Bagels are one of the final frontiers of baking I have yet to dabble in. We love a good bagel, but they’re hard to come by in the DC area. Whenever we go to New York we bring empty containers and fill them with bagels from our favorite shops and gift them to relatives and co-workers.
Recently the Washington Post charted a path to homemade bagels that made it seem more approachable. Sadly, the bagels just didn’t have the right chew or flavor, even when doused in everything seasoning. I’m going to blame my amateur bagel skills rather than the recipe, as many did receive good results with their recipe. I think the key is to develop the gluten more by rolling them more consistently. In the meantime, I have my eye on the more tricky looking ChefSteps version.
Grab the recipe from Washington Post’s RecipeFinder here →
I’ll be honest — soft pretzels are a guilty pleasure of mine. I have very fond memories of going shopping with my family and being rewarded at the end with a hot pretzel and lemonade. I also like getting the pretzel rolls to make mini-sandwiches with, but they’re a bit hard to find nearby me.
Making pretzels seemed daunting to me. They’re like bread and bagels mixed together, some mystery that makes them magically chewy yet snappy and soft.
It turns out that they’re not that hard to make! I was inspired by my Secret Recipe Club partner for this month, Nicole from Collie’s Kitchen. Nicole is a half-country/half-city girl that is a full-time college student and mother. I can’t even imagine how she does everything, including making these great soft pretzels!
I didn’t have milk powder or a bread machine, so I had to use a little improvisation with these pretzels. These turned out way better than I expected and I imagine that there will be more pretzels in my future (gotta use up that bread flour!). We might even make these pretzels a Memorial Day tradition; they taste great when smooshed around a local sausage, coleslaw, and grilled onions.
For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I had the pleasure of being assigned Ros’ blog, The More Than Occasional Baker. Now, this is my kind of blog! I have a major sweet tooth and prefer baking over cooking. Unfortunately, this made it extremely difficult to choose which recipe I wanted to make since everything looked good to me.
I was choosing between Pineapple Tarts, Earl Grey Tea Cookies, Bananas Foster Crepe Cake, Ginger & Chocolate Oat Cookies, Pistachio, Yogurt, and Elderflower Cake, No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites, Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows, Madelines, White Chocolate & Macadamia Cookies, and Earl Grey Tea Banana Bread.
In the end, I went with whatever recipe I had the most ingredients for. I didn’t have any more Earl Grey tea on hand since we used it all up making Lavender Earl Grey Truffles for Christmas a while ago, but thankfully my friend Stephanie had just gifted me with a whole box of Thai Black Tea that I swapped in.
To continue the Thai-tea theme, I drizzled some thinned out condensed milk on top. The cake was quite dense, which I think was a result of the containers I baked them in (I had this issue with some zucchini bread I baked in these containers) as well as the fact that I just mashed the bananas instead of mushing them to a pulp and substituted yogurt for the sour cream. I also used some of the wet tea leaves to use in the bread itself since I liked the color and texture contrast.
Check out the other Secret Recipe Clubbers below, or head on over to The More Than Occasional Baker to see what she’s whipped up recently!