Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Montréal Style Bagels

Montréal Style Bagel

There is something to be said about bread, especially when it's in the form of a circle and dipped in the topping of your choice. I am trying to be good with my eating habits. But there are times when I feel like would like to "treat myself" with some gluten.   
What you need:

1 1/2 cups water 
5 tablespoons sugar 
3 tablespoons oil (or butter)
1 (8 g) package dry yeast 
1 tablespoon beaten egg 
1 tablespoon malt drink powder or 1 malt tablespoon syrup (found at natural food stores)
4 1/2 cups unbleached white bread flour (maybe more ...) 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/2 cup sesame seeds or poppy seeds, or both! 
6 quarts water 
1/3 cup honey 

What to do:

Combine warm water, sugar, oil (or melted butter), yeast (not instant), egg and malt in a large bowl until the yeast is no longer visible. Stir in salt and a cup of flour. Slowly add more flour until you have a soft dough (about 3 more cups). Knead the dough for about 10-12 minutes, adding more flour as necessary. The dough will let you know, you don't want anything too sticky or loose. 

Once you have a firm dough, shape in a round and cover with a bowl. Let it rest for 10 minutes. 

Cut the dough in 12 pieces (I normally end up with 13 ... which works fine with me!!!). Roll up the dough, into a rope shape (about 10 inches) and wrap the dough around your hand to make the bagel. Seal the bagel together by pressing the dough and "rolling" it together, using water if necessary. Place the bagels on a sheet pan and allow them to rise for about 30 minutes. Start boiling the water in a large pot, adding the honey. 

Pre-heat oven for 425 degrees. Boil the bagels in the honey water for about a minute and a half each side. Drain the bagels and quickly dip them (ok smother them!) in your topping of choice. Place the bagels on a sheet pan and bake for about 10 minutes, turning the bagels and then bake for an additional 10 minutes.  

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Why Another Food Blog?!?

I created this blog to journal my cooking and baking pursuits.

As someone who is conscious of the environment and the people who grow and harvest my food, most (if not all) of the ingredients I use are organic (or "free of pesticides"). Every time I choose to buy wild, local, organic, grass-fed, I choose against conventional factory farms, and mono-cultures. I choose to support farming practices that do not create toxic conditions for workers that pick my produce, as well as the pollinators that we rely greatly upon for so much of our food. I also try to be aware of genetically modified organisms (GMO's) as we are still uncertain on how they will affect us in the long-term. I vote with my dollar.

I try to cook using whole foods, while limiting my consumption of refined sugars, wheat, an processed foods. This is primarily for health reasons, as I have noticed that while consuming processed foods laden with refined sugars, wheat, and unhealthy oils, I've become very unhealthy. I'm learning while I go, remaining fluid throughout this journey.

I hope that we, as a society, begin to value food systems that are locally centered, support small farmers, small businesses, and individuals. As well as embrace fair trade and sustainable practices for coffee, chocolate, bananas, coconut, ect. in the communities that rely on exporting their goods.

I acknowledge that having these ethos can cost more for groceries, but I have also learned a few tips along the way to help keep costs down:

1. Shop at your Farmer's market!! You would be surprised on how inexpensive buying organic at the market really is, especially if you buy items right before they close (although, you can' t be too picky about what you get at these times). Ask for deals when you are there (especially at end of market)! Also, ask the farmers what their farming practices are, many grow organic and simply cannot afford to (or do not want to) certify.

2. Eat seasonally! Eating seasonally means less miles traveled, fresher ingredients, and lots of inspiration to work with! Get comfortable with food and working with different flavours.

3. Buy bulk! Buying bulk is a great way to reduce costs. If you have the motivation and the resources, pitch in with a group to get items at bargain prices!

4. Use those coupons! Most of the time coupons are used to advertise for processed foods and unhealthy items. However, the big chain natural food grocery stores often have really good deals and can be less expensive than their conventional counterparts.

5. Get gardening! Since I started planting my own food, I've become even more aware of what I eat and how it's grown. Even if you live in a small space, there are many things that you can grow in containers. Start with a few herbs, cherry tomatoes, and maybe even a container melon! There are endless possibilities here, and there is a great satisfaction in knowing how to grow your own food.

6. Barter! Try to trade or barter within your circle of friends, and maybe beyond. I know this may sound a little wacky to people who live in a society that is based off the dollar, but if you think about it, we all try to buy the same things anyways. Bartering or trading with your friends and/or neighbours can provide you with variety and a sense of community. You can make this fun by creating an event out of it! Trade canned goods, baked goods, and your own homegrown produce!

7. Experiment with herbs and spices! I haven't physically traveled much, but through the pursuits of my cooking adventures I've been all around the world! I still have many countries and regions to discover as food is a great way to learn about people around the world. You can buy spices fairly inexpensively in bulk at natural food stores.

Lastly. Have fun with it!

Thank you for reading.