When life gives you melons, make melonade (or get help for your dyslexia.) When life (or Trader Joe's) gives you freeze-dried blueberries, make blueberry bagels.
I've been wanting to make blueberry bagels for the longest time, but I just didn't know which type of blueberries to use. I knew that fresh or frozen blueberries would be a mess during the kneading process and most likely throw off the whole liquid ratio in my dough because of their moisture, so I figured that I'd have to go with a dried form. However, I didn't want to use the sweetened, dried blueberries (like raisins.) I thought and thought and thought about this recipe until my brain turned blue, and then when I discovered the freeze-dried blueberries at Trader Joe's, it all became very clear in my mind's eye how these were going to come together. Be aware however, that I've had this same crystal-ball vision about other recipes that ended up in the trash. You win some, you lose some. This one was a winner.
If I can get just one of you who are so certain that you can't make bagels to try one of my bagel recipes, my work here is done. They are SO EASY to make, swears. This recipe starts out with a sponge of flour, yeast and water which is stirred together then left to ferment on the counter for two hours, or until bubbly.
The rest of the ingredients are then added and kneaded until a smooth dough is formed.
Now comes the kneading in of the freeze-dried blueberries. They're very dry and crispy, like cereal, but I was certain that they'd take on the moisture in the dough... and they did!
It took a little while to knead them all into the dough, but when I was finished, they were all incorporated and my dough was smooth and streaked with blue. Lovely!
I weighed the dough into 3 ounce portions then rolled them into balls. They were placed on a cookie sheet, covered with a damp towel and left to rest for 20 minutes.
I then took each ball and rolled it into a 6-8 inch rope.
Each rope was wrapped around my hand, overlapping the end pieces by an inch or so.
Then the bagel was flipped over onto the counter and rolled back and forth between the counter and my palm to seal the edges.
The bagels were placed on a silpat lined baking sheet, covered with a damp towel and left to rest again for 20 minutes. To determine if they're ready for their overnight rest in the fridge, take one of the bagels and drop it in a bowl of cool water. If it floats to the top within 10 seconds, it's ready. If not, wait a few more minutes and try again. Cover the bagels with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray and place baking sheet in the fridge overnight or for up to three days.
On the day of baking, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Heat a large pot of water to boiling and add 1 TBSP of baking soda. Carefully drop bagels into the pot and boil for one minute. Then flip the bagels over and boil the other side for another minute.
Remove bagels from pot with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper, sprayed with cooking spray and dusted lightly with cornmeal. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate the pan 180 degrees, reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on cooling rack.
Blueberry Bagels (makes about 10- 3 ounce bagels)
1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 cups (9 ounces) unbleached high-gluten flour or bread flour (I used Sir Lancelot)
10 ounces of water
Combine the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl, cover and allow to ferment at room temperature for 2 hours.
The final dough:
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 3/4 cup (7 ounces) white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 TBSP vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp diastatic malt powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 TBSP sugar
1 cup (1.2 ounces) freeze-dried blueberries
Add the yeast to the sponge and stir well to incorporate. In a measuring cup, combine the remaining ingredients, except for the blueberries. Add to the sponge and mix well. Knead by hand or machine 6-8 minutes until smooth dough is formed. Remove dough from bowl to clean counter and knead in the blueberries by hand. Follow the above instructions and photos to shape, finish and bake the bagels.