Tag Archives: whole wheat baking

Honey Whole Wheat Bagels

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I love bagels. They are truly one of my favourite carb-loaded indulgences. Nothing beats a warm, chewy bagel, spread with delicious, decadent cream cheese, melty and rich and… yeah. My whole family loves bagels, too, so they’re a regular item in the shopping cart. Every week we’re usually buying at least one kind – cinnamon raisin, cheese, and plain whole wheat are the ones in regular rotation.

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If you know me, you know that I’m always up for the challenge of trying to make things myself rather than buying them. I’ve never been particularly successful in my bread-making endeavours, but practice makes perfect, right? I thought I’d give it a go again with bagels, so set out hunting for the perfect recipe. Most traditional recipes are a two-day project, but I rarely have the patience for anything that takes longer than an afternoon. When I found this recipe by The Sophisticated Gourmet, it was perfect. One day bagels? I can totally do that. Of course, I also can’t leave a recipe well enough alone, either – I adapted the recipe a little to make whole wheat bagels with honey. I feel less guilty about indulging in a bagel for breakfast if it’s whole wheat, so that was my choice. It’s probably not an authentic bagel by any stretch, but it’s still a really tasty breakfast bread.

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This recipe makes 8 fairly large bagels, but I’m pretty sure that it could be split into 10 or 12 smaller ones if you feel the portions are too big. The next time I make it, I’ll probably cut the dough into smaller pieces for more bagels and more reasonable servings. And because there are no preservatives in these, they don’t have an amazing shelf-life. They do freeze really well, though, so if you don’t think you’ll get through them all before they get stale or mouldy, you can toss them in the freezer once they have fully cooled and they will be good for quite a while like that. I usually freeze half the batch immediately because it’s really easy to just grab a couple from the freezer when we don’t have any left in the pantry, and they thaw in just a couple hours.

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Honey Whole Wheat Bagels
(adapted from The Sophisticated Gourmet)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cups warm water (possibly more), divided
3 1/2 cups (500g) whole wheat bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Baking soda

In 1/2 cup warm water, stir in the honey until mostly dissolved. Sprinkle in the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. {Tip: To get water to the right temperature, I like to run the tap as hot as I can get it. By the time it has poured into a room-temperature measuring cup and I’ve stirred in the honey, it has cooled enough to be just right to proof the yeast.}

Mix together flour and salt. Make a well, and pour in the yeasty water mixture.

Pour half of the remaining water into the well and mix. Add the remaining water as necessary, plus any extra you need to create a moist, firm dough. This can be anywhere from a tablespoon to an extra 1/4 cup.

On a floured counter, knead the dough for 10 minutes, working in as much flour as possible to make the dough firm and stiff.

Lightly brush or spray a large bowl with oil. Turn the dough into the bowl, and roll it around to coat completely. Cover with a damp dish towel, and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about an hour. {Tip: Inside the oven with only the light turned on is a good place!}

After the dough has risen, punch down and let rest for another 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball. {See The Sophisticated Gourmet‘s technique!}

To create the classic bagel shape, coat a finger in flour and gently poke a hole in the middle of a dough ball. Work dough gently, pulling and stretching until the hole in the middle is about 1/3 the diameter of the ring. Repeat for each dough ball.

After shaping your dough, let the bagels rest on a cookie sheet under a damp kitchen towel for 10 minutes, and preheat your oven to 425F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it begins to simmer, add 1/2 Tbsp baking soda per 2L of water.

Using a skimmer, gently place 2-3 bagels at a time in the simmering water. Let them boil for one minute, then flip and boil for another minute. {Tip: for chewier bagels, boil 2 minutes per side.} Remove the bagels from the water and place on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet. If you would like to top your bagels with anything, now is the time to sprinkle it on. Repeat for the remaining bagels.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden brown. Yield: 8 bagels.

Nutritional Info (per bagel): 212 calories, 43g carbs, 1g fat, 7g protein, 6g fiber

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Whole Wheat Banana Pecan Muffins

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As a child, I remember my grandmother’s freezer being full of bananas. To my wee eyes, it seemed like there were dozens of them, a never-ending supply. One day, I discovered for myself that a thawed banana bears very little resemblance to a fresh banana, and I asked her why she kept them all. With a pair of sharp scissors, she snipped the end from the limp, black banana and squeezed it into a bowl like a tube of toothpaste, and we made banana bread. That was when I learned that nothing ever went to waste in her kitchen. Even bananas that I thought should be destined for the trash could be salvaged and used later. Ever since, my own freezer has become a gathering place for bananas past their prime, waiting to be baked into something delicious.

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Every so often, though, my husband sorts through the freezer and curses the number of frozen bananas I have hanging around. We buy bananas almost every week for the kids, and usually there’s a straggler or two that didn’t get eaten and is starting to get spotty and soft, so into the freezer it goes! It only takes a few weeks and I end up with an over-supply of frozen bananas and it’s time to do some baking.

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Enter the banana muffin. I prefer to make muffins over loaves for the kids, it’s just easier to portion out for them. When I’m feeling like Super Mom, I’ll even make mini muffins for them. I swear, my kids will eat anything in muffin form (just like their mom!). I found this recipe while searching for a reasonably healthy whole wheat recipe that would use a lot of bananas – most recipes use 2 or 3, but this one uses 5, maybe 6 if your bananas are on the small side. The result is a deliciously moist muffin, which can be hard to find in a whole wheat recipe. A batch of these muffins barely lasts 24 hours in my house – as soon as they’re out of the oven, my husband and kids are lining up in the kitchen to get one.

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Whole Wheat Banana Pecan Muffins

(adapted from Food Doodles)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mashed over-ripe (or previously frozen) banana (about 5 bananas)
1/2 cup pecans

Prep a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (or grease), and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix together flour, oats, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together honey, butter, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Stir in mashed banana.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix gently until just combined. Fold in pecans. Divide batter evenly between the 12 prepared muffin cups and sprinkle with oats.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, ~15-18 minutes. Yield: 12 muffins

Nutritional Info (per muffin): 244 calories, 30g carbs, 13g fat, 5g protein, 4g fiber.

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Banana Carrot Mini Muffins

If there’s one thing my kids love, it’s muffins – all kinds of muffins. But to them, the king of all muffins isn’t the jumbo muffin (like the huge ones at Costco!), it’s the mini muffin. The perfect hand-sized snack, mini muffins are devoured by my kids as if I had starved them for a week. (For the record, I didn’t starve them to test this theory.) And since my daughter’s preschool does shared snacks, mini muffins are my go-to choice when I have the energy to send a home-baked treat for the kids.

Now, I can’t be the only banana-hoarder out there. Hands up, all of you who whisk your overripe bananas off the counter and into the freezer for future banana bread usage. Come on, admit it, you have a bunch of bananas hanging out in your freezer, don’t you? I sure do. For those of you who think I’m truly off my rocker this time, consider this your banana baking tip of the year – if you freeze your bananas before you make banana bread, you don’t have to mash them when they thaw. Cut the tip of the banana off, squeeze it into a bowl like a tube of toothpaste, and voila: soft, goopy, pre-mashed banana. Yeah, I’m both thrifty and lazy.

So, anyway, with my abundance of frozen bananas, I knew some banana-based baking would be in order. And with Eliza’s preschool snack day looming, what better thing to make than banana mini muffins? I went on the hunt for a reasonably healthy recipe, and came across this one on Tasty Kitchen. It fit the bill perfectly – it used up a couple frozen bananas, had some whole wheat flour, no added oil, and even added a vegetable. In my books, this is a WIN. Oh, and in case you were wondering, they were a huge hit with the preschool class. Double win.

Banana Carrot Mini Muffins
(Adapted from Tasty Kitchen)

1 cup all-purpose Flour
1/2 cup spelt Flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
2 eggs
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 medium bananas, mashed
2 medium carrots, grated (about 1 to 1 1/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease wells of a muffin pan or line with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Set aside

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, applesauce and bananas. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the carrots.

Fill the prepared muffin wells almost full. Bake in preheated oven 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing them to cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 48 mini muffins.

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