old-fashioned montreal-style bagels.

Old-Fashioned Montreal-Style Bagels

An homage to the famed Montreal bagel, and not unlike the traditional New York variety, these cruelty-free bagels are boiled before they are baked. The boiling step is what makes these bagels truly authentic: locking in the moisture, adding the beloved chewiness, and enhancing the flavor by allowing the yeast to develop more complexity over the full length of cooking (as compared to the faster turnaround of just baking). Without that crucial boiling step, these bagels would simply be bread. Luckily for our waistlines, these bagels are smaller than their gargantuan grocery store counterparts – because you won’t want to stop at just one! With a delightfully chewy interior and a characteristic hint of sweetness, they’re a little irresistible.

They can be dressed up or down with great success: heavenly simply toasted with a pat of non-dairy butter or hummus – resplendent as the foundation for a delicious sandwich (see below). Or enjoy them fresh, all by themselves. Whichever way they are enjoyed, these bagels are much loved in my household – and their popularity grows exponentially with each fragrant batch shared.

Old-Fashioned Montreal-Style Bagels

(vegan, yield: 18 bagels)

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp flax meal
3 Tbsp water
1 1/2 cups water
2 packages + 1/2 tsp quick-rising, instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened soy yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
1/2 cup agave syrup
5 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
3 quarts water for boiling (I filled my large pot with 4-5 inches of water)
1/3 cup malted barley syrup (for the boiling water)
Sesame or poppy seeds (for sprinkling on top)

Preparation:

1. In a small bowl, add the flax meal and 3 Tbsp water, beat together vigorously until very frothy and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups water, yeast, sugar and salt together. Stir in the oil and agave syrup, add the flax mixture, and mix well.

3. Add 5 cups of the bread flour and mix with a big wooden spoon until the dough is too stiff to mix by hand. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead to form a soft, pliable dough. Measure the remaining 1/2 cup of bread flour and add as needed to prevent the dough from getting too sticky. If needed, add a little more flour – don’t add too much or your dough will be tough and dry (add just what you need in order to handle the dough cleanly, without it sticking to your hands or your work surface). When the dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap placed loosely over the top (leaving room for the dough to rise). Let the dough rest for approximately 20 minutes.

4. While your dough is resting, pour water into your pot and start heating to a boil. Add the barley malt syrup and stir until dissolved. Keep your pot covered and reduce heat to a medium simmer while you prepare the bagels for boiling.

5. Once the dough has rested for 20 minutes, punch it down and divide into 18 equal portions. If some portions seem excessively large or small, now is the time to pinch a bit off the big ones to augment the small ones.

6. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. You will be placing 9 bagels on each sheet.

7. Shape the dough portions into rings by elongating each piece into 8 to 10-inch lengths that are about 3/4-inch thick. Then, fold the ends over each other and pinch together. Holding the ring on its side with one hand, place two or three fingers from your other hand through the hole and roll the ring gently back and forth over the seal to join it well. A good seal prevents the ends from opening up when boiled. As you form each bagel, place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once all the bagels are formed, let them rest on the sheets for 15 minutes.

8. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400°F, bring the water back to a boil. Have bowls of poppy seeds and/or sesame seeds near the stove.

9. Once the bagels have rested and the water is boiling (and starting with the sheet of bagels that was prepared first) use a slotted spoon to add three bagels to the water. As they rise to the surface, turn them over and let them boil for an additional minute before removing them (allowing them to drip for a few moments) and dipping them in either bowl of the seeds. Note: If they seem to float immediately, let them cook for 1 minute before flipping them and cooking for an additional minute on the other side.

10. Once they’ve been dipped in the seeds, place the bagels back in place on the baking sheets. Since they don’t increase in size during baking, you can place them fairly closely together if necessary, but not touching (depending on the size of your baking sheets). Note: Use two forks to transfer the bagels from the bowl of seeds to the baking sheet – one to flip and both to carry.

11. Continue boiling and dipping the bagels in batches of three until the first sheet is ready for the oven. Place that sheet in the oven on the middle rack, and set your oven timer for 25 minutes. While the first batch is baking, continue boiling and dipping the second batch of bagels.

12. The bagels should bake until they are medium brown. After 25 minutes of baking, check them. If necessary, add 5 minutes (or more) until they are brown enough for your liking.

13. Once they have baked, remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack. Once cooled, they freeze well if desired – if they last that long.

Tofurkey, kale & mustard on a Montreal-style bagel = LUNCH

I originally shared this recipe with One Green Planet, for whom I am a happy contributor.

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flourless peanut butter cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies

A variation on my much loved Flourless Cashew Cookies, these simple, sweet and nutty cookies are not only vegan, but naturally gluten-free too – and as with their cashew cousins, there’s no added fat. With only five simple ingredients, you’ll be whipping up these toothsome temptations in no time at all and seeing them disappear even faster than that. Who needs cholesterol-laden eggs and arterie-clogging added fats to hold cookies together? These scrumptiously sweet, flourless morsels are powered by peanuts and tofu – hello, protein! Peanuts, a member of the legume family, are also a good source of iron. That’s a nice bonus, but who are we kidding: the main draw here is the scrumptious taste and delightful crumb – and these cookies don’t disappoint.

I said it with their cashew cousins and I’ll say it again for the peanut: experiment with other nut and seed butters too, like almond, sunflower seed, or macadamia – yum!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

(vegan, gluten-free)

Ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter (just peanuts)
1/4 cup blended silken (or soft) tofu
3/4 cup golden sugar (scoop and level)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Using a food processor or high powered blender, blend tofu until completely smooth.

3. In a large bowl combine peanut butter and tofu until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add dry mix to wet mixture and stir until combined. Note: The dough will be very stiff – this is normal. Do NOT add additional liquid – it’ll take some muscle to combine everything, but the stiffness is required. If you add liquid, the cookies will over spread.

4. Drop dough by slightly rounded tablespoons (or similarly sized cookie dough scoop) onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Use a fork to slightly flatten each cookie.

5. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes. The cookies will be mildly golden all over and will feel very soft to the touch when they first come out of the oven (they will harden as they cool). After baking, allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Makes 18-22 cookies.

I originally shared this recipe with One Green Planet, for whom I am a contributor.

flourless cashew cookies.

Flourless Cashew Cookies

I have a confession to make: I love cashews. If you present me with a tin of mixed nuts, I will present you back with a tin in which there are no cashews to be found – and nary a cashew crumb. I have another confession to make: I love cashew cookies. Love. My love for both nut and cookie was the inspiration for this out of this world delicious recipe. The resultant flour-less cookies are simple, sweet and nutty confections that are not only vegan, but naturally gluten-free too – and with no added fat. With only five simple ingredients, you’ll be whipping up these toothsome temptations in no time – and soon see them disappear before your very eyes. Scrumptious, with a delightful crumb: these cookies don’t disappoint. They’re a new favourite of mine.

This recipe also makes a solid base for any nut butter with minor tweaks like adjusting the amount of salt. For Peanut Butter Cookies, I increase the salt to a 1/2 teaspoon. While I list a range of salt below (1/8 up to 1/4) to account for differing tastes, I prefer the Cashew Cookies with the lesser amount of a 1/8 teaspoon. I find that while the flavour of peanut butter lends itself quite nicely to a salty counterpoint, the sweetness and subtle flavour of cashew is easily overwhelmed by too much. Experiment with other nut and seed butters too, like almond, sunflower seed, or macadamia. Enjoy!

Flourless Cashew Cookies

(vegan, gluten-free)

Ingredients:

1 cup cashew butter
1/4 cup blended silken (or soft) tofu
3/4 cup granulated (white) sugar (scoop and level) **do NOT substitute brown sugar or you’ll get flat cookies. White sugar only.
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (or up to 1/4 tsp)

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Using a food processor or high powered blender, blend tofu until completely smooth.

3. In a large bowl combine cashew butter and tofu until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add dry mix to wet mixture and stir until combined. **Note: The dough will be very stiff – this is normal. Do NOT add additional liquid – it’ll take some muscle to combine everything, but the stiffness is required. If you add liquid, the cookies will over spread.

4. Drop dough by slightly rounded tablespoons (or similarly sized cookie dough scoop) onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Use a fork to slightly flatten each cookie.

5. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes. The cookies will be mildly golden all over and will feel very soft to the touch when they first come out of the oven (they will harden as they cool). After baking, allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 18-22 cookies.

Flourless Cashew Cookies

I originally shared this recipe with T.O.F.U. Magazine, for whom I am a proud contributor.