3/14/2010

Feta Cheese Bagels

Look closely - you can see 1-2 Feta chunks, the rest have melted in for delicious flavor!
 
My friend Lisa, a fellow Feta cheese fanatic, told me about a Feta cheese bagel that she purchases for breakfast...of course, this got my wheels turning!  How could this be accomplished?  Was the cheese on top or inside?  What kind of flavorings were added?  How could I bake it without scorching the cheese?

Well, I think I came up with a pretty good rendition, though after asking Lisa, it doesn't sound anything like her morning Feta bagel, but this turned out very flavorful and delicious!  Mixing the Feta into the dough left pockets of cheese, though since it blended in with the dough, you couldn't see it, but you sure could taste it!  I also added just a small amount of oregano, since that goes so well with the Feta flavor.  The addition turned out so well, not overwhelming but just enough to compliment the dough!

Feta Cheese Bagels

Ingredients
  • 1 tbs. active dry yeast
  • 1 tbs. white sugar
  • 1 3/4 c. 110 degree water
  • 3 c. bread flour
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs. salt
  • 1 cup Feta cheese crumbles
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano

Directions
  • In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) combine yeast, sugar & water.
  • Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir in flour, salt, oregano.
  • 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.
    Knead dough with the dough hook until elastic, about 8 minutes on a low speed, adding the Feta cheese about half way through so it retains some "chunks". 
  • Place dough in a lightly greased bowl (non-stick spray works wonderfully), cover with plastic wrap & let rise for 1 hour.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil & preheat the oven to 400F.
  • When dough has risen, turn the dough out & divide into 12 equal pieces. 
  • Shape each piece into a tight ball. 
  • Using your fingers, poke a hole through the center of each dough ball. 
  • Stretch out the dough into a ring with your fingers (some cheese will try to escape at this point, just try to poke it back into place & 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. 
  • When all the balls are shaped, let the dough rest for 30 minutes covered with a clean dish towel.
  • Working four at a time, drop the bagels carefully into the boiling water. 
  • Boil for 1 minute on the first side, then flip & boil for an additional minute. 
  • Using a slotted spoon or strainer, transfer bagels to a clean towel to drain for a moment, then place on a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a rack.

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