Rosemary Asiago Bagels

My latest foray into bagel baking involves a wonderful hunk of asiago cheese that’s been aged in rosemary – a stellar combination that can only be made better by wrapping it into a chewy circle of dough.  If you don’t have a local source of rosemary infused asiago cheese, as it’s not the most common of grocery items, a block of regular asiago cheese and a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary will still do the trick.  Just go sparingly on the fresh rosemary, it can become overwhelmingly floral when added to the muted flavor of the dough and the delicate nuttiness of the asiago. I was recently asked, by a dear family friend, what do I do to my bagels to make them so light?  At the time my mind blanked on an answer, and I responded with a shrug followed by a “…it must just be the recipe I use….?”  Upon further thought… when do I ever just stick to a recipe?  This question haunted my brain for several days.  I knew that I had an actual answer to it.  It just wasn’t coming to me.  Then it finally hit me.  I use regular flour.  Most bagel recipes call for some combination of high gluten flour.  I think this is done as a stop-gap measure to enhance the elastic texture of the dough and the chewiness of the final product.  I’ve always bypassed this as an unnecessary complication, reasoning that if I knead my dough enough the gluten will develop on its own, and if I boil my bagels correctly they should obtain that chewy exterior without the dense closed textured interior.  Eureka!
Recipe makes 24 (2 dozen) bagels.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup warm Water
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 8 – 10 oz grated Rosemary Asiago Cheese (or regular asiago with a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary)
  • 5 tsp Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 cups Sprouted Wheat Flour
  • 5 – 5 1/2 cups Flour
  • 4 Eggs

Directions:

  1. Beat together the water, olive oil, yeast, salt, honey, and sprouted wheat flour.
  2. Stir in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Stir in the cheese.
  4. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough pulls away form the sides of the bowl.
  5. Knead by hand for about 5 minutes or by machine until the dough is uniform and stretchy while still holding its form.  Bagel dough should be fairly smooth and elastic-y.  It should bounce back and feel relatively tight when you’re done kneading it.
  6. Place the dough in a greased and sealed container to rise for a hour.
  7. Place a large pot of water on to boil.
  8. Preheat the oven to 425 F (~218 C).
  9. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper or grease.
  10. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces.  I divided my dough into 100 gram or 3.5 ounce pieces.
  11. Roll each piece into a ball, and poke a hole through its middle with your finger.
  12. Carefully widen the hole until it is over an inch in diameter.  The dough will bounce back slightly so the bigger the hole the better.
  13. Let the newly shaped bagels to rest for about 10 minutes.
  14. Gently boil each bagel for 2-3 minutes on each side.  You can probably fit 3-4 bagels in the pot at a time.  They should sink at first and then rise to the surface.
  15. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the bagels from the water to the baking sheets.
  16. Bake for 23-25 minutes.

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