I love them! But the ones you can buy at grocery stores are always disappointing. Soft and fluffy instead of dense and chewy. That’s the real reason why I wanted to make them myself. Lowering the salt content was a side benefit. Although there are several steps, making bagels is a rather simple process. I just dump the ingredients in my Zojirushi and let it do all the hard work. It easily handles the rather dense dough. Then it’s simply a matter of shaping, boiling, and baking. Sounds like a lot of work, but it is worth it. The bagels come out properly chewy and are fabulous toasted. King Arthur Flour has several good recipes. I use the one for water bagels. The recipe calls for malted milk powder. I’m able to find Carnation brand at my local grocery stores. Other recipes call for non-diastatic malt . This is what professional bagel makers use. I bought some and use it sometimes too.
The only real change I have made to the recipe (other than reducing both salt and yeast quantities) is to use only 2 tablespoons of malt in the dough. Depending on my mood, I sometimes substitute 1-2 cups of white whole wheat flour. Because whole wheat flour has a tendency to suck up moisture, I may end up adding a tablespoon or more of water to the dough during the kneading phase.
I really like the recipe for White Sourdough Bread from Beth Hensperger’s “The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook.” I make dough for the two pound loaf and divide into 12 pieces for wonderfully light yet chewy sandwich buns. The buns are sturdy and not squishy soft, so they hold up to drippy toppings and sauces. They’re also not very sweet.
I let my machine knead and rise the dough. Then I weigh the dough ball and divide by 12. Once I get an approximate weight for individual dough pieces, I divide the dough ball up, weigh and adjust each piece, roll the pieces into balls, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and flatten them. Depending on my mood, I may brush the rolls with cream or an egg wash. If I use an egg wash, I might sprinkle sesame or poppy seeds on the top too. They’re baked at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.
These buns really lend themselves to flavor additions. My favorites are dried onion flakes and either dill seed or caraway seed. Another combination I like is chopped fresh rosemary and coarsely ground black pepper.
White Sourdough Buns
1 cup sourdough starter
¾ cup fat-free milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
4 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons salt (I use 1 tsp)
2¼ teaspoons bread machine yeast (I use 1 1/8 tsp)
When I want a softer bun, I use King Arthur Flour’s recipe for Beautiful Burger Buns. These are soft and slightly sweet and enriched by egg. Another good recipe from King Arthur is Soft Sandwich Rolls. These soft rolls are made with potato flour or flakes.
I like having dinner rolls in my freezer. Sometimes a meal seems rather skimpy, but just adding a warm dinner roll makes it special. Their small size makes them perfect for quick snacks too. Not hungry enough for a full sandwich? A dinner roll is the perfect size for a mini sandwich or slider.
I generally follow the same procedure as for sandwich buns. I let my machine knead and rise the dough. Then I weigh the dough ball and divide by 15. Once I get an approximate weight for individual dough pieces, I divide the dough ball up, weigh and adjust each piece, roll the pieces into balls, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Depending on my mood, I may brush the rolls with cream or an egg wash. They’re baked at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. I transfer them to a cooling rack and separate them before freezing.
I mainly make whole wheat rolls, so I usually hold back anywhere from 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup of whole wheat flour and only add more during kneading if the dough seems excessively sticky. Also, because whole wheat flour has a tendency to suck up moisture, I may end up adding a tablespoon or more of water to the dough during the kneading phase.
I discovered this recipe from Hodgson Mills quite a while ago. I was searching for another way to get bran into our diets. I like bran muffins but sometimes get tired of the sweetness. I was looking for something more like a yeast bread. This recipe for High Fiber Bran Bread was written for the bread machine, but I make it into dinner rolls. A couple of these rolls warmed up in the microwave and spread with a bit of butter are a perfect bran-filled breakfast. I always add 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten to the dough.
Here’s another great recipe from King Arthur Flour. These Honey Wheat Rolls are wonderful. The dough is soft and pliable and the resulting rolls are tender and moist. It’s a white flour and whole wheat flour combination. I think it would make great cinnamon roll dough too.
My favorite recipe for pizza dough comes from Beth Hensperger’s book. I’ve been using it since I first tried it. I let my machine do all the work – kneading & rising. For just the two of us, I usually divide the dough in thirds and make pizza three days in a row. A great and easy meal. I pre-heat my oven about thirty minutes at 450-475 degrees with the pizza stone on the lowest rack. I roll the dough out and stretch it over an upside down mixing bowl. I then place it on a parchment lined wooden pizza peel. Once the oven is sufficiently pre-heated, I slip the pizza with the parchment onto the stone and let it bake for about 8 minutes. Then I remove the parchment and let the pizza finish baking directly on the stone. I like this method better than baking in a pizza pan or trying to use cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking to the peel. After an additional 4-6 minutes baking, the crust should be crisp and brown. I remove it with the peel, slice, and serve.
Basic Pizza Dough
1 1/3 cups water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt (cut quantity in half)
2 ½ teaspoons bread machine yeast (cut quantity in half)
So there you have it. Some of my favorite recipes. And now I think it’s time to say farewell to this missive about making low sodium bread. But, I know I’ll always be experimenting and trying new recipes. And I’ll be sure to share them with you. Happy baking!