Do you want to know what keeps me from going on perpetual meringue benders? It’s not the thought of a rapidly expanding waist line, nor a fear of all my teeth rotting away to nothing. Oh no, none of that could keep me away from those brightly-colored macarons, or angel food cake covered in strawberries and whipped cream. Pavlovas. Baked Alaska. Noooooommm. The thing that holds me back: all those pesky, leftover egg yolks.
See, things like multitasking and planning hurt my head. I envy those of you who will throw together an angel food cake, pop it in the oven, then whip up a batch of lemon curd while it bakes. It’s one thing at a time for me. Otherwise my cake will burn, or I’ll accidentally put salt in the lemon curd instead of sugar—seriously, it’s too much. But then what to do with all those egg yolks? Luckily, I discovered that they can be covered with water and refrigerated in an air-tight container for a couple days. That gives me just enough time to collect myself and prepare for my next kitchen adventure.
In the past, I’ve made pudding or lemon curd out of leftover yolks. But this time was a bit different. This time, the egg whites were going into a Heaven and Hell Cake. And after screwing up two batches of frosting (I was trying to multitask!) and eating more peanut butter mousse than I care to admit, I’d had it with sweet stuff. I considered throwing them out, and just scolding myself for being so wasteful. But then it hit me: Egg Bagels!
For those of you who have not made bagels at home before, do not be intimidated! The only extra step is boiling them prior to baking, and it’s easy as can be. My search for a decent egg bagel recipe brought me to this Brown Eyed Baker post. There are just two things that I did/would do differently in the future: (1) I did not do the second, slow-rise overnight in the fridge. The yolks had been hanging around for a couple days already, and I wanted to hit them with some heat asap. In the future, however, I would follow this step, as the slower fermentation yields a better flavor. (I have not included the steps for doing so below, but you can find them at the BEB’s original post.) (2) I tried putting both sheets in the oven at once, which led to a bit of uneven baking. If you’re doing your baking with an old, semi-crappy apartment stove like I am, I suggest one sheet at a time. Also, I tend to prefer a really crispy bagel, so next time I might try placing a pan of boiling water in the bottom rack of the oven while the bagels bake.
(adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker)
yield: 1 dozen standard-sized bagels
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 4 cups of bread flour
- 2 cups of room-temperature water
- ½ tsp instant yeast
- 3 ¾ cups of bread flour
- 8 egg yolks
- 2 ¾ tsp salt
- 2 tsp malt powder OR 1 tbsp dark or light malt syrup, honey, agave, or brown sugar (I used agave)
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- cornmeal or semolina flour, for dusting
- poppy seeds (optional)
To make the sponge, mix together the yeast and flour in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until everything comes together to form a shaggy dough. Cover and let rest for two hours, or until foamy and doubled in size.
To make the dough, add the remaining yeast to the sponge and stir, then add 3 cups of flour (reserving ¾), the yolks, salt, and sweetener. Stir until things are somewhat evenly distributed, then turn out on a floured surface and knead until a smooth dough forms, gradually incorporating in the remaining ¾ cup of flour. (If it passes the windowpane test, it’s ready.)
Divide dough into twelve 4 ½ oz. pieces. Shape into rolls and cover with a damp tea towel. Let rest for 20 minutes.
(For instructions on completing the second overnight rise, see the original BEB post.)
Prepare two baking sheets lined with oiled parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 500° and begin heating a large pot of water on the stove. Using your thumb, poke a hole in the center of each roll and gently rotate the ball of dough to widen it to about 2 ½ inches, taking care to evenly stretch the dough as do you so.
Once your water reaches a boil, add the baking soda. Gently drop bagels into the water (only do as many as can easily fit—you don’t want to crowd them). Boil for 1 minute on each side, then flip and boil for another minute. (Do 2 minutes on each side for chewier bagels.) While the bagels are in the water, sprinkle a little cornmeal on the parchment paper. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon, and sprinkle immediately with toppings.
Bake for 5 minutes at 500°. Reduce the heat to 450° and rotate the pan 180° (if you are baking both sheets at once, rotate the pans and switch racks). Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the bagels begin to turn golden brown.
Remove them from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes, then serve!