Almost-Everything Bagels

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I do miss New York bagels.

That being said, I decided to try Sally’s Baking Addiction recipe for Everything Bagels. I am missing one ingredient: poppy seeds, which I could not find in Bangkok, even at the upscale gourmet markets. So I substituted black sesame seeds instead, hence the name “almost-everything bagels.” The bagels turned out chewy but not as dense as a New York bagel. But they will do when I have a yearning for an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese.

Almost Everything Bagels (adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Bagel Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water (100˚F)
2 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups (480g) bread flour
1 tablespoon packed light or dark brown sugar (I used white sugar because I ran out of brown sugar)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon oil to coat the bowl

Water bath
2 quarts water
1/4 cup honey

Almost Everything Bagel Topping
2 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
1/2-1 tablespoon coarse salt, like Maldonado’s sea salt flakes
Egg wash: 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Prepare the dough:

Put yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Pour the warm water on top. Lightly whisk together. Loosely cover with a kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes until the surface becomes frothy.

To the yeast mixture, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Fit the dough hook on the stand mixer. Beat flour mixture on Speed 1 for 2 minutes. Sally writes the dough will be stiff and may look dry.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. With lightly floured hands, knead the dough 4-5 minutes. Form into a ball. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

Grease bottom and sides of a large bowl (I used the mixing bowl) with a tablespoon oil. Put the dough ball in the bowl, turning to coat evenly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Drape a kitchen towel over the top. Let stand at room temperature 60-90 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Shape the dough:

When the dough is ready, punch down the dough to release air bubbles. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough in half, then cut each piece in half again until you get 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Using your thumbs, poke a hole in the center of the ball and turn the bagel in your hands to smooth and shape it. Loosely cover the bagels with a kitchen towel while you prepare the water bath.

Preheat oven 425˚F/218˚C.

Heat to boiling 2 quarts of water. Stir in the honey until it dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high. Pick up each bagel carefully then gently slip into the water 2 to 4 at a time, making sure the bagels have enough room. Cook 1 minute then turn over the bagels and cook for another minute on the second side. Use a spider to remove the bagels from the water bath to a tray lined with parchment. Let cool slightly or until just cool enough to handle.

Baking the bagels:

Make the almost-everything bagel seasoning in a medium bowl. Brush the top and sides of the bagel with the egg wash and dip the brushed tops and sides in the seasoning. Place each bagel, topping side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, turning the pan around halfway through baking. Remove the bagels from oven and cool in the pan 15 minutes, then place each bagel on a wire rack to cool completely.

Serving the bagels:

Split the bagel in half horizontally. Lightly toast and butter each half, or make a spread of cream cheese and scallion. Yum.

Sally’s Pizza

I’ve been looking for a good pizza dough that’s easy to make. This is due to my fear of yeast. But I’m getting over my fear;  it hasn’t been easy, especially when the dough is too sticky then I panic. How much more flour can I add without making the thing taste like cardboard?! My latest fail: I tried a famous no-knead pizza dough (it shall be nameless) that promised to be easy but it came out tasting like cardboard. So trash that. This recipe seemed less risky; it uses less flour and only made two pies, so if I failed it wouldn’t be such a terrible waste. They turned out great. Andy pronounced this recipe a keeper, and I liked how the pizza went from prep to table in an hour.

The first pizza is an attempt to use Thai ingredients. I had some kor moo yang –boneless roast pork neck with a thin ring of fat around the edges–combined with a basic margherita style pizza. The second pizza is a riff on Sally’s garlic pesto and sausage pizza. I used homemade basil pesto with homemade Italian “sausage.” I just ground up some pork loin and added spices to it to make sausage.

Sally’s Pizza Crust (adapted from a flatbread recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Makes 2 10-inch pizzas
Prep time: 1 hour
Baking time: 10-15 minutes

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (can used active dry yeast)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm water (100˚F)
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon for brushing the dough
1 teaspoon salt

Place sugar and yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Pour warm water on top. Whisk gently to combine. Loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. The surface of the mixture will become frothy.

Fit the dough hook on the stand mixer and on Speed 1, add the flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt to the yeast mixture. Beat on low speed (Speed 1)  for 1 minute or until the dough is thick and shaggy. Transfer the dough and any bits of loose flour to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 2 minutes until it all comes together and is smooth. You may add 1-3 tablespoons of flour, one tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too sticky to handle. Make a smooth ball.

Oil the bottom and sides of a large bowl (to save washing up I used the same mixing bowl). Put the dough ball in the bowl, turning to coat the whole thing. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and drape a towel over the top. Let sit 35-45 minutes at room temperature to rest. It should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 475˚F/225˚C (my oven’s highest setting)

As the dough is rising, prepare the toppings. Here are some suggestions:

Kor Moo Yang (Thai roast pork)
1 cup kor moo yang, thinly sliced in slivers
1/4 of a medium onion, thinly sliced,
1 large fresh tomato seeded, sliced, lightly salted and drained
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese.

Sausage and Pesto
1/3 cup homemade basil pesto,
1/3 cup homemade Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked, and drained of any oil/moisture
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil for garnish

Margherita
1 large tomato, seeded, sliced, lightly salted, and drained
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil for garnish

Spinach and Bacon
1 cup chopped spinach, lightly cooked so that it is wilted, then drain any extra water
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
6-8 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained, and crumbled
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Poke the dough ball to release any air. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. With a bench scraper, divide the dough in two. Working with one half at a time, shape it and stretch it into a circle or a square—it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should look rustic. (Mine looked like Australia.) Repeat with the second piece of dough. Put each pie on a baking tray lined with parchment.

Lightly prick the tops of the pie dough with a fork. Brush the tops with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil then add the toppings. I like to start with a layer of cheese, slightly more than ½ cup, then add the other toppings and finish with a sprinkle of cheese on top. Except for the pesto, that should go down first; spread it around with the back of a spoon. Top with cheese and sausage then more cheese.

Bake in the oven on the top rack 10-15 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through the cooking time. Watch to see that the crust doesn’t burn. Remove from oven. Garnish with basil chiffonade if desired.