My husband had the good fortune to be near a wonderful bagel shop in college. His favorite bagel was their tomato basil bagel. Sadly, after he moved back to California, he has not been able to ever find this flavor again. When I asked him about his favorite bagel flavor, he told me that he would love me to try to make a tomato basil flavored bagel. A bit chewy, a good crust, not too bready, and obviously, that tomato basil flavor. He was able to tell me three things about it: 1) there was no tomato pieces in the bagel, 2) there were basil flecks in it, 3) they were kind of a light pink inside. With this information I started brainstorming. Decided I was going to use my favorite King Arthur Flour bagel recipe as a base, since I already knew their recipe produced a texture and outer crust that I was looking for. I opted for the tomato paste mixed into the water to evenly distribute the tomato flavor without using something like sun dried tomatoes (though I am sure that would be tasty!). Lastly, good ol' dried basil.
The resulting bagel: Lovely crust, good chew, perfect balance of tomato and basil flavors, and best of all, it got a thumbs up from my husband! He said it is as close as he has ever had to those, based on what he remebers them tasting like. Woo-hoo!
One note though. I thought I would be all smart and bake these on my pizza stone since that always produces the good crust I look for in my bread and rolls. Don't do it. The sugar from the boiling must caramelize onto the baking stone. They were a nightmare to get off. Be smart, stick with how KAF wrote it, they know what they are doing :) I am using their directions pretty much unchanged, because it is well written, and works.
Tomato Basil Bagels
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour's Bagels Recipe)
Yield: 8 bagels
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 4 cups (17 ounces) Unbleached Bread Flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon malted milk powder (like Carnation's), (if not available, use brown sugar or barley malt syrup)
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) water, lukewarm
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
- 3/4 teaspoon diastatic malt powder (optional, not the same as malted milk powder)
- 2 quarts (64 ounces) water
- 2 tablespoons malted milk powder, brown sugar or barley malt syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Manual/Mixer Method: To make this dough by hand or in a mixer, combine the water and tomato paste and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the water. Mix all of the remaining dough ingredients into the water mixture and knead vigorously, by hand for 10 to 15 minutes, or by machine on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes. The dough will be quite stiff; if you're using an electric mixer it will "thwap" the sides of the bowl, and hold its shape (without spreading at all) when you stop the mixer. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and set it aside to rise till noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients in the pan of the machine, program the machine for Dough or Manual, and press Start. Check the dough after 10 minutes; it should be quite stiff, and won't have formed a smooth ball. The dough will feel quite firm when you poke your finger into it. Allow the machine to complete its cycle, then complete bagels as instructed below.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes. They'll puff up very slightly.
- While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water, malt, baking soda, and sugar to a very gentle boil in a large, wide-diameter pan. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole till it's about 2 inches in diameter (the entire bagel will be about 4 inches across). Place each bagel on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
- Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're as deep brown as you like, turning them over about 15 minutes into the baking time (this will help them remain tall and round). Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a wire rack.