A good bagel can cure pretty much anything. When I went gluten free I knew I’d miss them dearly, particularly during running season (or any time I may have had a few too many the night before). The first ones I tried were from Udi’s brand and I’ll say that they’re quite acceptable when toasted (as most gluten-free bread-based products are) but (there’s always a but)
1) Store-bought variety are quite pricey when you’re accustomed to buying their wheat counterparts
2) They’re never fresh. At least when they get to you. A HOT bagel, boiled just moments ago and straight from the oven was just not to be replicated by a few minutes in the microwave.
The winning combination has been a game of trial and error and reading somewhere around 500 other variations to come up with what I’ve found to be perfection. Feel free to play with and tamper for your own enjoyment. For me, this is all it takes.
Ingredients (not pictured – maybe next time):
- 2/3 cup Milk (or Buttermilk, if you roll like that)
- 2 tablespoons rapid rise yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 eggs plus one egg yolk
- 1.5 cups Tapioca Starch/Flour (same thing)
- 1 cup Potato Starch (NOT flour, NOT the same thing)
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 2.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 2 teaspoons Xanthan Gum
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus extra coarse salt for finished product)
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- Toppings or blends: Poppy Seeds, Dried Onion, Italian Seasoning Blends, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Sea Salt, etc.
Pre-heat your oven to 425 and put a pot of salted water on to boil. I suggest the widest topped pot you have that still allows for at least 5-6 inches of water. These little suckers grow quickly when they hit the water so the average pot will only hold 1-3 at a time. If you have the equipment and space, go ahead and put a few pots on to boil! You’ll have time for dishes while they’re baking and cooling (and it will keep you out of trouble burning your mouth).
In a large bowl combine your milk (warmed to activate the yeast to around 105-110 degrees), yeast and sugar. Let it sit and start to fester about 10 minutes. It always fascinates me and grosses me out simultaneously to see yeast do its thing.
Crack eggs into a bowl or cup and mix up without ‘whipping’. Your extra egg yolk is just that – extra and optional. I find it gives a nice sheen to the dough and was a trick I picked up from attemps at pasta dough. If you do use it, you may want to have a big extra tapioca starch on hand if your dough feels ‘wet’. If you skip the whites and just use the yolks, you’ll get that Egg Bagel effect. Go for it if that’s your flavor of choice. It should still work.
Mix your Tapioca and Potato starch in a bowl with the Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Xanthan Gum and Salt. Blend away.
Add the eggs to your yeast experiment that should be foamy and awesome and mix gently. If using a stand mixer, gently means level one. Once it appears to be blended, notch up the speed and add your dry ingredients until they’re all incorporated. Blend until a stiff ball forms but no more! You can break your dough if you over mix it, and this will make you sad.
Here’s where it gets fun!
Turn the dough out on to the counter and begin kneading in to a smooth ball. If you’re going to make a ‘flavored’ bagel, such as onion or poppy seed, knead it right in there! Use as much or as little as you want. These are your bagels. This is what your smooth ball should look like. This is also fairly accurate for color when you use the extra egg yolk
Divide in to 4-6 bagels, depending on how big you like them. I usually aim for 6. Form them in to 6 even sized balls, and then using your thumb work a hole in the middle to form the perfect hollowed out sphere. As a rule of thumb (ha!) I make the hole about 3 times as large as I want it to end up. These are about to grow in size in a moment.
You water should be boiling, probably for a few minutes by now. Take your perfectly shaped bagel dough and drop it in the water (really, just drop it and watch!). Cook it about 3-4 minutes, flipping once.
Once it looks like the one above, begin gently lifting them out of the water and directly on to the cooking sheet.
Notice below that I place my bagels in a roasting pan. I’ve discovered the rack prevents them from sticking and I have a habit of catching parchment paper on fire. If you’re confident with parchment, feel free to line your baking sheet with that and bake away.
This is also the appropriate moment to add any seasoning or flavors you’d like to be associated with your creation. The bottom right delights are covered with shredded 3 cheese blend. The others have Sea Salt that can be seen (but oh, it’s so delicious).
Viola! Bagels! Aren’t they pretty? They taste as good as they look, too! I do suggest the freezer for any you don’t plan to eat in the first day or two, and 10 seconds in the microwave works wonders to bring them back to life. Cooking without preservatives and without wheat also means you’ve got a fairly short shelf life for their awesomeness. Luckily, when your whole house smells like fresh bread and there are cheesy and salty bagels sitting on the kitchen counter, the above storage and preservation suggestions rarely become a factor. Enjoy!
Did you come up with a great mix in or topping? Let me know! I’m always looking for the next most delicious addition to my egg sandwich.