For Christmas last year, Jason and I gave my mother-in-law (also known as “Mom Linde”) an amazing book called The Bread Maker’s Apprentice. With the book, we decided that once a month Mom Linde and I would get together and bake bread. What better way to have some girl time and bond then over something we both love so much, baking! The best part about this gift is that it soon became a tradition for us, one that I hope we will continue together for many years to come. So far, we have made Focaccia Bread, Rosemary & Roasted Garlic Potato Bread and Bagels. We have missed a few months here and there, but hopefully we will pick back up now that it is getting cooler out.
While not all of the recipes in The Bread Maker’s Apprentice are vegan, I did some research and found that a fellow vegan blogger was veganizing them and posting his alterations to the recipes on his blog! This will be helpful and will save me the time of trial and error when we get to the recipes that call for non-vegan ingredients(i.e. buttermilk, eggs, etc.)
For this post, I wanted to share with you the process of making homemade bagels. All the bread we made were amazing, but the boys (Jason and Dad Linde) enjoyed the bagels the most. In fact, they have made a request every month since that we make more bagels, lol.
Let me just start off by letting you know that this bread making book is no joke. These are not recipes where you toss a few ingredients into a bread maker and hit the start button. These are labor intensive, multi-day bread making recipes that create unimaginable, bakery quality breads and baked goods. While I would highly recommend the book to anyone who wants to make fabulous bread, I wanted to give you fair warning that this is hard work, but worth every ounce of it.
Okay, so back to our bagel making adventure… The bagel recipe is a 1-2 day process, depending on when you get started. We did not start until early afternoon, so for us it took us two days, but I can imagine if you started early enough, you could get them done in one day. The two-day process worked out well for us since we were making these to go with Father’s day brunch, and nothing beats fresh-out-of-the-oven bagels for brunch on Father’s Day, right?!
The first day of the bagel process requires you to make what is known as the sponge. A sponge is sort of the starter for the dough and is made up of about half the flour required for the entire recipe, most of the yeast and most of the water. You create this first, let it sit at room temperature for about two hours then you add the rest of the ingredients to get the final dough. Most of the hard work is done on the first day, such as kneading, proofing and shaping the dough, but an overnight (8 hour) refrigeration is required, thus why it can take up to 2 days.
Once the sponge is made and has rested for two hours, you mix in the rest of the dough ingredients and knead it until it forms the right consistency. Next comes the dividing, proofing, shaping, and more proofing of the dough until it is ready to be retarded in the fridge overnight.In the morning is when you boil, top and bake these beauties.
Here is a link to the actual recipe should you want to try making these amazing delights at home, but in the meantime take a look at some of the pictures from our fun weekend of bagel making.
Bread making is not easy, and something I will never look at the same after making a few varieties ourselves. I have so much respect for bread baker who do this amazing feat daily.
If you have someone in your life (your spouse, your child, a friend or family member) who shares your passion for baking or cooking, I would totally suggest picking up The Bread Maker’s Apprentice and giving a few recipes a try. Coming from an Italian family, nothing brings people together like cooking, eating and spending time around the kitchen. Be sure to leave me a note here if you do pick up the book and give anything a try! I would love to hear all about it! I will post more documentation as Mom Linde and I proceed through the book together. But for now, Happy baking to you!