Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Jalapeno Cheddar Bagels

I've made bagels a couple times now but have really stuck to the simple starter recipe for Everything bagels I posted a while ago. I really like the Jalapeno Cheese Bagels at Tim Hortons, they have a great kick and a nice cheesy balance to them. Its pretty much the only thing I still go there for. So I of course decided I could make them myself. I found this recipe a long time ago and figured I would give it a try. It's a fairly in depth recipe for bagels, with a sponge starter and you have to leave them in the refrigerator overnight before cooking, so they're not an instant gratification type thing, although no bread really is. If I make them again (which I probably will) I think I'll add another cheese to the mix. Some parm or an Asiago. The cheddar is great, but its only one note and just having that extra sharp saltiness I think would put them over the top! If you want to stick to just cheddar, you may want to up the salt in the recipe.

Before you get really excited and want to make these right away there's a couple things you should be prepared for. I have a 5qt standard kitchen aid mixer, there's no way you can make these in it unless you half the recipe. Mine was dancing all over the counter before I decided to take out the dough and knead it by hand. It takes about 10 minutes to do it by hand and mixing the jalapenos and cheese in isn't a cake walk either. There's definitely something about kneading dough that's extremely therapeutic though. I'd highly recommend it over a stress ball. Plus in the end you have bready, cheesy goodness if you have any stress left.

The next thing is these take hours. Don't expect to start making them early in the morning for a brunch treat. The sponge needs to set up for 2 - 3 hours, the dough needs to sit in balls for half an hour, bagels for half an hour and overnight in the refrigerator. There's not a ton of active time but there's quite a bit of waiting time.

That's all though! Time to make bagels!

Jalapeño Cheddar Bagels
(Adapted slightly from Here)


1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups flour, I used AP - bread is probably a bit better
2½ cups water, at room temperature

½ teaspoon instant yeast
3½ cups flour
3 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1½ cups minced jalapeño peppers, Seeded if desired (About 10 peppers)

To Finish:
1 Tablespoon baking soda
2½ Litres water
8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated


1. Sponge: Stir the yeast into the flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the water, stirring  until it forms a smooth, sticky batter, sort of lumpy with air holes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 - 3 hours, or until nearly double in size and collapses when the bowl is tapped on the counter.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl a couple hours later add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and brown sugar. Stir until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining 1/2 cup flour to stiffen the dough.

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes. Add the Cheddar cheese and jalapeños during the last two minutes or so of kneading, and knead until evenly distributed. The dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour left over in lumps. If the dough seems dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems sticky or tacky, add more flour to achiever the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

4. Divide the dough into equal pieces, I cut the dough with a knife into 14 equalish balls and evened them out to make a 15th ball. Roll into balls like you are making dinner rolls (or a snowball!)

5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for 30 minutes.

6. Line 2 sheet pans with silpats or parchment. Proceed with shaping the bagels: Push a hole through the center of the roll with the end of a wooden spoon or spatula and stretch out the hole to an inch or so in diameter, try to make sure the ring is fairly even.

7. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to head to the refrigerator overnight by doing a “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room temperature water. The bagels are ready to go in when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator overnight or up to 2 days if you're holding off on baking them.

If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until it floats. This time can vary, mine was about 30 minutes.

9. The next day, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the better), I used my 3.25 Qt braiser since I can fit 4 bagels in it comfortably, and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit, they should float. After 1 minute flip them over and boil another minute. Sprinkle the bagels with the grated cheese as soon as they come out of the water.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled and topped, place the pans on the two middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are only baking one pan at a time, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 8 minutes.

12. Turn the oven to a low broil and place each pan in separately for 3-5 minutes to finish off some browning and cooking.

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes.

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