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Baking Cooking Kitty

Bagel Baking

I feel a touch of the Arthur Ransome coming upon me.  When Nancy Blackett is struck down by mumps, thereby allowing almost all of the events of Winter Holiday to take place because of her absence, Ransome courteously declines to draw the fearless Amazon pirate in her state of quarantine and falls back on little circles containing a worded explanation instead.
I shall follow suit, and so I’m falling back on some pictures from early last week, or as we like to call it ‘PP’ (Pre-Pox).
Tired of serving up pepperoni pizza ‘cake’ to her teddies/mother/baby sister yet again, Kitty decided that we ought to do some real cooking, and as I’m still reeling from the epic failure of my attempt at a baguette (more on which another time), Mr Hollywood’s tome stayed firmly shut and we turned instead to someone whose recipes have always proved delicious, and who, more importantly, has road tested them in the presence/with the assistance of her children; the ever so talented Kat of Housewife Confidential and the instructions for Quick Bagels: Milla Style.
On a side note, if a Mama of many has made something and recommends it, you know it can be cooked with one hand, while simultaneously wiping superfluous milk from the baby’s chin and rescuing the butter from the eager attentions of the toddler, and therefore is worth its weight in gold.


Kat’s recipe for plain or seedy bagels is delicious, and my first ever batch were nice, plain and simple, and disappeared at speed.  But you know I can’t resist playing with a good thing.  Our favourite bagels are cinnamon raisin so I thought we’d try a little tweak.

To whit, the additional ingredients: 

  • 100g of raisins (because that’s all I had in the cupboard), popped into a cereal bowl and covered with boiling water while the yeast and warm water frothed away in the mixing bowl.
  • 2 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon.


I added the cinnamon to the flour as it sat in the scales and Kitty gave it a quick stir around with her fingers to mix it all together.  Then at step 3 of the original recipe, after I’d added about half the flour/cinnamon mix, I strained the raisins and added them to the dough, before tipping in the rest of the flour.

It comes together just like an ordinary dough, although occasionally the raisins will splat on the worksurface a bit, especially if your kneading technique involves the use of your entire forearm.


As with, well, just about every bread dough or cake mix I make, the biggest challenge of this mixture was to survive the pillaging raids of the members of a certain tiny right hand which has not yet learned that dough tastes better baked.  I understand that an appreciation of delayed gratification comes later on the developmental charty type things than nearly two and a half, so it’s no surprise that Kit’s bagels always end up slightly smaller than mine.


We’ve taken to shaping them by rolling the dough into 10 balls, stabbing them with a finger and then whirling that hand around a few times to stretch the hole.  The result is gloriously misshapen and defiantly homemade, just as it should be.



And when they come out of the oven, golden brown and deeply fragrant, well you can see why it’s a minor miracle that seven of the original ten survived long enough to pose for a photo.


As far as our tweaks went, if you like your bagels really cinnamony you could easily up the cinnamon to 3 tsp without it being overpowering.  I’m not sure I’d add any more than 100g of raisins (or other dried fruit) though as the addition does make the dough heavier and you do need it to rise, and have room for some bagel between the crust and the raisins.


Ours have been eaten fresh out of the oven, chewy and warm a few hours later, and toasted with oodles of butter for breakfast, and one thing is certain; they don’t last long.