Earlier this week we were snowed in, compliments of Mother Nature. Snow started falling Super Bowl Sunday and continued into Monday. We received slightly more than a foot in our area…not a record breaking amount. But trust me…it was enough!
It wasn’t so much the amount of snow that was the problem. It was the high winds. The drifting snow just wouldn’t let up.
The University Travis attends even shuttered it’s doors…only the third (or so) time in his years there.
Glenn decided against heading into the office. Considering the drive takes at least 40 minutes on a good day, and it would probably take triple the time with the road conditions …he decided to work from home.
So here we were, drifting snow resting against the windows and the boughs of the evergreens weighed down with twinkling snow flakes, extending our weekend one more day. Glenn working (on a marathon of Sports Center)…Travis studying (video games)… and me, baking (yes, really baking).
Ever since I made the successful batch of Cinnamon Raisin Bagels, I’ve had my favorite variety on my mind…
Asiago. Cheese. Bagels.
C’mon…say “Yummy” with me!
I adapted this recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. The original recipe requires overnight refrigeration. I prefer to make the dough and bake it in the same day. I’ve found that including additional rise times and reducing the amount of flour, excellent results can be achieved for a “same day” bake.
These bagels turned out so flavorful. The asiago cheese is blended in the dough and used as a topping.
The insides are soft and chewy…the exterior offers a slight “pull” with each bite. Perfection.
Next time there’s a winter storm on the horizon…I’ll plan ahead!
My hubby has always claimed Cinnamon Raisin bagels were his favorite. They were always his bagel of choice when visiting a bagel shop.
Until now. Until he tasted these. Now he claims these are his favorite! Just wait until we get down to the last one…I’m ready to fight him for one last taste of perfection. (Or, I’ll just make another batch, I guess!)
Asiago Cheese Bagels
For the sponge starter:
1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
2½ cups warm water
For the dough:
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1½ – 2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons table salt
1 Tablespoon honey
1 cup shredded asiago cheese
For boiling and baking:
1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 + cup shredded asiago cheese
- To make the sponge starter: Whisk the yeast into the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (similar to a brownie batter consistency). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours. The dough becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when poked with your finger.
- To make the dough: In the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge starter and stir. Add 1 cup of the flour, salt and honey. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball. Slowly work in the remaining flour (about ¼ cup at a time, as needed) to stiffen the dough. (I used about ½ cup of additional flour.)
- Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). Add 1 cup of asiago cheese during the last minute or so of kneading, and knead until evenly distributed. The dough should be firm but still pliable and smooth. (Note: If the dough seems dry add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems sticky or tacky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required.) The kneaded dough should not be tacky. Test the dough by touching it. If it sticks to your hand, add a bit more flour.
- Remove the dough from your bowl. Spray the bowl lightly with cooking spray. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- Place parchment paper on baking sheets (I used 2 baking sheets; 6 bagels on each) and spritz lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. (I used a kitchen scale; each ball weighed in at 5.0 ounces.) Form each ball into a flat disk (like a burger). Using your thumbs, form a hole in the center of each disk and form into a bagel shape. Make the hole a bit larger than you want the final baked bagel, as additional rising will encourage it to close somewhat. Place formed bagels about 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Cover the bagels with a damp towel and allow them to rest/rise at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour.
- To boil/bake the bagels: Preheat the oven to 500° F with the racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (at least 5 quarts). Once the water is boiling, add the baking soda slowly (it will momentarily foam up).
- Gently drop 1 bagel into the boiling water. It should float within 10 seconds. If it doesn’t, remove promptly and allow bagels to rest 10 more minutes and then try again. DO NOT crowd the pot. Boil the bagels 1 or 2 at a time. Boil for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Gently flip the bagels over with a slotted spoon and boil another 45 seconds to one minute.
- While the bagels are boiling, get fresh sheets of parchment ready. Place the freshly boiled bagels on clean parchment (removed from boiling water with a slotted spoon or slotted spatula). Sprinkle each bagel with about 1 tablespoon of the shredded asiago cheese as soon as they come out of the water. (The wet surface will help the cheese stick.)
- When all the bagels have been boiled and topped, place the baking sheets on the two middle shelves in the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 450° F. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, then rotate the pans (top to bottom and front to back). Continue baking for about 8 minutes, or until the bagels turn golden brown.
- Remove the pans from the oven and place on wire racks to cool. After 10 minutes, place bagels directly on the racks (remove baking sheets). Let cool about 10 more minutes before serving.
Notes: Let bagels cool completely before storing in an air-tight container or plastic bag.
These freeze extremely well. I recommend slicing in half prior to freezing and thawing/warming in a toaster straight from the freezer.
Recipe adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.