Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BBA Challenge: Jalapeno Cheddar Bagels

Bread Baker's Apprentice

I can't tell you how much I've been learning and enjoying baking bread every week. The Bread Baker's Apprentice challenges are giving me the opportunity to feel more comfortable working with yeast and my friends are definitely benefiting from all the homemade baked goods as a result! For week three of our Bread Baker's Apprentice (BBA) Challenge the recipe we're tackling are for bagels. Peter Reinhart provides a straightforward bagel recipe but I wanted to add some flavor to mine, specifically something savory.

One of my favorite bagels that I often order out includes Jalapeno Cheddar from Au Bon Pain. Here's my chance to recreate them or at least be inspired by Au Bon Pain. To Peter Reinhart's recipe, here are the ingredients I added to create Jalapeno Cheddar Bagels:

Jalapeno Cheddar: add the following ingredients when you begin to knead the dough:
- 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced finely
- 1 tablespoon mexican seasoning
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
... and top the freshly boiled bagels with shredded sharp cheddar cheese before baking

If you would like the recipe, you can find it starting on page 115 in Peter Reinhart's book, The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

Making bagels (or bread) is a lengthy yet easy process. Sure, you can very well purchase bread at the store but something about making it from scratch just amazes me. To make these bagels, I made a starter with yeast, flour and water.

After this starter fermented a bit, I added more yeast, flour, honey, salt, along with the additional ingredients to make my jalapeno cheddar bagels.

Everything gets kneaded together until you have a uniform dough.

The dough is divided into small balls to rise and create individual bagels.

Each ball of dough is then poked in the middle and shaped into bagels before resting again.

Finally, the dough is ready to be boiled in water...

Then topped with sharp cheddar cheese before baking.

After a few minutes in a hot oven, they're cooled on a cooling rack before devouring.