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By Devadeva dasi (HHBTS)
Although we devotees like to restrict ourselves to homemade breads, every once in a while some of us get that certain yen for a little bagel nosh. Instead of submitting ourselves to the karma and disappointment of store-bought supermarket bagels, why not make our own? I have seen some pretty good bagel recipes by devotee chefs and feel it is my dharma to continue the bagel parampara.
By following a few easy steps, devotees can achieve the bagel-jyoti. While they probably will not replicate the bagels of one's youth (unless one grew up in Kansas) they are an acceptable replacement.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Use your favorite bread dough or use mine:
Combine 12 cups flour (white, wheat, or any ratio of integration of the two)
1/4 cup oil
3 tablespoons sugar (white or brown, it's up to you)
3 tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups of hot water or whey
On an oily work surface, grab some dough and form rings that look like, you guessed it, bagels! Craft stores such as Michael's (if you are in the USA) sell doughnut/bagel shaped cookie cutter rings that work perfectly for shaping the dough. Usually there are two sizes of these cutters. I recommend the smaller size for the stability of the bagel throughout the bagel-making process. Lay each bagel on an oiled baking sheet and cover with a cloth. Allow the bagels to rise in a warm area. Brush with a little milk or keep it pareve* by brushing with plain soymilk.
The next step in the bagel making process involves good old-fashioned steam. Bagel makers can choose between boiling your bagel in a big pot of water for five minutes or steaming bagels on wax paper in a covered colander or bamboo steamer. Make sure not to turn the bagels over, and leave room for them to expand upon boiling. After boiling or steaming, drain bagels in a sieve and then place on baking sheet prepared with farina or cornmeal. I have found my boiled bagels to remain mushy in areas when boiled, therefore I personally prefer the steaming method.
Bake until bagels are brown. Allow bagels to cool and shmear with butter or cream cheese. Many of you may have a strong urge to say a brachah** over the bagels, but I know Krishna would prefer us to simply recite the standard offering prayers. Now that Krishna has eaten, it's your turn. Mmmmm. Delish!
This recipe makes 22 large size bagels or 44 small size bagels.
* "Pareve": a term used in Jewish cooking, not necessary for prasad. The bagel is a traditional Jewish bread.
** "Brachah": a Hebrew prayer.— Ed.
© CHAKRA 27 March 2002
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