09 May 2013

Obsession

I should probably start growing, harvesting, and milling my own wheat. It's probably safe to assume that the amount of whole wheat flour I go through to satisfy that urge to bake--bread, namely, but also a plethora of sweets--is substantial for the average kitchen lurker.

So I've been keeping at it: firing up the oven, dusting my hands (and everything in a three-foot radius of them)  with flour, and turning out the usual range of yeast-risen goodies. Having managed to keep the sourdough starter alive, I generally opt to put the "discard" to use whenever I do actually refresh the starter. But for the sake of doing something a little different, I used active dry yeast in my most recent batch of bread: whole wheat bagels.
These beauties were made from 100% whole wheat flour--something I really look for in anything that claims to be "whole wheat" or "whole grain"--and boasted wonderful flavor and texture, thanks to the use of a biga and soaker. Although something made entirely with whole wheat flour will never quite have that same, comforting flavor and softness of bread made with refined flour, these bagels do have that hearty, wheaty bite I love in a whole grain bread, while still retaining that must-have, characteristic bagel chewiness.
Note: I adapted the recipe to vegan by using agave nectar instead of honey. I also boiled the dough rings in water with a touch of barley malt syrup, rather than baking soda, because using the latter is more of a pretzel thing (not that I don't love pretzels, of course). The use of white whole wheat flour made these bagels lighter in color and subsequently, deceptively reminiscent of a regular bagel. The photos show the results of a double-batch. Sure, they could look a little better, but they tasted just fine.