Friday, March 15, 2019


Bagels are a breakfast essential for so many, sometimes with savoury, other times with sweet spreads, and every now and then even on their own. Growing up, that was my preferred way of having bagels – just plain, freshly baked bagels, with a cup of tea.
While this isn’t a traditional bagel recipe, they are just as delicious, chewy, and soft on the inside as any other available in shops and boulangeries. And they have a sassy little chocolate swirl, just to be extra special.
The soft and supple dough guarantees a texture that almost resembles enriched pastries, especially generously flavoured by vanilla and rum. And if you are like me, and you like your bagels toasted, you will be happy to know that these toast marvellously, and are perfect with a touch of butter and a generous drizzle of wildflower honey.

For the bagels
400 grams soft flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
50 grams light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
200 ml water
120 ml vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoon rum
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
For brushing
2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons baking soda

Sift the flour twice, then take a large bowl, and add in the flour. Tip in the yeast, sugar, and salt, and mix really well. In a separate medium bowl, mix together 100 ml of vegetable oil, water, rum, and vanilla. Blend it well, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour it in. Mix with a wooden spoon until a soft ball of dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and divide it into two parts – one larger and one smaller. Make a paste by mixing together the unsweetened cocoa powder and the reserved vegetable oil, and knead it into the smaller portion of the dough. Knead the larger portion, too, for about 5 minutes or so, until the dough is soft, smooth, and elastic. Depending on your flour, you might need to add another tablespoon or two, to prevent the dough sticking to your hands.
Place both of the dough pieces into large, greased bowls, cover them with a clean kitchen towel, and let them rest and rise, in a warm spot, for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, press to deflate in the bowl, then transfer both pieces to a floured surface, and divide each piece into 8 equal pieces, either by weight or approximately.
Take each of the dough pieces and shape them into ropes, and then wrap together a strand of plain dough and a strand of chocolate dough. Put the ends together and roll it on the work surface to close the seam and form a bagel shape, then repeat the procedure with the rest of the dough. Arrange them on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment, and let them rest and rise for another 30 minutes. Right before baking, brush them with the baking soda solution, and immediately bake them in a preheated oven, at 200°C (400°F), for about 15 minutes. Yields 8 small bagels.