Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pretzel Bagels


Well my friends, we've done it.


We've combined two of the best bread products into one. It is as miraculous as you'd expect. It is also much easier than you might think, and that is pretty great too!


Pretzel Bagels. I don't know if there is much more to say (...that won't stop me from gushing about these beauties, of course). Deep, golden brown crusts with a sprinkle of pretzel salt, soft and chewy centers. The taste of soft pretzels in a bagel suit. Ugh, yes. This is what dreams are made of.


In order to make this breakfast dream a reality, there are a few key things we need. First, for the bagel part of it all: yeast, flour, and patience. Yeast will get activated in a bit of warm water with some sugar. This will bring our bagels to life, allowing them to puff up in a hot oven. Although bread flour is more commonly used in bagels because of its higher protein content, all-purpose flour is perfect for our needs in this recipe. It will create a crumb that is a little softer than a classic bagel and more reminiscent of a traditional soft pretzel. The dough won't be as lofty, but that's OK.


For the pretzel parts, we need a good bit of baking soda, an egg wash and pretzel salt. The bagels will take a quick dip in a pot of boiling water combined with baking soda. The baking soda changes the pH of the water and helps speed up the cooking process, creating that deep brown color on the outside of the pretzel bagels. The egg wash will create a sheen on the outside, and also act as the glue that keeps that irresistible salt on top. It's science!


So now that we know we can in fact make pretzel bagels, what on earth should we do with them? Here are a few ideas:

--Eat them warm, straight, right out of the oven
--Cut 'em in half and smear a bit of cream cheese all over, with a sprinkle of garlic and chives for good measure
--Make a breakfast sandwich, heavy on the cheese
--Whip up a batch of tuna salad and pile it high

The options are endless, but the good thing is, there ARE options. Lots of 'em. No matter how to slice it, they're sure to impress


Here's what you need for Pretzel Bagels* (Print Recipe!)

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 quarts water to boil in a large pot
2/3 cups (seriously) baking soda
1 egg, whisked with a splash of water
2 tablespoons or so pretzel salt

Here's what you do

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitting with the dough hook attachment, combined the warm water and sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle in the yeast, stir gently, and let sit for 10 minutes until proofed. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a separate large bowl. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture until a crumbly mixture forms. Increase speed to medium and knead until it comes together in a smooth ball. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with silpat mat or parchment paper. Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil and carefully add the baking soda (if you add it all at once, it will bubble into a mess so just take it slow). Divide the bagel dough into 8 equal pieces and form into a bagel shape. In batches, boil each bagel in the baking soda and water for 45 seconds on each side. Using a slotted spoon, strain and transfer back to the baking sheet.

Brush each bagel with the egg wash then sprinkle your desired amount of pretzel salt on top. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool slightly before serving. No doubt these are best the day they are made but will last for 3 days well-wrapped on the counter. Reheat in the oven or toaster and use as desired.



*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe, with bagel inspiration from A Beautiful Mess

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