Calaveras Enterprise

Ideas from the bakers

How about a bagel?

Ideas from the bakers

Ideas from the bakers

Christine Abusaidi has baked these bagels since she was a college student, distracting herself from pending papers and classes by “procrastibaking,” as she calls it. The recipe came from her mother and Abusaidi herself recommends this recipe for both novice and experienced bakers.

Sugar Bakery Bagels

6 cups of bread flour

1 tablespoon salt

½ cup sugar

2 packages of dry yeast

1½ cups warm water (110 degrees)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 eggs

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and one egg. Combine the dry ingredients and add them to the wet mixture. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic, between 7 and 10 minutes with an electric mixer or longer if done by hand.

Let the dough rest in a warm spot until it doubles in size, approximately 45 minutes. Punch the dough down and divide it into 3-ounce pieces for small bagels or 5-ounce pieces for larger, bakery-size bagels. Roll or shape the dough into balls and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Spray the balls with water and cover them with a towel to keep them from drying out.

Shape each ball into a bagel by pushing your thumb through the middle of the dough ball and gently stretch the hole until it’s about an inch wide. Spray the bagels with water once again and let them rest for five minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 2 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of sugar to a boil in a large pot. Use a slotted spoon to gently transfer one or two bagels at a time to the pot and boil them for five minutes. Be sure not to crowd them, as the bagels will puff up as they boil. Transfer each bagel to a parchment sheet covered with cooking spray or cornmeal after boiling and repeat until all bagels are boiled.

Beat the other egg with one teaspoon of water and brush the bagels with the egg wash. Sprinkle with Everything Bagel Topping or leave them plain, transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Everything Bagel Topping

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup poppy seeds

¼ cup onion flakes

2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Combine the above and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Ciabatta bread done right

This recipe, courtesy of Tom Plusko at Villa Bakery, features a preferment process. It also features measurement by weight for more uniform results, but you can convert the measurements online if you wish to use measuring cups. He says a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on top of each loaf makes for a deliciously crispy twist on the crust.

Also, ciabatta dough is extremely wet, so don’t be surprised if it’s a bit sticky to work with; remember, practice and patience make perfect.

Villa Bakery Ciabatta Bread


12 ounces all-purpose flour

12 ounces warm water (from tap)

1/8 ounce dry yeast

Mix the above ingredients together in a large bucket or bowl. Let it rest for 18 hours in the refrigerator.

For the bread:

1 pound cold water

½ ounce dry yeast

1 pound, 11 ounces flour

Dash of salt

Combine the ingredients above with the preferment mixture and integrate well in a large bowl to form a loose dough. Let the dough rest, folding the dough in from the ends every half hour and let it sit in a warm place between folds. Repeat three to four times, waiting a half hour between each fold.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Once you have completed your final fold and rest, set dough on a lightly floured surface and gently pat it out. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into rectangles, or divide the dough into smaller loaves. Gently transfer each piece to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and dusted with cornmeal. Let them rest for another 30 to 40 minutes.

Place an ice cube in a cast iron skillet and set the skillet on the lower oven rack. Place the baking pan of ciabatta on the upper rack and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the loaves are puffy and golden brown.

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