Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Chewy Bagels

Homemade Chewy Bagels (gluten-free, dairy/casein-free, corn-free, soy-free, nut-free with an egg-free suggestion)

1 Tbs. Active Dried Yeast (I used Red Star Yeast which is gluten-free)

1 Tbs. Sugar (or use 1 Tbs. Agave Nectar)

1 3/4 cup Warm Water (110° - 115° F. is the optimal temperature to activate the yeast, according to the Red Star website.  Although, I have also read that 100° - 110° F. is the optimal range, so I guess anywhere from 100° - 115° F. is the area to shoot for. ;-)  If the water is too hot, you will kill the yeast.  I like to use a thermometer to make sure the water is "in the proper zone").

4 cups Bread Flour (for this recipe I just used Better Batter Gluten Free Flour.  I am trying to figure out a good gluten-free substitute for bread flour to see if that changes the outcome of the final product, I will keep you posted).

1 Tbs. Sea Salt

1 Egg for Egg Wash (For Egg-Free: just brush tops with your favorite dairy-free milk)

  • First, you want to "proof" your yeast.  I ALWAYS proof my yeast (to make sure the yeast is "active") in my gluten-free baked goods, because not only do I want to save time and frustration from a potential flop, but gluten-free ingredients are too expensive to risk throwing it all away because of something as inexpensive as yeast!  So:
  • In a bowl, add the yeast, sugar and warm water (100° - 115° F).  Stir to incorporate the ingredients, then set the yeast aside to do it's work, about 10 minutes. (Click here for more information on the different types of yeast and the best way to use them for optimal results.  If you are interested, see below for a video I found on YouTube on "How to proof yeast").
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer) add the flour and salt.
  • Once the yeast has "proofed," add it to the flour/salt mixture.
  • Mix dough thoroughly until it comes together in a large ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl.  Add an additional tablespoon of flour or water, if needed.  If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until very smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  If using a stand mixer, knead dough with the dough hook until elastic, about 8 minutes on a low speed (this is what I did).  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.  (Make sure you put the dough in a warm place. click here for some rising tips from baking911.com, I reference this website all the time, because I have zero formal training in baking! :-D  I highly recommend bookmarking it for future use).
  • Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil (I used a roasting pan over two burners), and preheat the oven to 400° F.
  • When dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces (first quarters, then thirds).  Shape each piece into a tight ball as illustrated below (click here to see Nicole's illustrations), pinching the corners together at the bottom of the piece of dough (I didn't really do this step as written, I just rolled out a ball).  When all the balls are shaped, let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with a clean dish towel.
  • Once dough balls have rested, the bagel shape can be formed.  Using your fingers, poke a hole through the center of each dough ball (I cheated and used my apple corer to make the hole).  Stretch out the dough into a ring with your fingers and be sure to make the hole a little larger than you want the finished bagel to have, as it will shrink slightly while the bagel is expanding during the baking process.  Let bagels rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Working four at a time (I put all of mine in at the same time since I was using a pan with a large surface area), drop the bagels carefully into the boiling water.  Boil for 2 minutes on the first side, then flip and boil for an additional minute (I used chop sticks for this).  Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer bagels to a clean towel to drain for a moment, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat process with remaining bagels.
  • Brush boiled bagels with lightly beaten egg (or brush tops with dairy-free milk) and bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack.
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