Successfully making Parmesan Sprouted Whole Wheat Bagels inspired a happy dance at my house. A bona fide, get your hands up, twist and shout, tickled pink sort of dance in the middle of the kitchen.
Why so giddy?
Well, as any parent can attest, making healthy food choices is a great idea until you try to replace a favorite. Favorites are harder to let go of and our daughter loves the bagels at Costco, specifically the Parmesan bagels. It is the only white bread I buy, even though I am still riddled with guilt every time she eats one.
Making dietary changes takes effort and time; old (bad) habits die hard. Even with a health crisis like the one we faced a couple years ago, we were careful to include our kids (those still at home) in the education process of our dietary conviction rather than force it on them. With both of them at an age far beyond the “because I said so” phase, their transition has been gradual, still allowing some things for them we would no longer eat … like Costco bagels.
Eating something for the sake of it being healthy has never worked at our house. If it does not pass the taste test, no one is going to touch it. I knew anything dense or chewy was not going to satisfy. I had to produce a bagel to make us both happy—sprouted grain for me; light, soft, crunchy when toasted, for her. No door stops. No seeds. Lots of Parmesan.
Bolstered with confidence from successful Sprouted Wheat Burger Buns and more than a dozen bagel recipes for reference, it was time to dive in. The only thing really holding me back was the idea of investing more than 3-4 hours, I needed bagels I could turn out in an afternoon. Every bagel recipe involved boiling the bagels, but I just didn’t want to mess with it, so I opted for steam instead, the same concept used to make French baguettes.
The steam worked, the pieced together recipe ideas worked, the mounds of Parmesan worked, it all worked!
Oh, the intoxicating aroma that spread through the house as the Parmesan melted over the bagels in the oven! All I could do was sit in front of my oven door watching the dough capture every morsel of cheese as it baked. When my husband and daughter walked in the door, they knew it too … there was something delicious going on in the kitchen and they wanted in on it.
Let the dancing ensue.
The only thing that would make these bagels any better is if I had taken the time for homemade cream cheese like my blogging friend, John. I assure you, his cream cheese recipe is on my agenda for the next batch.
Parmesan Sprouted Wheat Bagels
- 2 cups warm water -- 110°-115°
- 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 5 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white -- lightly beaten
- 2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese -- shredded
- Olive oil
- Dissolve yeast in warm water and honey in a stand mixer or a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in half the flour, salt, and whole egg until well blended. Let rest for 20 minutes.
- In a stand mixer with a paddle or flat beater, mix-in the remaining flour, up to 5 cups, allowing the mixer to run for 4-5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for one or two turns to form a ball.
- Oil a bowl with olive oil, place dough in bowl and turn over so that oiled surface is face-up.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a towel, and let it rise in a warm spot (above 70°) for 1 hour, or until nearly doubled in bulk. (The oven, with the oven light ON is a great place to let the dough rise if the room is cool.)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and create 6 small circles of Parmesan cheese on each sheet for the bagels to rest on--this will create a cheese crust on the bottom side of the bagel. Make sure the circles are far enough apart so the bagels do not touch when rising.
- With oiled hands, punch down dough and divide it into 12 pieces on a lightly floured surface (a kitchen scale can be helpful to make sure they are even).
- Shape each piece into a round, smooth ball, then punch thumb through middle of dough and stretch to create a 1 1/2" hole in the middle. Place bagel on top of prepared circle of Parmesan and repeat with remaining dough.
- Once all the bagels are formed, brush egg white on all exposed sides and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Don't worry about the cheese falling in the hole or any cheese that falls on the pan. Just gently push it up next to each bagel (the bagel will "grab" it as it rises and bakes).
- Allow bagels to rise for 20-30 minutes in a warm place away from drafts, or cover with a lightweight smooth towel or tented aluminum foil.
- Preheat the oven to 425° and position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven (approximately the third position from the bottom in a seven rack oven) and one in the lowest position.
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water in a shallow pan and place on the lowest rack of the oven. Steam will help the crust have the desired "pull" and texture of bagels traditionally boiled in water before baking.
- Bake the bagels on the rack above the steam pan for 5 minutes uncovered, then tent with aluminum foil and continue baking 12-15 minutes until light-golden in color.
- This will keep the bagels from becoming too browned to toast at a later time. If serving all the bagels right away without toasting, the foil is not needed.
- Remove from oven and let cool on the pan for 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks until ready to slice and serve or freeze.
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