Are Gluten-free Bagels Worth it?

Who doesn’t love bagels? Anyone? I wouldn’t think so … me, I’m a die-hard, card-carrying member of the everything bagel club and will go to lengths (literally) to get one.

A few months ago—well, actually I think it was closer to a year—I was in the city (a big one that will go unnamed) and went to hit my favorite bagel spot (which will also go unnamed) after a kickass hot yoga class and wouldn’t you know it, they were out of everything bagels. I literally didn’t know what to do. I was in the drive thru so I couldn’t exactly turn around, but I was pissed. Like super pissed. (First World problem? Yea. I know.) Anyway, I didn’t get anything … just drove away bitching and sipping my Starbucks which I had planned on enjoying with my everything bagel.

The next day, same thing. I was in the drive thru and they were out. WTF??!!!!! Am I the unluckiest girl in the world?

I drove away, again, and managed to complain to just about anyone and everyone I could reach by phone, by text, on the side of the road. Eric (you know, that guy I talk about every now and then and who occasionally gets to post here too), he got an earful … bear in mind he was on the West Coast and I was out East having my “little” meltdown, so there wasn’t much he could do. Except probably roll his eyes and pretend to sympathize. Anyway … I left town later that week without so much as one single everything bagel. No caraway seeds stuck in my teeth. No poppyseeds or dried garlic pieces covering my lap. Nothing. (Insert sad face.)

Now for the semi-good part of the story …

When I got back to town, Eric (same guy) had already gone to the store and bought a sleeve of everything bagels so they were waiting for me at home. Were they the same? No. Not even close. Did they taste good? Eh, they were fine. But—and not that this has anything to do with bagels—but, it’s things like that remind me that I am, without a doubt, the luckiest girl in the world. (With or without my favorite everything bagel.)

Moving onto the bagel thing. So, there are a lot of recipes out there for bagels. And some for gluten-free bagels. And there are plenty of gluten-free bagels in the grocery store. But I thought, “why the hell not” try making them at home. I mean how hard can it be? As it turns out, while it’s not hard, per se, my attempt at making gluten-free bagels wasn’t exactly a winner winner. They look good, but they were beyond dense and eating them the second day was out of the question, unless you want to pay a hefty dental bill. They turned as hard as a hockey puck. For reals. But, when they came out of the oven they were delightful. Regardless, I do plan to try my hand again at this … maybe they didn’t rise enough? Maybe I over-kneaded? I dunno. But I’m glad I tried and think you should too.

Really quick, a note about the whole gluten-free thing. I do eat gluten, but not a lot. Let’s just say I don’t go out of my way to avoid gluten, it just so happens that my diet doesn’t really include it—most of the pasta I eat is either plant-based and gluten-free OR made from Italian semolina flour which is naturally “softer” than American wheat and therefore contains less gluten. And I’m not a big bread eater. But like I can’t pass up French cheese if it’s in the room, give me a good old fashioned everything bagel from the local baker, and I will indulge. Gladly ; )

Gluten-Free Everything Bagels

PREP TIME: 2 hours (including rising) | COOK TIME: 30-40 minutes

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast, which is a little less than a packet
  • 4 ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (about) warm water, not used all at once
  • 3 ½ cups gluten-free flour, plus a little extra
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg to make egg wash for brushing bagels, optional
  • Toppings: everything mixture, roasted garlic, poppy seeds, whatever floats your boat …

Combine flour and salt into a large mixing bowl (or Kitchen Aid if you have one with a bread-hook attachment). Make a “hole” or “well” in the middle; this is where you’ll pour the yeast mixture. Next, place yeast, sugar and ¼ cup warm water in a small bowl. Let the yeast activate, or until the bubbles start forming, for about 5 minutes. Once its “foaming” gently stir then pour into the “well.” Add ¼ cup water and begin mixing. You’ll want to add very small amounts of water along the way until the dough starts to form a ball. Knead in the bowl for 2-3 minutes. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and knead with your hands for another 2-3 minutes. The dough will be a bit sticky.

In another bowl, spray sides with cooking oil and place dough in the center. Cover with a warm, slightly damp cloth and let it rise in a warm place (I’ve used the top of the dryer in the laundry room before or the bottom half of the oven depending on the temperature in the house) four 1 hour. Note, I didn’t think this dough expanded as much as other breads I’ve made but I may have not had the temperature correct.

Once it’s close to double in size, separate it into 8-10 pieces and shape each one into a ball. Carefully (I broke a lot of these the first go around), use your finder to create a hole; so each piece resembles a tire. Place shaped pieces onto an oiled baking sheet (or parchment paper which is what I recommend) and cover, again with a slightly damp, warm towel. Let rest for about 20 minutes. They won’t rise much, if at all.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush each bagel with eggwash and or a little olive oil, then sprinkle on whatever toppings you desire. Bake for 30 minutes, but watch them so you don’t over bake. That’s it. Enjoy, and do let me know if you try this … I’d love to hear how it works out for everyone else : ) And remember peeps RELAX … Eat more plants. Eat less meat, or none at all. Eat less dairy, or none at all. But whatever you do, EAT MORE PLANTS!

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Non-dairy buttermilk makes this Irish soda bread vegan AND makes it uber delicious.

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When it comes to food, beauty may or may not be in the ye of the beholder … but taste is taste and these are delicious!

On Being a Flexitarian

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