Sprouted Grain Bagels

Hello person who is currently reading this! How are you? I sincerely hope you are well. I hope you have had a marvelous Christmas and are looking forward to 2018. I personally have had a wonderful past few days with various family members and all too many goodies (seriously, I’m giving up sugar for awhile I think). But, I am not writing this post to talk about Christmas. I’m writing this post to talk about one of my absolute favorite forms of bread: the bagel! Bagels are so diverse; there are so many different flavors and toppings, and all of them can be summed up in one word: scrumscious!

One of mine and Jeffrey’s favorite dates before we were married was going out on a Sunday morning before church to our favorite bagel shop. In Bangor, Jeff’s primary home during our dating years, that place was Bagel Central. In my home town of Peterborough, that place is the Bagel Mill. In Dover, well, there were quite a few good ones, actually! However, since being married and living in Peru, we have had no local hand-made bagel place to go to regularly. Additionally, I have taken up a love for making bread, so it has been only natural that I should add bagels to my repertoire!

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My first batch of bagels ever made last winter!

 

Why Sprouted Grains?

As afore mentioned, I really love bagels. But, what I’ve always not really loved was their lack of nutrition. Even whole wheat bagels from a bagel shop are usually not made with 100% whole wheat, but rather a blend of whole wheat and white flours. Further, typical whole wheat still isn’t the greatest for you. Most major flour companies have a method of processing wheat that involves sifting out germ and bran, breaking it down so that it is finely ground, then adding it back in. This method is purely for texture, but the sifting out and breaking down changes the nutritional value. (Source: Bread Revolution, pg. 158) One way around this is by buying local whole-milled whole wheat flour, where you will find the chunks of bran and germ fully intact, making parts of the flour almost meal like. It actually produces fantastic bread, I made some last week! But that’s for another post… Another way to avoid this issue is by using sprouted grains.

Essentially, sprouted grains retain more nutritional value than flours that are processed by other methods. Sprouting involves a process where the whole grain is germinated which causes it to sprout. (Source: Bread Revolution, pg. 48) According to the Whole Grains Council, “Sprouting grains increases many of the grains’ key nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, fiber, and essential amino acids often lacking in grains, such as lysine. Sprouted grains may also be less allergenic to those with grain protein sensitivities.” Historically, before our technological advances in processing wheat, grains were naturally sprouted as part of the process. Now, we are realizing that skipping that part causes us to miss out on key nutrients when consuming wheat products. If you want to read more, go here.

King Arthur Sprouted Wheat Flour

Getting Started with Sprouted Grains

In order to get myself started using these sprouted grains, I purchased Peter Reinhart’s “Bread Revolution,” which truly is a revolutionary book for those of us who love making bread and also love health. I highly recommend it if you are one of those people. I have learned so much about grains, bread making, and health from this book, and still have much more to learn! I cannot wait.

The sprouted wheat flour I use is pictured to the right and is found in most grocery stores: King Arthur Sprouted Wheat. It is with the rest of the King Arthur Flours in the baking section.

*Just to clarify, I am not promoting this book or this flour for any reason other than that I have had great success with them and want to share with others.

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Method for the Bagels

This brings me to the sprouted wheat bagels. Not at all difficult to make, give yourself a good three hours on a Saturday morning and have them ready for a late breakfast or brunch. The pictures below show the step by step process. Scroll to the bottom for the full recipe.

Step 1-3: Mix the dough!

In a large bowl combine flour, salt and yeast. Stir together or mix at low speed for about 30 seconds. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine lukewarm water and barley malt, honey or agave syrup and whisk together. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and mix on low speed or stir for 1 minute. Mixture will be shaggy and sticky. Remove paddle and let dough stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Switch to dough hook or turn dough onto lightly oiled work surface and mix on low speed or knead for 2 minutes, until smooth and slightly tacky. Add more flour if necessary (a few tablespoons) if dough is very sticky or wet, and mix or knead for another minute. Finished dough should be firm but supple and smooth to the touch. If it is tacky wait 5 minutes, then add a little more flour as necessary and beat or knead until incorporated.

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Step 4: Let it rise!

Shape dough into a ball. Clean and oil bowl. Place dough in bowl rounded side down first (to oil the dough), then rounded side up. Cover bowl tightly with plastic and allow dough to proof at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it has swelled and increased in size by about 1 1/2 times.

Note: I stick my dough in a oven that I heated to 100 degrees and turned off, to ensure good rising temperature. Do not put rising dough in an oven that is on. 

Step 5: Divide!

Divide the dough into equally sized balls, about 128 grams each.

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Step 6: Shape!

Roll each ball into an 8 inch log, tapering the ends. Then, wrap it around your hand and connect the ends to form a circle, as shown.IMG_8468

Step 7: Rise… Again!

Once, shaped, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit on oven while it preheats to 425 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour.

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Step 8: Test!

When you are ready to bake, test a bagel by putting it in a bowl of room temperature water and see if it floats. If it does, you’re good to go!! Boil a wide pot with 4-6 inches of water.IMG_8481

Step 9: Boil the Bagels

Bring 4 to 6 inches water to a boil in a large saucepan and add baking soda, malt syrup or honey. Adjust heat so water is at a gentle boil.

Carefully remove parchment paper with bagels from baking sheet and replace parchment with clean sheets. Lightly oil parchment and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina. Here, I just would sprinkle the same sheet of parchment with cornmeal while the bagels were boiling. 

Two at a time, drop bagels into water. After 30 seconds flip over and simmer for another 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, remove from water and place on prepared baking sheet, rounded side up. Sprinkle topping over bagel right away.

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Bagels upon first being dropped into the boiling water.
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Bagels after flipping.

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Step 10: Bake the Bagels!

Once your bagels are all boiled and topped with desired toppings, bake them for 12 minutes at 425, then rotate the pan and bake for another 8-12 minutes. The bagels should be golden brown all over.

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Step 11: EAT!

Top with desired spread and consume! I love spreading avocado with a bit of salt and Italian seasoning on top… YUM. Or vegan butter or peanut butter. All are quite delish.IMG_8502

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Sprouted Wheat Bagels Recipe

Yield: 6-8 bagels | Total Time: ~3 hours | Rise Time: ~2 hours

INGREDIENTS

  • 510 grams / 18 ounces / about 4 ¼ cups sprouted whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¼ / 9 grams teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 ¼ / 4 grams teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 ¾ cups / 14 ounces / 397 grams / 408 milliliters lukewarm water
  • 3 ½ tsp / 21.5 grams barley malt, agave syrup, or honey
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda, malt syrup or honey for boiling water bath
  • Cornmeal or semolina flour for baking sheets
  • Choice toppings, see below for variations

PREPARATION

See pictures above if you want to know what each step looks like.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or in a large bowl combine flour, salt and yeast. Stir together or mix at low speed for about 30 seconds. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine lukewarm water and barley malt, honey or agave syrup and whisk together.
  2. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and mix on low speed or stir for 1 minute. Mixture will be shaggy and sticky. Remove paddle and let dough stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  3. Switch to dough hook or turn dough onto lightly oiled work surface and mix on low speed or knead for 2 minutes, until smooth and slightly tacky. Add more flour if necessary (a few tablespoons) if dough is very sticky or wet, and mix or knead for another minute. Finished dough should be firm but supple and smooth to the touch. If it is tacky wait 5 minutes, then add a little more flour as necessary and beat or knead until incorporated.
  4. Shape dough into a ball. Clean and oil bowl. Place dough in bowl rounded side down first (to oil the dough), then rounded side up. Cover bowl tightly with plastic and allow dough to proof at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it has swelled and increased in size by about 1 1/2 times. I stick my dough in a oven that I heated to 100 degrees and turned off, to ensure good rising temperature. Do not put rising dough in an oven that is on. 
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and lightly oil parchment. Turn out the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces, about 128 grams/4.5 ounces each. Shape each piece into a ball by placing on an unfloured work surface under a cupped hand and rolling it around and around. Lightly oil work surface if dough sticks.
  6. To shape bagels, using both hands roll each ball into an 8-inch long rope, tapering from the middle of the dough to the ends. Moisten the last inch of each end, place one end on the palm of your hand and wrap the rope around your hand, bringing the other end between your thumb and forefinger. Overlap the ends by about 2 inches and stick the ends together. Press onto the work surface and roll back and forth to seal, then lay the ring down and even out the thickness with your fingers. The hole should be about 2 inches in diameter. Place on the prepared baking sheets. (Another way to shape the bagels is to press your thumbs through the center of the balls, then gradually pull apart and shape the bagel with your hands by rotating the dough around your thumbs, until the hole is 2 inches in diameter; I find that, although this method is a bit quicker, the bagels tend to close up, so I prefer the rope method). Place on prepared baking sheet(s), at least 1 inch apart. Lightly oil tops and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  7. Allow bagels to proof for 30 to 60 minutes, until just beginning to swell and rise. Meanwhile, heat oven to 425 degrees with a rack positioned in the middle.
  8. To see if bagels are ready, drop one into a bowl of water. It should float to the surface within 15 seconds. If it does not, wait 20 minutes and do another float test.
  9. Bring 4 to 6 inches water to a boil in a large saucepan and add baking soda, malt syrup or honey. Adjust heat so water is at a gentle boil. Carefully remove parchment paper with bagels from baking sheet and replace parchment with clean sheets. Lightly oil parchment and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina (if you have lots of baking sheets, just line two more baking sheets). Two at a time, drop bagels into water. After 30 seconds flip over and simmer for another 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, remove from water and place on prepared baking sheet, rounded side up. Sprinkle topping over bagel right away.
  10. Place in oven and bake 12 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and bake another 8 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. If bottoms are getting too brown slide a second baking pan underneath the first one for insulation after first 12 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

VARIATIONS

Everything Bagels: 1 tablespoon granulated garlic or rehydrated dried garlic flakes, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon course salt, ½ teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika, and optionally 1 tsp caraway or anise seeds.

Cinnamon Sugar Bagels: Whisk together ½ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon. When bagels are just out of the oven, immediately brush the tops with melted butter, then dip into the cinnamon sugar to coat the top. As the bagels cool, the cinnamon sugar will set on the crust.

Multigrain Bagels: You can substitute up to 20% other sprouted grain or sprouted bean flours for an equal amount of sprouted whole wheat flour to make a multigrain version. You can also substitute nonsprouted grain flours but, for best flavor, I suggest sticking with the sprouted flours.

Raisin or Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: For raisin bagels, add 1 ½ cups raisins to the dough during the final minute of mixing or until they are evenly distributed. You may also need about 1 additional tablespoon of water, but let the dough dictate whether or not it needs to added water. You can also add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

*This recipe is directly from Bread Revolution by Peter Reinhart, with minor edits. All pictures of the process are from my own camera in my kitchen.

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