Friday was a red letter day! Normally the princess and I walk to the library on Fridays, but since it rained, we opted for making bagels at Grandma's house instead. She hogged the umbrella while we ran toward my place in the rain. Arriving, we took off our rain gear and washed our hands.
Since I'm writing a cookbook for adults working with children, this would be just one more practice run. I asked her if she was ready to make the bagels, but she said she wanted to make cookies with sprinkles instead. I told her that she could put butter, or cream cheese and jelly on the bagels after they baked, but we would save the cookies for another day. She reluctantly agreed as we got out the materials we would need.
When you cook with children, there are several things you need to remember: children are germ factories, so make sure they have clean hands, and take care to keep them safe from hot or sharp items. If it is a particularly messy job don't forget an apron. Well, the apron was something we forgot.
We measured and mixed and then came the kneading. The princess pounded the dough until there was a cloud of flour around us. She loved it and so did the dough. (Remember not to let children eat raw yeast dough as it can cause stomach discomfort. (Interruption time came with a potty break. I looked in the bathroom mirror and discovered that Lana wasn't the only one who had flour all over her. Even my face was gritty! I cleaned off as much flour as I could--too late for the apron. We washed up and went back to the dough. All these short interruptions didn't seem to adversely affect the bagels at all. In fact they were better than ever. Even when Lana leaned on a rising bagel just before it was to be boiled, it rose to the occasion.
Be patient and, if you love to bake, your children will love it too. Cleaning up and bathing you can always do later, but this moment only happens once. Now try this recipe and avoid my pitfalls. Cooking with children is an awesome experience. Just see how proud they are when they get to share with their friends and family. You can always double the recipe, and don't forget the apron!
In a large mixing bowl combine: 1 3/4 cups of flour and 2 packages of yeast.
In a large measuring cup combine: 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
Pour water mixture into flour mixture and beat until all flour is combined. Then continue mixing on high with mixer or wire whip for about three minutes. Stir in remaining 2 3/4 cups of flour. Turn out on floured surface and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Cover and let it rest for about 15 minutes. (Read a picture book.) Cut dough into 12 portions and shape into smooth balls by flattening and pulling the edges to the center. Punch a hole in the center and enlarge it by putting both index fingers through the center and twirling until the hole is about an inch across and smooth with a uniform shape. With a little practice, you will get good at this. Cover and let the dough rest on a floured board about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pour about a gallon of water into a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Beginning with bagels that were formed first, drop four or five at a time into hot water. Cook for 7 minutes, turning once. Place the boiled bagels on a wire rack to drain. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil and sprinkle with corn meal. Place the bagels on the sheet; remember they will not get larger in the oven. You may sprinkle them with your favorite toppings--poppy seed, sesame seed, reconstituted dried onion or garlic. Spray the bagels with olive oil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm or cold. They taste great when toasted with your favorite cream cheese, butter, jelly, or lox, red onion, and tomato. Enjoy!