Baking Classics: Buttermilk Bagels

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The Technique

Buttermilk Bagels

Allowing ample time for the dough to rise then rest in the refrigerator truly provides the signature, tangy flavor to Buttermilk Bagels. Bagels only take time to produce those of excellent quality as no special skills or equipment are necessary so do not shy away from the recipe simply because it takes two cooking steps. Boiling the shaped dough first in a solution with baking soda lends a chewy texture while providing beautiful color during the baking process. Vital wheat gluten, adds additional strength & structure to the bagels & may be found from fine cook stores. Be certain to learn more about this resourceful ingredient used to bake a number of bread formulas. Learn how to make a crowd-pleasing breakfast bread in your own kitchen.

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makes 8 servings

Vital wheat gluten may be added to bread formulas to provide additional strength, dough structure & elasticity. Although it aides in delivering a wonderful texture to the bagels, if you have trouble locating the ingredient, it may be omitted.

1 cup warm water {105-110} degrees
1 {1/4-oz} package active dry yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup room temperature whole buttermilk
2 Tbsp softened butter
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg white
Toppings: Poppy seeds, sesame seeds or rye seeds
Cream cheese

Stir together the water, the yeast & 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Whisk together the remaining sugar, the flour, the vital wheat gluten & the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the buttermilk, the butter & the yeast mixture. Mix on Low speed 1 minute with a dough hook. The dough will come together in a ball around the hook. It will appear sticky. Increase the speed to Medium. Blend 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball & place in a lightly greased bowl. Spray the dough surface with cooking spray & cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a draft-free spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down & shape it into a ball. Place it back in the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill 8 to 24 hours.

 Position one rack on the lowest space in the oven. Place a 13 x 9-inch baking pan filled 2/3 full with water on the rack. Position a second rack directly above it. Place two inverted cast iron skillets directly on the rack. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Bring 3 quarts water, the brown sugar & the baking soda to a boil over Medium-High heat. Meanwhile, divide the dough in half. Place one portion back in the bowl, cover & chill. Divide the remaining portion of dough into 4 pieces that weigh approximately 5 1/2-ounces. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, create a taut ball by tucking the uneven pieces together, pinching them in the center. Turn the dough ball over & place on a lightly floured surface. Press your thumb through the center creating a hole, then widen it to about 2-inches by twirling it between the forefinger of each hand. The dough should appear more like an oversized ring. Place it on a lightly floured half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining three pieces of dough. Drop the dough rings into the boiling water & cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Just before removing them from the water, turn them once more. Lift the dough out using a spider & place them 1 1/2-inches apart on lightly greased parchment paper over a half sheet pan. Whisk together the egg white with a bit of water, then pour it through a fine wire mesh sieve. Brush the egg white over the surface of each piece of dough. If topping the bagels with seeds, swipe the surface one more time with the egg wash then sprinkle with the desired ingredient. 

Place the half sheet pan in the oven directly over the inverted cast iron skillets. Add 1/2 cup ice to the pan of water. Quickly close the oven door. Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake 25 minutes. Turn off the oven & leave the pan inside an additional 5 minutes. While the first batch of bagels bake, repeat the procedure with the remaining chilled dough. When the first batch of bagels has been removed from the oven, increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees & bake the second batch as directed. Cool the bagels 30 minutes. Slice & serve with cream cheese.

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{testing notes}

How To Make Buttermilk Bagels

There are many aspects of the procedure that aide in providing all of the signature traits of a quality bagel. Aside from the cooking & baking procedure, cloaking & shaping the bagels are crucial. These are not difficult techniques but necessary in order to deliver a breakfast bread with the desired expectation. Cloaking is creating the point on the bottom of the dough. Punching through the center & stretching it shapes the hole. 

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rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickThe Technique

A few pieces of equipment will be needed in order to complete the task. Read through the recipe instructions before beginning. Here’s what you should know.

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The Mixing

Stir together the water, the yeast & 1 teaspoon sugar. Let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Whisk together the remaining sugar, the flour, the vital wheat gluten & the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the buttermilk, the butter & the yeast mixture. Mix on Low speed 1 minute with a dough hook. The dough will come together in a ball around the hook. It will appear sticky.

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Increase the speed to Medium. Blend 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl sides with a rubber spatula.

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The Work Bowl Removal

Allow the dough to tumble from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface.

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Press the dough flat into a disc using your fingers.

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Gather the edges to the center & use the palm of your hand to secure it.

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Flip the dough over & shape the dough into a ball.

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The First Rise

Place in a lightly greased bowl. Spray the dough surface with cooking spray & cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

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Let rise in a draft-free spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. 

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3b

Punch the dough down.

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Gather the dough edges towards the center of the mass.

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Flip the dough over. Shape it into a ball. Place it back in the greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill 8 to 24 hours. 

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The Preparations For Shaping

The dough will be cold & feel heavy once it has been removed from the refrigerator. 

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Press the dough with your fingers & allow the air to escape.

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Remove the dough from the bowl & place it on a lightly floured surface. 

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Divide the dough in half. Place one portion back in the bowl, cover & chill.

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The Shaping

Form the dough into an evenly sized shape & thickness.

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Divide the remaining portion of dough into 4 pieces that weigh approximately 5 1/2-ounces.

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5b

Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, create a taut ball by tucking the uneven pieces together, pinching them in the center. This is referred to as cloaking.

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Turn the dough ball over & place on a lightly floured surface.

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Press your thumb through the center creating a hole, then widen it to about 2-inches by twirling it between the forefinger of each hand. The dough should appear more like an oversized ring. Place it on a lightly floured half sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining three pieces of dough.

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The Boiling

Bring 3 quarts water, the brown sugar & the baking soda to a boil over Medium-High heat. Drop the dough rings into the boiling water & cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Just before removing them from the water, turn them once more. Lift the dough out using a spider.

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Place them 1 1/2-inches apart on lightly greased parchment paper over a half sheet pan. Whisk together the egg white with a bit of water, then pour it through a fine wire mesh sieve. Brush the egg white over the surface of each piece of dough. If topping the bagels with seeds, swipe the surface one more time with the egg wash then sprinkle with the desired ingredient. 

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The Baking

Position one rack on the lowest space in the oven. Place a 13 x 9-inch baking pan filled 2/3 full with water on the rack. Position a second rack directly above it. Place two inverted cast iron skillets directly on the rack. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place the half sheet pan in the oven directly over the inverted cast iron skillets. Add 1/2 cup ice to the pan of water. Quickly close the oven door. Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees. 

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 The Buttermilk Bagels

 Bake 25 minutes. Turn off the oven & leave the pan inside an additional 5 minutes. While the first batch of bagels bake, repeat the procedure with the remaining chilled dough. When the first batch of bagels has been removed from the oven, increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees & bake the second batch as directed. Cool the bagels 30 minutes. Slice & serve with cream cheese.

The Tune
“Prelude To A Kiss” Billie Holiday

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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Southern College Football Fanatic * SEC Tailgate Strategist * Southern Recipe Writer & Sometimes Novelist * Half-Hour Hostess * Media Personality * Houndstooth Hound Owner * Small Town Dreamer * Big Idea Doer * 3rd Generation Pimiento Cheese Fixer * Casserole Maker * Budweiser Drinker * Bourbon Cocktail Sipper * Peanut Butter Love Affair * Cookie Monster * Calorie Burner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer but doesn't care * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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