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Break the bakery bagel monopoly

Published Oct. 10, 2005

Have you ever made bagels at home? Here is a recipe to try. It does take a bit of time, but the procedure is not difficult. Breadmaking is a satisfying project _ in the making and the eating.

While you are in the mood for homemade bread, here is a recipe for Onion Casserole Bread. Part way during the baking, a butter, onion and egg topping is spooned over the bread.

Swiss Onion Bread begins with a loaf of frozen bread dough. Form the thawed dough into balls and layer in a pan with Swiss cheese, chopped green onions, melted margarine and either poppy or sesame seeds.

For: Edna Mae Donald of Treasure Island.

From: Ann Amato of St. Petersburg.

Recipe: Bagels.

Bagels

2 packages active dry yeast

4\-4{ cups sifted all-purpose flour, divided

1{ cups lukewarm water

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 gallon water combined with 1 tablespoon sugar for boiling

In large mixer bowl, combine yeast and 1} cups flour. Combine water, sugar and salt; add to yeast mixture. Beat at low speed of electric mixer for { minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, 5-8 minutes. Cover; let rest 15 minutes.

Cut into 12 portions; shape into smooth balls. Punch a hole in center of each with a floured finger. Pull gently to enlarge hole, working each bagel into uniform shape. Cover; let rise 20 minutes.

In large kettle, combine 1 gallon water and 1 tablespoon sugar; bring to boil. Reduce to simmering; cook bagels, 4-5 at a time, for 7 minutes, turning once. Drain. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Makes 12 bagels. (Ann has found that, if the baking sheet is covered with foil, the bagels are easier to remove from the pan.)

For: Helen Beisacher of Tarpon Springs.

From: Babs Bartman of Safety Harbor.

Recipe: Onion Casserole Bread.

Onion Casserole Bread

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1{ tablespoons shortening

1 cup warm water

2 packages active dry yeast

4{ cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon onion salt

{ teaspoon celery salt

Topping:

2 tablespoons butter

} cup coarsely chopped onion

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon water

Scald milk; remove from heat. Stir in sugar, salt and shortening; cool to lukewarm.

Measure water into 2{-quart bowl. Add yeast; stir to dissolve. Add cooled milk mixture.

Add onion and celery salts to sifted flour; sift again. Add all at once to yeast mixture. Stir 2 minutes. Cover; let rise in warm place until double in size (about 40 minutes). Stir down and beat { minute. Turn into a greased 2-quart casserole. Bake on rack just below center of oven at 375 degrees for 1 hour. When bread has baked at 40 minutes and is set, spoon Onion Topping evenly over top and bake for 20 minutes more. Remove. Cool on rack. Makes 1 large loaf.

Topping: Melt butter on low heat. Add chopped onion and cook, covered, for 5 minutes; cool. Beat egg yolk until light; add water, then onion mixture; mix well.

From: Ferne Eppers of St. Petersburg.

Recipe: Swiss Onion Bread.

Swiss Onion Bread

1 pound frozen bread dough, thawed

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

} cup finely chopped green onion

6 tablespoons melted margarine

2 tablespoons poppy or sesame seeds

Thaw dough several hours. Combine remaining ingredients. Cut dough into 12-16 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Arrange half of the balls in a greased 8-inch square pan. Put half the cheese mixture on top of the dough balls. Top with the remaining dough balls and the rest of the cheese mixture. Cover and let rise about 45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees 25-30 minutes until brown.

Recipe requests

Mary Csete of Spring Hill recently found and lost an excellent recipe for Crab Cakes. The 200-year-old Maryland recipe called for four slices of bread on which olive oil was drizzled. The eggs were separated and the whites beaten until stiff. Please check your files.

Grace Hood of Inverness also writes for a "really good" recipe for Maryland Crab Cakes.

Our local Spanish restaurants serve delicious Brown Bread, and Betsy Wegg of St. Petersburg is eager to try her hand at making it at home. Do you have the recipe?

Sesame Honey Candy is the recipe Jeanette Gear of Treasure Island wants.

Myrtle Pienschke of Clearwater writes that she made a very good hot dish using potatoes and ground beef covered with Tater Tots. Alas, the recipe has been misplaced. Help!

Cranberry Nut Bundt Cake is one of the recipes in the file of Sandra Kolnicki of Palm Harbor that was lost in moving. Can you replace this favorite?

You Asked For It is a reader mail column. If you have a cooking question or the answer to someone else's question, write to: You Asked For It, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Be sure to include your full name, city and phone number with your letter. Letters without this information will be discarded. Requests cannot be answered by phone or mail.