My mother being from New Jersey, I know a good bagel, even by the toughest standards. Southerner though I am, I can appreciate a really good bagel. Crispy on the outside but almost doughy on the inside, I melt with the rest of them at bagel perfection. My favorite variety of bagel is the jalapeño bagel.
Jalapeño bagels are rarely too spicy, as a lot of dishes containing jalapeños can be. The heft and weight of the bread levels out the spicy, and the effect is doubled if you enjoy your bagel with cream cheese. I myself either like my bagels in the form of a breakfast sandwich, or with a little strawberry jam. I am, you see, perpetually a sweet and spicy girl.
I found this recipe in a children’s book titled Jalapeño Bagels, by Natasha Wing. It’s a sweet book about a boy whose mother is hispanic and father is Jewish. His parents own a panaderia (bakery), and the food that they make that best represents them as a family is a jalapeño bagel because it melds both cultures. I really appreciate it when children’s books add something extra that you can use to make reading the book a holistic experience. The book ends with a recipe for jalapeño bagels so after reading it to your child you could make them together.
The recipe is pretty straightforward and fairly simple to make. I had a few hangups along the way, for instance I ended up with only eleven bagels that completely varied in size. Another recipe we found suggests making a ball and then poking a hole through the middle and working outward. I think tomorrow when we make blueberry bagels I’m going to try that because my big complaint with these was that the circles were too big and the sides weren’t thick enough. For the most part though, this recipe was straightforward, easy, and a lot of fun. I don’t think you get bagels fresher than this!
Source: Jalapeño Bagels by Natasha Wing
1 3/4 cups luke warm water
1/2 tsp dry yeast
2 tsps salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
6 cups flour
1/3 cup jalapeños, chopped
1/4 cup dried red peppers
Mix water, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add flour and jalapenos and mix into a ball. Knead for ten to twelve minutes, adding more flour if you need to. Add red peppers and knead for three additional minutes. Let the dough rest for ten minutes, then cut into twelve pieces with a knife.
Roll each piece of dough on a table to form a long cigarlike shape. Then, for each of the twelve pieces, connect the two ends by overlapping them about 3/4 of an inch and rolling the ends together to make a ring shape. Make sure it’s secure or it will come apart while you’re boiling it. If you’re having a hard time keeping the bagel together in a ring, wet the ends and press them together, kind of like you did making clay pots in elementary school.
Cover the dough with a damp towel (paper or cloth) and let it rise for an hour and a half in a warm spot. In a large pot, bring two gallons of water to a boil. Drop the bagels in the water and boil until they float (about thirty seconds). Remove and place them on a slightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 for fifteen minutes or until golden brown.