Monday, 6 January 2014

Cinnamon & Raisin Bagels

These bagels are really tasty and keep very well. The crumb is light but with that slight chewiness that you should get with bagels. The cinnamon and raisin combination is a classic marriage of two flavours that are just made for each other.

Often when I cook or bake, the challenge that I privately set myself is to produce something that is tastier and well…just better than that which you could purchase in the supermarket or local shop. These bagels definitely achieve this and I will be making them again and again. They are perfect breakfast fare, split in half and smeared with good Irish butter and preserves or my favourite – toasted and then slathered… and I mean SLATHERED in butter which begins to melt seductively into the spicy sweetness of the hot bagel.

Homemade yeasted breads tend to go stale quicker than their mass-produced, processed counterparts which are packed full of preservatives to extend shelf-life. However, the keeping qualities of these bagels are great. They are lovely eaten shortly after being baked, but were every bit as tasty a couple of days later when I toasted them. To be honest, I had to hide the bagels because the rest of my gang kept eating them. If I had given them free-reign, how quickly they did or did not go stale would not have been an issue, because there would have been none left!
I was nervous about poaching the bagels, thinking that they would deflate on being scooped out of the water and set aside whilst I got on with poaching the others, but they didn’t. These are really far easier to make than I imagined and I am so thrilled with the results. I now feel enthused and excited about developing new flavour combinations and already have a few ideas of some that I would like to try out. I shall of course keep you updated!
Bagels are ring shaped yeasted breads about the size of a ring doughnut, which are boiled for a short time before being baked in the oven. The boiling of the bagels produces the chewy crumb characteristic of the bagel. Bagels gained widespread popularity in the United States and they are now commonly eaten in many countries. Bagels may be savoury, topped with seeds and/or flavoured with onions or spices or may be sweet like the recipe that I give here.


500g strong white flour, plus a little extra for kneading
2 heaped tblsp caster sugar
1tsp salt
2 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
1 x 7g sachet of fast action yeast
125g raisins
300ml warm water
1tblsp bicarbonate of soda
A little beaten egg for glazing


1. Put the flour, sugar, salt , cinnamon, yeast and raisins into a large bowl. Add the warm water and mix to a rough dough using your hands or a wooden spoon.
2. Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough for about ten minutes until it is smooth and elastic.
3. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking parchment and set aside.
4. Place the dough on a lightly oiled bowl and cover with some cling film. Leave in a warm place for about an hour to prove by which time it should have doubled in size.
5. Tip the dough out onto the work surface and shape into ten evenly sized balls.  Place on the prepared baking trays and cover again with lightly oiled cling film. Allow to rise again for about 30 minutes. Remove the cling film and using your forefinger or the handle of a wooden spoon make a hole in the centre of each bagel. I swirl the dough around my finger to create a hole about 4cms in diameter.
6. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
7. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. When it is bubbling away, add the bicarbonate of soda. Carefully pop a couple of bagels at a time into the water and allow to bubble away for about 90 seconds – they will puff up! Turn them over in the water after about 45 seconds.
8. Carefully remove and drain well on some absorbent kitchen roll and then place bake onto the lined baking trays. Repeat this process for the remaining bagels.
9. Brush the boiled bagels with a little beaten egg. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes by which time they should be a rich golden brown colour. 
Makes 10.