Have you ever met someone who always seems to be in the right place at the right time?
I mean, they’re the ones who win that ever elusive “Bring Your Own Bag” raffle at Trader Joes. (seriously, does anyone ever win that $25 gift certificate?)
Or maybe you have a friend who sat next to Robin Williams on a plane? They laughed together, shared snacks and had thumb wars the whole way. Ok, maybe I embellished a few details, but this is how I like to imagine it went down.
Sadly, I don’t have many stories like that. My closest brush with fame came when I was in culinary school.
I was at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and my bread instructor was Peter Reinhart. That name will fall on deaf ears for 99 percent of my readers, but those of you who pursue bread-baking as a passion or career may recognize him as the author of The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and Crust and Crumb: Master Formulas for Serious Bread Bakers. Peter Reinhart is a veritable rock star when it comes to the art of bread-making.
I’m usually a bit suspicious when it comes to gurus, so luckily I had no idea who I was dealing with on that first day of Yeast Breads. By day 3, I was a true-believer. Chef Reinhart’s generous spirit coupled with an indisputable depth of knowledge make him an ideal teacher. His hearty Struan bread, perfect baguettes, luscious challah and chewy bagels seemed otherworldly. Chef Reinhart taught us to nurture our breads like precious seedlings and I loved reaping the rewards.
During this period I would have found it unimaginable to live without wheat. When you’ve embraced the dogma, “bread is the staff of life,” it’s a bit of an adjustment to go gluten-free. For a long time I thought that I would need to erase all the knowledge I had accrued. Then one day I stopped trying to forget and started making connections. Connections between what I have learned about baking with and without wheat. I started to love gluten-free baking and things like these bagels started to appear in my hands, fresh from my oven. Proof that it wasn’t all for naught.
Proof that I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Gluten-Free Egg Bagels
- 3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, (click link to see the mix I used)
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum (I use Authentic Foods Brand since it is corn-free)
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed (this is an important ingredient as it helps with the hint of malt flavor in a traditional bagel)
- 1 3/4 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 2 eggs + 2 yolks
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup warm water, plus 1-4 additional tablespoons if needed* ( I usually need to add this extra water)
- 12 cups water
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 lightly beaten egg (for egg washing the bagels)
Notes: Please click here for step-by-step photos of my bagel making extravaganza. This will be helpful to anyone who hasn’t tackled homemade bagels before!
→ Place the dry ingredients (gluten-free flour mix, tapioca starch, millet flour, yeast, xanthan gum, brown sugar, and yeast) in the bowl of your standing mixer.
→ With the paddle attachment, slowly mix ingredients until incorporated, approximately 30 seconds. Set aside.
→ In another bowl, gently whisk the remaining ingredients (eggs + yolks, oil and 1 cup water) until combined.
→ Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and with the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes on medium-high speed (start your mixer slowly so ingredients don’t slosh out). The dough will be a bit sticky, and stiff but it shouldn’t be unbearably sticky (add additional water one tablespoon at a time if it is too stiff and dry). Please see the bagel tutorial if you would like to see what my dough looks like after mixing.
→ Using a metal ice cream scooper or measuring cup, drop a “glob” (1/2 cup) of dough at a time onto a counter that has been lightly dusted with rice flour. I usually don’t need much flour and find that a slightly tacky dough is easier to roll into smooth balls.
→ Making a cupped shape with your hand, roll the dough in a quick, repetitive, circular motion to create a smooth, rounded ball of dough. (don’t get discouraged as this takes some practice!)
→ Using your thumb (you may want to flour it a bit), press straight down into the center of the dough ball and then move your thumb around a bit, in small circles to help widen the whole. See pictures for guidelines.
→ Then, using your four fingers, press the dough down a bit to help make a flattened “bagel shape.”
→ After shaping, move each bagel to a sheet pan that has been lined with lightly oiled parchment paper or a silpat mat.
→ Gently drape the bagels with oiled plastic wrap and allow them to rise in a warm, 80 degree place for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes (not much longer or else the bagels will take on an overly yeasty flavor). The bagels will look puffy and should be doubled in size.
→ About 30 minutes into the rise, preheat your oven to 450 degrees in anticipation of baking your bagels.
→ About 20 minutes before the bagels are done rising, bring a large, wide-mouthed pot of water to a boil (approximately 12 cups of water). Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of baking soda to the pot.
→ Working with 3 to 4 bagels at a time (depending on the size of your pot), boil the bagels for 1 1/2 minutes per side. I flip mine at the half-way mark with a large slotted skimmer.
→ When the bagels are finished, remove them with the slotted spoon/skimmer and place on your prepared sheet pan. Don’t worry if a bit of water puddles off of them onto the sheet pan. This will evaporate in the hot oven.
→ Brush the tops of the bagels gently with the egg wash (1 lightly beaten egg).
→ Bake the bagels on the center rack of the preheated, 450 degree oven for 5 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 425 and bake for 15-20 more minutes. The bagels should be a very deep golden brown color.
→ Remove from the oven and cool bagels on racks.
→ If you have any bagels leftover, slice them, wrap them and store them in the freezer. To reheat: pop the sliced bagel in your toaster right from the freezer and they’ll taste just as good as the day they were baked! I usually make these bagels twice a month and we love pulling them out of the freezer for quick bagel pizzas, bagel breakfast sandwiches, etc.
Yield: Approximately 8-10 medium sized bagels