Bagels are one of those breads that are often--but not always--dairy-free, but, like so many things, making them at home is so fun and tasty, and they freeze and keep well for rushed mornings.
Makes 10 to 12 bagels
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 .25-ounce packets dry active yeast
- 3 T. plus 2 t. white granulated sugar (I prefer unrefined cane sugar)
- 5- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
- 2 t. salt
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh or dried (I prefer fresh tiny varieties)
- Cornmeal, for pans
- 10-12 cups water
1. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine the warm water, yeast and the 3 T. sugar, stirring gently until dissolved. Allow the mixture to stand for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (If no bubbles surface, this means that most likely your yeast is no longer "active"; discard your mixture and use fresh yeast.) Add in 4 1/2 cups of the flour and salt gradually until the mixture comes together into a soft dough. Fold in the blueberries gently. Add the remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is stiff but not dry. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is elastic and no longer sticks to your hands, adding flour as needed, about 7-10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat, cover with a clean dish cloth and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. LIghtly oil a large baking sheet.
3. Punch down the dough and divide it into 10 to 12 pieces, depending on how large you want your bagels. Shape each piece into a ball and then, using your fingers, make a hole in the center, gently stretching the dough until the hole is the size of a large coin. Place the bagels on the prepared sheet as you work, then cover with the clean dish towel and let rise for an additional 25 minutes.
4. Lightly oil another large baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with the cornmeal. Bring the 10-12 cups of water to a boil in a large pot with the remaining 2 t. sugar. Working in batches (about 3-4 at a time), gently submerge the bagels into the boiling water and boil until they rise to the top, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the bagels to the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all of the bagels have been boiled. Bake for 35 minutes, flipping after the first 5, until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.