Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! (on Wednesday): bagels and stuff

If you love locally grown food, July is the best time to be in southern Wisconsin. Everything is so abundant and delicious (except in my own garden, but my personal gardening issues are a topic for another post). I'm happy to feast on cucumbers and kale and beet salad any and every night.

I'll be honest, it's been a bit of a struggle to maintain the weekly cooking gig with my kids this summer. Our routine was disrupted with that big trip last month, and I'm embarking on a road trip with them to New England next week. Whether I'm very brave and adventurous or very foolish remains to be seen. In any case, the last few weeks have been rather blissfully unstructured, but all the free time makes it difficult to enforce the few responsibilities they do have, like piano practice and helping out with dinner prep.

In fact, I was afraid today would be a fight to get Daniel and Anya to help. We were all kind of tired and unmotivated, but I decided to start early and take it slow and only have them participate in one thing: bagels!

We mixed up the bagel dough early in the afternoon:

Always start by reading the recipe.

Measure and dump.
We started the dough in the mixer, but it honestly works better by hand, so I removed the bowl so we could finish kneading by hand. I've taught Daniel and Anya how to make bread dough before, but it had been a while and they both needed a brief reminder.

Their personalities really show through in this step. Anya is so tentative she barely worked the flour in...

...while Daniel sat on the floor and kneaded with exuberance!

After an hour or so of letting the dough rise, then came the fun part. After dividing the dough into balls and letting it rest for a few minutes, you press holes in the middle.

This is how you get holes in the bagels. It's very scientific.

Then you get some water boiling and boil the bagels two at a time for about a minute before baking them.

I had them take turns dropping the dough into the water and timing each for a minute. 

There was a lot more to dinner than just the bagels, actually. I should have had them help with everything else, but I didn't want to push it. Sure, I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen, but I was kind of in the zone and didn't mind. Plus, we have lots of bagels left for tomorrow!

Pan-roasted salmon fillet, raw kale salad, gazpacho, BAGEL with cream cheese and fresh pesto. Every single vegetable and herb is locally grown. Did I mention I love southern Wisconsin this time of year?
Fresh bagels:
This recipe is from my cousin Liz. I've altered it just slightly because well, I always do that.

  • 3.5-4 cups flour (I use one cup whole wheat or a whole grain mix)
  • 2 T. yeast
  • 3 T. sugar
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  1. Mix 3 cups of the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients. 
  2. Add the hot water and stir into a dough, adding the remaining flour as necessary to make a nice smooth dough ball.
  3. Let the dough rise until about double (about an hour).
  4. Divide dough into 10-12 equal pieces and roll into balls.
  5. Let the balls rest about 15 minutes before pressing each one gently with the palm of your hand to flatten and poke holes in the middle with your thumb.
  6. Fill a saucepan about 2/3 full of water and add a bit of sugar (1 T. or so), then bring to a boil.
  7. Boil the bagels in groups of 2-3 for one minute, flipping once. Drain each one lightly on a towel.
  8. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top, flipping over once in the oven.


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