Yummy, slightly chewy, especially wonderful when toasted —- BAGELS! Ooooh, don’t you want to try these, too? They’re delicious!
Like many whole grain breads, the soaker and biga pre-doughs need to be prepared the night before. Soaking the whole wheat flour overnight helps with digestibility and also makes the bagels taste better… if you’ve ever eaten a “grainy” tasting whole wheat bread, then you know what I mean. Soaking the wheat overnight adds to the taste of the bagel, making it a bit smoother tasting.
You’ll like it, and it’s not that hard, I promise!
I used freshly ground, organic hard white wheat for these bagels. If you haven’t already, you may want to read my post about why using freshly ground wheat is your best bet.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads… I can’t recommend it enough!
100% Whole Wheat Bagels
Here’s what you do:
Soaker (the night before):
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (we use freshly ground, but you don’t have to)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c plus 2 tbsp water
2 tbsp honey
Combine all and mix until hydrated. That’s all. Cover loosely at leave out on the counter overnight.
Biga (the night before):
1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 c plus 2 tbsp room temperature water
Mix together. Using wet hands, knead dough in a bowl for two minutes. Dough should still feel tacky. Let dough rest for about five minutes, then knead again with wet hands for one minute.
Transfer to a clean bowl. cover, and refrigerate overnight.
*In the morning, about two hours prior to mixing the final dough, set out the biga so that it can return to room temperature.
Final Dough (the day of baking):
All of soaker
All of biga
Approx 7 tbsp whole wheat flour
5/8 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast
2 tbsp water at room temperature
poppy seeds or sesame seeds for garnish, if you like
2 teaspoons baking soda
Chop or tear the soaker and biga into 12 smaller pieces, and dust with flour so that they don’t stick back to each other.
Combine soaker and biga pieces in a bowl. Dissolve yeast in the two tbsp of water. Add yeast mixture to soaker and biga in a large bowl, then add salt and knead with wet hands for about three minutes. The dough should be fairly firm and not sticky; use more flour or water for adjustments if necessary. Different flours absorb different amounts of moisture.
Knead for 3 more minutes. Form dough into a ball and let it rest for five minutes while you prepare a lightly oiled bowl.
Resume kneading the dough for one minute. Form the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl. Cover loosely and let rise at room temperature for 60 minutes.
When the dough is ready, sprinkle a work area with flour and divide the dough into six balls. Roll each piece into an 8-inch rope and shape it into a circle around your hand. Seal each one well by squeezing it where the two ends overlap. You should have about a two inch hole in the center of each bagel.
Place the bagels onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and misted with pan spray. Cover loosely with a cloth towel. Let rise for about twenty minutes or so while you continue on to the next steps. This is what it will look like:
Preheat the oven to 500.
Bring four or five inches of water to boil in a wide pot. When it comes to a boil, add the two teaspoons of baking soda… watch out, though, because it may bubble and fizz a bit. Lower the heat just enough to maintain a steady simmer.
Using a large slotted spoon, or skimmer, carefully place one or two bagels into the water at a time. They should float within 30 seconds. After thirty seconds, gently turn them over and allow them to boil an additional 30 seconds. They will be in the water for about one minute total each; repeat this for each of the bagels, returning them to the baking sheet when their minute is done.
Apply toppings, if using.
Place the baking sheet on a middle shelf, and lower the temperature to 450. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake another 10-15 minutes, until bagels are a rich brown.
Place bagels onto a cooling rack and let cool for about twenty minutes before serving.