Monday, January 4, 2010

Cranberry Pecan Bagels


I am still 100% in love with whole wheat bagels, and this time around I wanted to try a new flavor combination. With numerous bags of cranberries tucked away in my freezer, this was a good way to use some of them! I found that the perfect compliment to the cranberry pecan flavor was to top them with a cinnamon honey cream cheese - delicious!

Cranberry Pecan Bagels
Source: Slightly adapted from Whole Grain Breads, by Peter Reinhart

Day 1: Make the soaker and biga
1 3/4 cups (227 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (142 grams) water
2 tablespoons (35.5 grams) barley malt syrup, dark or light (for most authentic flavor), or honey

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl for about one minute, until all of the flour is hydrated and the ingredients form a ball of dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temp for 12 to 24 hours. (If you need more time, place in refrigerator for up to 3 days, but leave at room temp 2 hours before continuing with bread).

1 3/4 cups (227 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) instant yeast
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (142 grams) filtered or spring water, at room temperature (about 70 degrees F)

Mix all the biga ingredients together in a bowl to form a ball of dough. With wet hands, knead dough in the bowl for 2 minutes to be sure all ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is fully hydrated. The dough should be tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead again with wet hands for one minute. The dough will be smoother but still tacky. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Remove from the fridge two hours before making the dough.

Day 2: Make the final dough, and bake
Final Dough:
All of the Soaker
All of the biga
5/8 teaspoon (5 grams) salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (7 grams) instant yeast
2 tablespoons (28.5 grams) water, at room temperature (about 70 degrees F)
7 tablespoons (56.5 grams) whole wheat flour
3/4 cup chopped fresh (or frozen) cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Chop the soaker and biga into 12 smaller pieces (sprinkle flour over pieces to prevent sticking).

2. By hand: Dissolve yeast in water in mixing bowl, then add biga, soaker, and salt and stir vigorously with a mixing spoon or knead with wet hands for about 3-4 minutes, until all ingredients are evenly integrated. Add the flour and knead for 2 more minutes, the dough should be firm but not sticky. If not, add more flour or water as needed.

By stand mixer: Dissolve yeast in water in mixing bowl, then add biga, soaker, and salt and mix on low speed for one minute with hook. Add flour, cranberries, and pecans and mix on medium-low speed for 3-4 minutes until dough becomes cohesive and assimilated into each other. Add more flour or water as needed until the dough is firm and not sticky. This is a stiff dough, so turn the mixer off if necessary to avoid stressing the motor.

3. Dust a work surface with flour, the roll the dough in flour to coat. Knead by hand for 3 to 4 minutes, incorporating only as much flour as needed to form a stiff dough that is supple enough to shape. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest on the work surface for 5 minutes while you prepare a clean, lightly oiled bowl.

4. Resume kneading for 1 minutes to strengthen the gluten and make any final water/flour adjustments. Dough should have the strength to pass the windowpane test, yet feel supple and satiny. Form dough into a ball and place in prepared bowl, rolling to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for approximately 45 to 60 minutes, until it is about 1.5 times its original size. Meanwhile, prepare a baking sheet with parchment or silicon mat dusted with whole wheat flour or cornmeal.

5. Transfer to lightly floured work surface and divide into 6 or 7 four ounce pieces (I managed to get 8). Roll each piece into an 8 inch rope, shape a circle around your hand. Sela tight at the point where the ends overlap by squeezing or pressing it into the counter. There should be a 2-inch diameter hole in the center. Place on prepared pan, cover loosely with a towel, leave at room temperature.

6. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment (dusted with cooking spray) or silicon mat. Bring 4 inches of water to a boil in a wide pot, add the baking soda to the boiling water. Lower the head to maintain a steady simmer.

7. The bagels should be read to boil within 20-30 minutes of shaping . Drop one in the boiling water, if it doesn't float within 30 seconds, boil it until it floats and then remove it, but wait 5 minutes before testing another. When they pass the test, boil 2-4 bagels at a time, gently turning them after 30 seconds so they boil for a total of one minute. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to remove them from the water and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Apply toppings, using an egg wash to help them stick, if necessary.

8. Place the baking sheet in the oven and reduce to 450 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes more until bagels are nicely browned on top and bottom. Remove and cool on cooling rack for 20 minutes before serving.


  1. oh my gosh, yum yum yum! And the cinnamon honey cream cheese sounds amazing.

  2. Oh wow...amazing! My favorite part was the cinnamon honey cream cheese too. You'll have to share that sometime :-P

  3. Wow, these sound amazing! I need to get my butt in the kitchen and make some bagels one of these days.