You know how many grocery stores have a big, clear case of pastries somewhere near the bakery? Temptation island, am I right. 🙂 I don't always open the case and pick out a treat for myself, honestly. Or at least I don't as often as I think about it. Also, why do they always seem to be right by the produce section?! At any rate, more often than not, I think about getting a donut, but when it really comes down to it, I end up reaching for a bagel. Of course I love both, and in a world where calories and carbs don't exist, I reach for both, always—but that's not where we live. :)
I am a sucker for bagels though—I really am. They are just so comforting! I love the almost-crusty outside and then the soft, chewy insides too. And every now and again, I get the itch to make them at home so that the smell of baking breads fills out the house. One of my favorites is Everything Bagels, and this is sort of a variation on that recipe. It's got some stronger flavors but nothing is overwhelming, just interesting. If you've never made bagels at home before, I highly recommend you give it a try—it's super easy and sort of fun!
1 large beet (mine was 8 oz.)
1 1/3 cups water
1 tablespoon honey + more for the tops and serving
one package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 oz goat cheese + more for serving
1/4 cup chopped nuts or seeds (I used almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and poppy seeds)
coarse sea salt (1/4 teaspoon or so, no need to be exact here)
First we make some homemade beet juice, but without a juicer.
Peel and cube the beet. I wear gloves and use a potato peeler to do this. Beet juice will stain your hands, wood cutting boards, and sometimes marble counter tops, so do be careful when you work with beets—they can be messy! Add the cubed beets to a small pot with 1 1/3 cups water, bring to a low boil, and cook for 10 minutes until the beet has softened some. Then pour the entire contents into a good blender (I love my Vitamix here!) and blend until smooth. Strain into a glass measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. You're aiming to get 1 1/4 cups liquid here, but if you come up a little short, just add a little water until you have that amount.
Now, while the beet water is still warm, stir in 1 tablespoon of honey, and then pour the yeast over the top of the mixture. Let that sit for a few minutes. It should begin to foam a little, which just means the yeast is working. Doing its yeasty job.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the 3 1/2 cups bread flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour the beet/yeast mixture in and stir until a crumbly dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough ball becomes somewhat elastic feeling, the surface becoming slightly shiny and smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and allow to rise for 1 hour in a warm, dry spot in your house. If your house is a bit chilly, you can warm your oven a little (not too hot or you'll bake the dough), then turn the oven off. Place the dough in there, with the door slightly ajar or closed (depending how warm you got the inside) and let it rise there. I almost always do this as we tend to keep our house on the chillier side.
By the way, don't you think the dough kind of looks like a brain here? I don't know what it is about the pink, beet color, but it kind of looks like a brain to me. So maybe this could double as a Halloween baking project for kiddos/adult Halloween enthusiasts? 🙂
Once the dough has risen, turn out onto a flour surface and divide into 8 pieces. Roll into a ball and then use your index finger to gently press a hole in the center, then shape into a bagel shape. Once you've shaped all the bagels, allow to rest for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, heat a medium sized pot with water to a low boil. Boil each bagel for 1 minute on each side. The dough will float about the first few seconds of cooking here. Then remove to a baking sheet lined with a baking mat or that's lightly oiled.
Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush over the tops of each bagel. Top with the goat cheese, nut/seed mix, a drizzle of honey, and a little coarse salt. Bake at 425°F for 20 minutes. Then remove to a cooling rack.
-If you can find or make fresh beet juice, feel free to use that instead of the water/beet juice mix suggested here. The flavor of your final bagels will likely be stronger, but I suspect it will be just as good and the color may even be richer.
-I do wear gloves when peeling or cutting up beets, but once you've incorporated the juice into the dough, it won't as easily stain your hands or counter tops. I kneaded the dough on my white counter tops and no stains appeared.
Hope you enjoy these! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the NEW A Beautiful Mess actions.