homemade bagels

A couple months ago I found a recipe for “real bagels” in Cooking Light and immediately thought of my sweet hubby and his affinity for everything bagels.  (I hate them; they may have a great savory flavor, but the onion and garlic are just way too strong!)

Obviously, this was a weekend activity, so I pencilled it in for two weekends ago.  Well, that weekend came and went without the making of any bagels, so I was even more determined to cross it off this weekend!

I had intended this to be a pseudo-together project with Andrew; I was, after all, making them mainly for him.  I like a good bagel as much as the next person, but try to limit my intake of simple carbs that come in the form of GIANT breads.  Rule of thumb: go halfsies. NO EXCEPTIONS.

It being a Sunday afternoon, Andrew was all but passing out on the couch when I called to him in need of his photography skills…  (I might have guilted him, a little.)  The truth is, our kitchen right now just isn’t really big enough for two to be working, and I’ll be honest, I like to be the only cook in the kitchen.  It’s my territory.  Hands off!

(Plus, Andrew is a way better picture-taker than I am; with our atrocious lighting situation here in the kitchen and dining room, it’s all I can do to take a decent picture, let alone one that actually shows the real color of my subject.)

I halved the recipe (how in the world would the two of us be able to eat 12 bagels before they got stale?) and put the ingredients into the bowl of my mixer.

The recipe calls for barley malt syrup, which is a natural sweetener found in lots of bread recipes.  It’s similar to thins like agave nectar, brown rice syrup and maple syrup and it is more mild, so it doesn’t raise your blood sugar as quickly as other sweeteners.  I couldn’t find it anywhere in Ohio (it’s the kind of thing you find in the ‘crunchiest’ of natural grocery stores) and had to purchase it when Andrew and I were at King Arthur Flour during the fall of 2010.  I have, however, seen it in the ‘nature’s marketplace’ at Wegmans–hurray!

After a 6-minute go-around in the mixer, you knead the dough by hand for just a minute or two.

(Seriously, how to food bloggers do it??  I would never be able to photograph and work with messy hands; I’m way too much of a neat-freak and OCD about equipment.  Andrew would KILL me if I got food on his camera!  That, and I’d never get anywhere since it would take twice as long to make everything if I was taking pictures, and it already takes me a long time since I’m so fastidious about cleaning as I go and measuring and things.)

After a 30-minute rise, you divide the dough into equal portions…

…and, using your fingers, poke a hole through them and stretch it out a little.  They rise again for a few minutes on a tray while you get your water boiling.

I’m a HUGE King Arthur Flour fan and order WAY too much from them (they have such cool stuff!) and one of the things I got last time was this bag of everything bagel topping.  Andrew was in heaven when we saw it.

Traditional bagels are boiled before being baked, which creates a ‘doughy’ texture, and is what the recipe calls for.  We’ve had bagels in Montreal (which are only baked) and NYC (which are boiled) and you can really tell a good bagel from a mediocre one.  I love Panera as much as the next person, but their bagels are NOTHING compared to a fresh, puffy, boiled bagel from a Jewish hole-in-the-wall place in the city.

Side note: Andrew’s favorite place to get bagels, interestingly enough, is a place called Buck’s Bagels, located just down the road from my parents’ house outside Philadelphia.  I guess the interesting (and sad) part is that my family didn’t really ever frequent the establishment much!  We had no idea such a gem was just a mile away!  I remember my dad going there a couple times, but that was it.  So, so, SO sad.

Side-side note: That is one of my dreams: to be a ‘regular’ somewhere.  I think it stems from such a transient childhood; all I want now is to have a home and be known there and have a routine and be an actual ‘part’ of the community.  (I have to admit, between being involved in the co-op and writing for the paper, I think I’m on my way!)

After a 30-second boil (I wasn’t clear on whether or not you were supposed to flip them or not), you place them on a grate to drain and sprinkle with topping, if desired.

I made four everything and kept two plain, for me.

(BTW, I’m eating half of one of my plain bagels RIGHT NOW for breakfast!)

I joke that Andrew is so picky that I can pull a hot cookie out of the oven for him and he’d refuse it (no lie, but in his defense, he isn’t very big on chocolate-chip); not so with bagels!  It was all he could do to wait until they were cool enough to touch after baking before grabbing one of his everything bagels and chomping it down!

I, of course, wasn’t about to inhale one of mine (we had dinner plans with friends in just a few short hours!), but I wanted to taste my creation so I had a bite of his, with a little butter.  YUM!  Absolutely perfect texture!

I know I’m a little ambitious in the ‘make-everything-from-scratch’ category, but these really are pretty simple.  With their short rise and boil times, you could feasibly make these on a Saturday morning and enjoy hot bagels for breakfast–not something you can say about cinnamon rolls without a TON of prep the night before.

Speaking of making things from scratch…  I hinted at my weekend projects in yesterday morning’s post; be looking for that soon, too!  Also, I’ve done TWO blogs for the co-op recently: kale and grapefruit!  Next up: a promo for an upcoming event and more citrus!  After that, I’m looking forward to non-produce posts, like yogurt-making and baking (it is winter, after all), which will include my banana bread!  Stay tuned!

Breakfast preview

I made all sorts of stuff this weekend!

I can’t include the links for everything now (I’m at school and don’t know how to do links on my phone), but recipes will be coming!


This morning’s breakfast featured half a homemade bagel spread with goat cheese and prune butter (from the molasses bran muffins), half an orange and banana with baklava butter (WOW!) and a little plain yogurt with a sprinkle of granola for crunch.

I’ve gotta be good this week… This weekend was full of indulgent treats like ice cream, beer, burgers and fries–yikes!

I have lots to share–stay tuned and have a great Monday!


We were feelin’ a night out yesterday since we’d been in all day.  Well, that’s not true–I did my usual Saturday morning routine of: eating a huge breakfast, hitting up Wegmans around 8 a.m. (before it gets busy), then swimming at the gym and returning home at 11, and Andrew was at the office from 10-3–but when it was pushing 4 p.m. and both of us were still in sweats, we needed a change!

We headed out for a visit at the in-laws’ before stopping at Taste for coffee (decaf for me), then running some errands at the Verizon store (clear display covers for my phone–post coming soon to show you my new case!) and shovels at Lowe’s.  You know, because we live in Buffalo now and it snows here…a lot.  We’ve gotten by so far this year on a metal dirt shovel and we’ve been lucky to have a mild winter.  (I think God is smiling on us transplants since we don’t have a garage for our cars–NOT fun.)

Anyway, we ended up at Zebb’s, a sport-bar-like place I drive by all the time and that Andrew frequented a bit in high school.

It’s a bar and grill and they’re known for their burgers.  They also have entree’s, wings (of course) and sandwiches.

We asked to sit in the bar area and were seating long before some who had arrived before us.  We also had some of the best service I’ve had in awhile, if not ever.  Colin was awesome.

We both ended up with Blue Moons (the pint for me, the tall for Andrew) and a sample of Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat because, well, I wouldn’t be ‘me’ if I didn’t have a sample of something.  The cherry wheat was good, but not as good as a Blue Moon.

We got wings as an appetizer.  I swear, since moving here, I’ve eaten more wings in these few months than I ever have before in my life.  This is, of course, both good and bad.  Good for my sense of ‘culture’ and assimilation into my new surroundings; bad for my hips.  And thighs.  And arteries.

I saw the “ZebbOriginalWings” and immediately wanted them, but the bleu cheese turned Andrew off, of course.  Awesome Colin said we could split an order and I eagerly anticipated their arrival.

And yes, they were everything I hoped for, and more.  They had enough “buffalo” flavor to fulfill that ubiquitous ‘wing taste,’ but with a kick of something more.  Not spicy, just really flavorful.  The bleu cheese wasn’t a dominant flavor, and Andrew was brave enough to give it a try.  We just might be ordering those next time…we both ended up saving the sauce to dip our fries!

Andrew had ordered a medium on the spicy-scale when we thought we were sharing, but Colin got the impression Andrew wanted a bit more heat than me, so he went ahead and bumped Andrew’s up to HOT…  Talk about great service!  Andrew enjoyed his wings, but they were no Pasquale’s.

Hockey is KING here, in case you didn’t know, and a tournament was on TV.  Really, all sports are pretty big here–the Bills Stadium is just a mile or so from Zebb’s–and watching football and hockey is very much a part of life here in Buffalo.  Guess I’m going to have to get a t-shirt…

Zebb’s is known for their burgers and topping bar (think Fuddrucker’s), and I’m a junkie for anything a restaurant is “known for,” so I went with the smallest burger and added cheese.  I mean, doesn’t cheese just make it?  A burger without cheese, to me, isn’t worth eating.

Speaking of eating…  I was good and only ate two of my wings in order to save room (and calories!) for my burger and fries.  But the angelic behavior ended there; I DEMOLISHED my burger and fries, with mayo, no less!  I must have been hungry.  And honestly, the burger wasn’t THAT good.  Definitely not good enough to eat it all.  Next time, I’ll stick to wings and fries 🙂

Meanwhile, it was snowing outside:

When we entered, there wasn’t really any snow on the ground.  By the time we left, it was blizzarding enough for us to have to drive slowly and there was about an inch or so on the ground.  It may sound odd, but I love that about living here–I love that you can go see a movie and come out to a completely different scene than when you entered.  (This, I’m sure, will get old after awhile.  But for now, it makes me smile.)

We’re going out, again, tonight to meet friends at Pearl Street (yay!), which might just mean more indulgent food for yours truly…  Good thing I did a tempo run this morning before church!