them.  No cream cheese or butter necessary but I won't judge if you slather it with things.  If you have any left over after the first day, they are best stored in the freezer and reheated when ready.  You can pre-slice them before freezing or I just microwave them for 10 seconds so I can slice them and then toast them.  They are unbelievable from the toaster, even days later.

Makes about 16 bagels

Source:  Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures.  

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