Episode 2 of The Great British Bake Off was all about bread! Most bakers are more familiar with cakes (myself included), so bread week always sorts the best from the rest. The contestants made flatbreads, an 8 plaited loaf, and bagels. I was particularly impressed with Brendan’s attempt (picture below) - seriously they look perfect! Although Paul Hollywood was not too keen on the bagels ‘twists’ Brendan made, I thought they were really creative and he is becoming a strong player in the series. He definitely stuck in my mind especially when he cooked his flatbreads over hot rocks, I love a baker that takes risks and just goes for it!
I didn’t even know it was possible to plait with 8 strands, but apparently it is! Well, for some of us… The technical challenge was a plaited loaf (picture below) and hilarity ensued as the bakers attempted to get the plait right. It looked like an absolute nightmare if you ask me, and once baked you can’t really differentiate between the 8 strands so I’m a little unsure on the need for 8 strands. Or maybe that’s my lack of bread knowledge showing through?
As I have decided to make something each week that is made on the show, this week I picked bagels. I decided to copy the bakers and do one sweet flavour and one savoury flavour. I got creative and decided to invent a savoury flavour that I don’t think has ever been tried before (well, according to Google) - ‘hummus’ bagels. This idea came from me having a can of chickpeas in the cupboard for a few months now and also I was thinking about how nice a toasted bagel would be dipped in hummus. So I though… why not put the hummus in the bagel dough?! Crazy, no? I did a little research and found some breads that are made with chickpea flour, but none with chickpeas actually in the bread. This only encouraged me to try it out!
For my sweet flavour I went for lemon and blueberry as it is a classic mix and a favourite of mine that I often make cupcakes with.
I started with 600g strong white bread flour, added 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, a sachet of easy dried yeast, 1 tbsp of sunflower oil, and finally 300ml warm water.
Mix it all together and you get a big lump of dough. I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes; it looked quite lumpy at first, but eventually softened up.
I split the dough in half, popped it into an oiled bowl, covered with cling film, and wondered off to do some other things (like make homemade hummus) for an hour or so.
Making the homemade hummus was pretty simple. I mashed up the chick peas.
I added 1 heaped tsp garlic, the juice of half a lemon, some salt, pepper and paprika to taste. You can make the hummus however you want as it really is just a taste issue. You could add other herbs, or some chilli.
Once risen, the dough was all puffy and rather bloated. I pushed it back to its original size, cut it into 4 pieces, and began shaping it into rings. Now I didn’t take many photos at this stage because shaping it into rings, whilst simultaneously adding the flavours was extremely difficult!! So I was rather distracted. My first mistake was definitely that I didn’t add the flavour earlier on. I mixed lemon zest into the dough, and tried to do the same with blueberries, but as the blueberries squished and popped it made for a very soggy bagel. I changed my method to shaping the dough first, then pushing the blueberries into it. Suffice to say, this was not without difficulty and frustration, but I was determined. I would advise using dried blueberries if you try this.
Mixing the hummus into the dough was a lot easier. But I still had problems getting the dough to form a ring. I used the sausage method where you roll the dough into a sausage then wrap it round your hand and attach the ends. Those ends just did not want to join together!
Finally I had 4 shaped bagels. Some looked prettier than others…
And my hands smelt really strongly of garlic. Thankfully I had some lemons to rub over them! I put the dough rings on a baking tray lined with greaseproof baking paper, covered with cling film and a tea towel, and left them for an hour, whilst I cleaned up my mess. I also mixed more lemon juice together with sugar as a glaze for the lemon and blueberry bagels once they were baked.
I came back to some rather larger dough rings.
Each one got boiled for one minute on either side, and then placed back on the baking tray. Boiling was painful for me as I burnt my stomach (through my t-shirt, just to note, I wasn’t cooking in the nude). Baking is not without risk! I need to get myself an apron, anyway... I egg washed all the bagels before baking at 200° (220° if you don’t have a fan oven, or Gas 7 if you don’t have an electric oven).
The recipe said 20-25 minutes but my bagels were done before this time. I’d say 15-20 minutes. But keep an eye on them. My sweet bagels were a tad over cooked. These two lemon and blueberry bagels snuggled up a bit too close in the oven. I drizzled the lemon and sugar glaze over them while they were hot. The hummus bagels came out a lovely golden brown colour.
And here are the final results (with a little impromptu food styling by my housemate)!
Please comment below and let me know what you think!
We dug in while they were warm, and the hummus bagels were delicious with butter, they tasted similar to garlic bread and had a perfect chewy texture. It was a bit late at night to appreciate the lemon and blueberry but I had one with jam in the morning!