“The onion and its satin wrappings is among the most beautiful of vegetables and is the only one that represents the essence of things. It can be said to have a soul.”
Charles Dudley Warner, ‘My Summer in a Garden’ (1871)
Although it is hard to find anyone who knows exactly where the beloved onion originated, it is believed to have been cultivated well over 5000 years ago. Of course here in America the onion's grew wild and eaten quite extensively by our Native American Indians. When the Pilgrims first arrived on the Mayflower they brought with them onions and ground was broken straight away on it's behalf.
Onions are a main staple grown in our garden as well. It's hard to say which is my favorite between the white, red or yellow for flavor because each one seems to find favor in different ways. I will admit though that the reds find special favor in salads and bread and butter pickles for me. For some reason I love them in homemade bagels. It might have something to do with that Mediterranean Goat Cheese I've been buying from our local Farmers Market. The combination has become quite addictive.
Every year we seem to challenge ourselves to grow enough onions to make it until the following year. I'm looking at my pretty braided pearl balls thinking we probably won't make it until next May. I believe we harvested close to 800 plants this past spring. They say that the average American person eats about 20 lbs. of onions a year. With my family of 4 adults and 2 growing little ones that's a whole lot of onions. I do have to admit however that our family is not average and absolutely love our onions. With that being said we shall up the stakes this season and try to find more spaces for them. If you would like to learn a little more about growing onions you are welcome to visit our farm.
Today we're making delicious fresh minced onion bagels. They smell indescribably wonderful warm out of the oven. They freeze up very nicely, so once you've had some practice at making them you will want to make double batches. The secret is always in the dough, so you want to knead it nice and smooth. I often skip brushing with egg whites for the shinny look, unless I'm adding seeds to the tops. I also have several other options for making different flavors of bagels. For more step by step pictures of the process you are welcome to join me in my kitchen.
Makes 8 Bagels. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
4 cups of unbleached organic bread flour
2 tbsp. raw local honey
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tbsp organic sunflower oil or organic canola
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 smallish to medium size red onion, finely minced
A couple dashes of dry onion powder for a little something extra
egg white to brush on top for that shinny look
Mix all your dry ingredients together first with a wire whisk. Add the wet stuff to the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined with your dough hook. Turn the dough out on a floured surface. Put the minced onions in the middle. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes until it's nice and smooth. Kneading is simply working the dough with your hands by rolling, folding and squeezing. It's a good little work out for you as well as the dough.
Next knead it out into sort of a fat snake, long enough to cut 8 fairly even pieces. After you cut your pieces cover them with a cotton towel and let them rest for about 10 to 20 minutes.
After your cut pieces have rested it is time to make the bagel hole. The best way I've found to do this is to simply use your thumbs. Push them a little on one side in the middle and then the other. Then take your fingers and go around to kind of smooth the circle. Don't worry if it splits a bit. Just pinch it and smooth it. Have fun and enjoy because it will be beautiful and homemade. After you have the bagels shaped cover them with a towel and let them rest for 20 minutes.
Now is the time to make sure the oven is preheated at 425 degrees. Put a good size pot of water on the stove and get it boiling. You will need a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet lightly oiled. I use the wrong side of a couple of wooden spoons for turning the bagels in the water. Chop Sticks are always cool, but I have no clue where mine are. You also need a slotted spoon for taking the bagels out of the boiling water. Once your organized go ahead and whip up a little egg white with a small bit of water.
Drop a couple of bagels into the boiling water for one minute and then turn them on the other side for one more minute. Remove with slotted spoon and let water drain off. Arrange the bagels on the baking sheet. Brush them carefully with the egg white, trying to not let it drip onto your pan. This can cause them to stick.. Put them in your preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let them cool on a wire rack.