It’s finally the end of the month. When I think back to the beginning of November this day seemed so far away, but somehow four weeks went by in a flash. I’m actually really surprised at how comfortable I became with blogging everyday. Not saying that I didn’t have slumps or one liners, but I sort of enjoyed the panic that comes with meeting a deadline. It kept me motivated and pushed me to try more daring recipes outside of my comfort zone. I want to thank all you readers, whether this is your first time here or your 30th, but knowing that somebody is reading my site is so rewarding and a great encouragement. Thank you!
I thought I’d end this month with a little bang, so I made bagels! I was very intimidated by the boiling step, but the whole process was much easier than I expected. Even though I made mine smaller, didn’t adjust the baking time, and left the second batch in the oven for about 10 minutes longer, everything turned out fine. They were firm on the outside and chewy on the inside. They tasted like real, store bought bagels!
I made mine plain because it bothers me when seeds and flakes flutter off when I take a bite. There have also been one too many cases where pesky sesame seeds have gotten stuck in my front teeth, only to be realized a few hours later. But, it’s all about personal preference. If someone knows a way to prevent both this things from happening, please share the knowledge!
So, since the bagels were nice and plain I decided to spike up the cream cheese and made lox spread! Lox spread is a combination between cream cheese and smoked salmon. It’s absolutely divine. The creaminess from the cream cheese mixed with the salty, savory flavors of the salmon go perfectly together. We used to place whole pieces of salmon on top of a layer of cream cheese, but now my mom likes to make an even more flavorful lox spread.
Bagels and lox, what better way to end NaBloPoMo?
Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups bread flour
2 3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons malt power or 1 tablespoon malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
Toppings such as seeds, salt, onion, or garlic, optional
To make the sponge, mix the yeast and flour together. Add the water and combine until blended. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, the sponge should be slightly bubbly. Add the yeast, flour, malt powder/substitute, and salt. Mix until the dough forms into a ball. On a lightly floured surface knead the dough for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into a dozen 4 1/2 ounce, or 2 dozen 2 1/4 ounce balls. Place on a baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Set aside for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, shape the bagels by poking a hole into the middle of each ball with your thumb. Stretch while rotating the ball to create an even ring. Place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, test to see if the bagels are ready to chill by dropping a bagel into a bowl of cool water. If the bagel floats back up within 20 seconds, it is ready to chill. If not, then let rise for a little longer.
Day 2, Baking Day:
Preheat oven 500 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water with baking soda to a boil. Drop a few bagels into boiling water and leave for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, flip and boil for another minute. Place on a parchment covered baking sheet. If topping, sprinkle right away so the seeds/flakes stick. Continue until baking sheet is filled.
Bake for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 450 degrees, rotate pan, and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Lox Cream Cheese
6 ounces cream cheese
A few large pieces of smoked salmon
1/2 medium onion
1/2 to 1 tablespoon dried parsley
Cut smoked salmon and onion into small pieces. Mix together with cream cheese and parsley. Serve with bagels.
*To make the spread creamier, add a tablespoon of heavy cream.