Homemade bagels — a ball of fun

Am I the only person in the world who didn’t know that the key to making bagels is boiling them before baking them? Well I didn’t know that until I made them myself. I felt like getting crazy with my bread machine this weekend and decided to stick it to the man and make my own bagels. I mean, how hard could it be? It was pretty easy thanks to the good ol’ Sunbeam, but it did involve a few steps. First you have to make the dough, then you have to roll out the bagels and try to form them into bagel-like shapes (make a ball then poke your fingers in the middle). Next you boil them. After that, you can get creative with different toppings. Then you bake and enjoy!

I used the recipe in the Vegan Brunch cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and bread machine-ized it (liquid in first) and it turned out just fine. I topped mine with a mixture of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, and a twist of salt. They might not look as pretty as your factory-made bagels, but they have a heck of a lot more personality. And that counts for something right?

Friday night vegan calzones (or I <3 my bread machine)

Have I mentioned how much I love my bread machine? This is one small appliance that gets a lot of use in my kitchen. From cinnamon rolls to pizza dough to bagels to bread, its usefulness is endless.

I love kitchen tools, though my pragmatic side who doesn’t want to spend money or waste things can be very discerning. If I’m not certain I’ll use it I won’t buy it. My loving mother once bought me a crockpot for Christmas and as much as I liked the idea, I knew I wouldn’t use it. It went back to the store. I also was once gifted with an asparagus steamer, an artichoke steamer, and a much coveted pestle and mortar, all of which were donated on my last move. I realized I’m more of a throw it in the pot and I’m sure it’ll come out okay kind of cook. And as for that pestle and mortar, how I longed for it yet could never come up with an actual use for it. Hopefully its new owner has used it for more than just a shelf decoration.

The bread machine gets a lot of action at our house though. Tonight I used it to make dough for calzones. We spread some organic tomato sauce on the dough and filled it with broccoli, mushrooms, onions, garlic, Daiya vegan cheese, and Tofurky Italian Sausage for a very filling and delicious treat. Once again, the bread machine did not disappoint. What’s your favorite kitchen appliance and which of yours collect dust?

For goodness bake

Nothing says the holidays like homemade baked goods. On cold, lazy days, there’s no better way to warm up the kitchen than by baking sweets you can share with friends and loved ones.

Cinnamon rolls seem complicated at first glance, as do most things involving yeast. There’s the rising and the kneading and the rising. That’s where a bread machine comes in handy. Bread machines are far more versatile than making just bread. I’m a big fan of the dough cycle. It’s helped me make rolls, breadsticks, bagels, focaccia, pizza and calzone dough galore, and on this fine morning, cinnamon rolls. I based my recipe on the one from The Joy of Vegan Baking and made a few substitutions and omissions.

Ingredients

Dough

4-1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
6 tablespoons water
1 cup soy milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup granulated raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 packet active dry yeast

Filling

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Earth Balance, softened
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Icing

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons soy milk

Instructions:

In a small bowl, combine egg replacer with water and stir vigorously until well blended. Add that and all the other dough ingredients in the listed order (liquids first) to the bread machine pan and prepare using the dough cycle.

After the dough cycle has completed, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make the filling. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12”x10” rectangle, about 1/4” thick. Then spread the filling on one side of the dough. Roll the dough lengthwise into a log, then cut into 1” pieces.  You should get 10-12 pieces.

Place into a lightly greased pan and bake on 375 for 25-30 minutes until browned. Allow to cool.

In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients. Once the rolls have cooled for about 15 minutes, pour the icing over the rolls. They’re best when still warm.

What’s your favorite thing to bake for the holidays?