I did not set out with bagel-making in mind today, but after a trip to the grocery store which involved the purchase of a 24 ounce can of Budweiser when only about 4 ounces were needed, I new I could not let the rest go to waste. Why drink it when I could bake with it? A younger version of myself would be appalled at that statement, but age does funny things to people.
I had been wanting to try my hand at bagel baking again, and I had originally been focused on wheat bagels, perhaps sweetened with honey. Instead I opted to bake beer bagels sweetened with brown sugar and spiced with a variety of seasonings.
I did not have a lot of recipes to refer to today. This was equal parts refreshing (sweet, I found something I can do on my own) and terrifying (yikes, I have to do this on my own). The closest I could find was a recipe for Italian beer bagels. Since this recipe a) did not require poaching and b) referred to the ingredients as “ingenious” (“In a mixing bowl mix all ingenious together…”), I was not overly confident.
So, off to work I went with an egg bagel recipe as my reference. I found the 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 cup beer a bit too dry; I could not get all of the flour incorporated during the kneading process. I added an additional 1/4 cup of beer, but then found the dough was too wet. When I added an additional two tablespoons of flour, I found this made the dough just right. You may want to add an additional two tablespoons of beer and leave the amount of flour as is.
After the dough had risen and I had separated it into fourths, I decided to try out a few different flavors. I left one dough ball in its original form, and I seasoned each of the remaining three dough balls with a 1/2 teaspoon of a different spice: black pepper, diced jalapeno peppers, and basil. I thought about poaching the bagels in beer, but I decided this might be a bit of overkill and opted for water.
The bagels tasted delicious, but remember, I am biased as a bread lover. The plain bagels were ever so slightly sweet, and the closest description I can match the taste to is sourdough. The black pepper bagels were my favorite as the spicy pepper was a nice match to the slightly sweet beer bagel dough. The jalapeno pepper bagels had obvious heat, and the basil bagels tasted a bit earthy. The nice thing about this recipe is you can make it your own. Enjoy!
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 package (¼ ounce) rapid-rise yeast
- 1¼ cups (10 ounces) beer, slightly warm
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Whisk the flour, salt, and yeast together in a mixing bowl, then form a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
- Place the beer in the microwave and heat for approximately 30 seconds.
- Place 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the cup of warm water and pour into the well of dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
- Use a dough hook on low speed to knead for 10 minutes. The dough will eventually form itself into a ball.
- While waiting for the dough to knead, sip the remaining beer. Enjoy.
- Once kneaded, place the dough ball into a bowl greased with vegetable oil. Turn the dough ball to coat the dough in oil.
- Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel and let sit until the dough doubles in size, approximately 60 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface.
- Punch the dough down two or three times and then knead by hand approximately two to three minutes.
- Separate the dough into four fist-sized balls and roll each ball out into a rope.
- Cut the ropes into four pieces and form each into a circle. Slightly overlap the ends of the ropes and pinch to seal the ends.
- Place the formed bagels on greased baking sheets and cover until puffy, approximately 20 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, bring a large pot of water and the remaining two tablespoons of sugar to a boil.
- Poach the bagels in batches of two or three at a time, turning once, for one minute total.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the bagels from the water and allow to drain on a clean, dry towel.
- Place the drained bagels on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake at 475 degrees until the bagels are a light golden brown, approximately 20-30 minutes.