Saturday, 17 September 2011

Spinach & nutmeg bagels


5 cups wholemeal bread flour, 1 egg, 
1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp yeast, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp salt, 100g spinach, 3 cups warm water.
Serves: 8 Preparation: 1 hour and a half.

I love bagels - they're so versatile and can be topped with virtually anything, savoury or sweet. Sometimes however I like to make more of the bagel than the filling and that's what inspired these wholemeal, spinach bagels. They're gorgeously crunchy when toasted and have a lovely flavour.

1) In one bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and warm water and set aside to stand for 5 minutes.

2) In a second bowl sift the flour, salt and chopped spinach leaves together and add to the yeast mixture bit by bit whilst hand mixing (I mix with one hand and pour with the other but you might want to ask someone to help you, or use the dough setting on your blender if you have one) once the mixture begins to form a ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl without sticking you have the right consistency. Adding more flour may be necessary.

3) Once the dough forms a good ball, kneed on a floured surface for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, covered for an hour until it has risen to double its size.

4) Divide the dough into 8 pieces (half, half and half again!) and form balls. Set aside to rise further for 30 minutes.

5) Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch a hole through the dough and stretch until you leave a sort of gaping hole at least double the size of the usual bagel hole. Set them aside to rest for 10 minutes whilst you bring a pan of water to the boil.

6) Using a large slotted spoon or a fish slice drop the bagels one at a time into the water. They should sink to the bottom but then quickly begin to float like dumplings. The rule of thumb is that as soon as they float, they're ready but some recipes suggest leaving them to float for 2,3 sometimes 4 minutes!

7) Remove them from the water with the spoon and set them aside to cool a little and drain. Grate half a nutmeg and whisk into one egg. Using a pastry brush, glaze the bagel and bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven.

Once the bagels are ready allow to cool then slice and toast! Traditionally served with butter or cream cheese but personally I'm a sucker for hummus on spinach bagels!

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