Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!
One of our great sponsors for the week is Red Star Yeast – they generously sent us all a huge packet of their instant yeast for some baking experimentation. I made three recipes with it in the spirit of oh-I-have-to-test-a-bunch-of-yummy-yeasted-goods-nudge-nudge-wink-wink. I successfully made yeasted doughnuts, coffee flavored cinnamon rolls, and of course, these bagels that won out for a space at Brunch Week.
A couple months ago, I decided to be one of those nutso home cooks that uses real lye. In my defense, my husband is a professional scientist who has worked with tons of hazardous chemicals in his career, so I felt okay with him supervising. And I suppose it worked, as no one was harmed in the making of these bagels! They may look a bit rustic, but they are incredible and taste just as advertised – like the love-child of a bagel and a soft pretzel.
Now we all know that a good bagel needs a good cream cheese spread, and I wanted something savory, and unique. This is Brunch Week, after all. Roasted jalapenos and cilantro mixed with softened cream cheese did the trick beautifully! The spicy-creamy concoction meshed very well with the saltiness of the pretzel bagels – and yet the cream cheese spread is delicious in and of itself too; I think it would be wonderful with plain bagels.
Give these a try, and yes, you can use baking soda if you’d rather. 🙂 Enjoy!
1 tbs Red Star instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs granulated sugar
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
2 quarts water
2 tsp kitchen-grade lye or baking soda
Coarse pretzel salt
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbs milk
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
For the BAGELS: combine the yeast, bread flour, kosher salt, sugar, and 1 ½ cups lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine, then knead by hand for 10-15 minutes. Place the bowl in a lightly greased bowl and set it aside to rise until noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Transfer the dough to a work surface the divide into 8 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up some.
While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath. Pour 2 quarts water into a large stainless steel stockpot. Bring to a boil, THEN add the lye while wearing disposable latex gloves (if you’re using baking soda it doesn’t matter as much when you add it, nor is it important to use stainless steel. Or gloves). The lye will bubble up and look rather menacing for a minute, but it is okay.
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Working one at a time, use your index finger to poke a nice hole through the center of each ball of dough, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole to about 2 inches in diameter. Transfer the bagels to the boiling water bath. You’ll likely have to do this in batches – I fit two at a time in there. Cook the bagels 2 minutes, flip, and cook 1 minute more. Using a stainless steel skimmer or strainer, carefully lift the bagels out and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels. Liberally sprinkle the tops of each bagel with the coarse salt.
Now bake the bagels in the oven 20 to 25 minutes. You can flip them after 15 minutes of baking to help keep their shape better, but since I used the lye, I was a little afraid to do so.
Remove the bagels from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the CREAM CHEESE SPREAD: combine the cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth and fluffy. Scrape into a bowl and fold in the jalapenos and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour for best results, then let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving (though I can attest that serving it right away still tastes awesome).
Split the bagels, toast if desired, then spread with the cream cheese and eat!
- Aperol Cocktails by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Grapefruit Rosemary Mocktails by Sweet Beginnings
- Teh Tarik (Malaysian Pulled Tea) by Tara’s Multicultural Table
BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
- Homemade Crumpets by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Apple Cinnamon Scones with Salted Caramel Drizzle by Family Around the Table
- Cannoli French Toast by Cooking In Stilettos
- Cinnamon Cobblestone Bread by My Catholic Kitchen
- Orange Popvers by The Chef Next Door
- Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese by The Texan New Yorker
- Strawberries and Cream Sweet Rolls by The Redhead Baker
BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
- Apple Fritters by The Suburban Soapbox
- Blueberry Salad with Green Onion-Poppy Seed Dressing by Love & Confections
BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
- Caramelized onion, Bacon, and Cheddar Egg Tart by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Breakfast Quesadillas with Bacon and Cheesy Eggs by Casa de Crews
- Chorizo Egg Breakfast Skillet by Brunch-n-Bites
- Crab Souffle by A Day in the LIfe on the Farm
- Picante Omlette Pie by Feeding Big and more
- Slow Cooker Ham, Cheese, and Veggie Breakfast Casserole by Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
- Curried Fish Tacos by Nik Snacks
- Ham and Mushroom Strata by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Mini Croque Monsieurs by Making Miracles
- Roman Breakfast Sandwich by Palatable Pastime
- Strawberry Chicken Salad by The Barbee Housewife
- Spiced Marinated Lamb Lollipops by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Gluten Free Citrus Pastries by Gluten Free Crumbley
Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.