Total Nutrition Technology
Thursday, August 13, 2015

Taking Control of Your Food: Bagels

Photo Credit: Marco Michelini

When we talk about leading a healthy lifestyle, we often exclude the very real truth that we have tastebuds. That's not an accident. The design of your body allows (and even encourages) you to consume foods that taste good. The delicate balance is understanding the difference between enjoying your food and being controlled by it. I'm happy to share with you that you truly CAN still enjoy your food, taste and all, and even reach your health goals at the same time. Step one: take control of your food. If you decide to enjoy processed foods  (if you pick up a knife or turn on a stove, you do), then the key to finding that balance is to be knowledgable of what goes into the process of preparing the food you eat. Today's example: bagels. 

Bagels have been an integral part of any Northern diet, and as transplants find the Southern comforts of front porches to be their locale of choice, I am finding bagels to be more and more prevalent in Southern diets as well. And yet many "diets" are excluding them because they are "high glycemic," or "processed," or simply because they are "starchy." Yes, they are a higher glycemic starch, but for most people the glycemic index shouldn't be a huge concern. Yes, they are processed, but so are green beans if you snap off the ends). And yes, they are a refined starch, which is a perfectly acceptable source of energy, when included as part of an appropriately balanced plan. If you do not already have a meal plan, contact us for help with this. 

So how does one include them? By knowing how to include them. If you know what goes into your bagels, you'll know how to incude them in your plan. This recipe allows one whole bagel (two halves) for 2 starches exchanges. This is the equivalent of 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal or 2 frozen waffles. Purchasing bagels from the grocery store could result in consumption of unnecessary preservatives, sugar, or salt. You'll have less control over bagels made in a bakery, the size might be harder to judge, and they may have a "secret" ingredient. So make your own. 

Here's how:

This recipe has been adapted from that found in Baking: A Commonsense Guide published by Bay Books.

Bagels (makes 8 bagels, or 16 one-starch servings)

Note that this recipe requires the dough to be refrigerated for 12 hours, so don't start 20 minutes before you plan to eat bagels!
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, dissolve 2 tsp of yeast and 1 tsp of sugar in 1.25 c of warm water (between 105 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit). Let sit for 10 minutes - you will see that the mixture becomes frothy and increased in volume.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups wheat flour (unbleached, all-purpose or bread flour works great) and 2 tsp salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon. Add up to 2 more cups of flour until the dough is firm and no longer sticky. 
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. You may need to add more flour as you go to ensure it is smooth, stiff, and not sticky. 
  4. Divide the dough into 8 equal portions and roll them into balls. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and leave for about 5 minutes.
  5. Roll each ball between your palms to form a rope that is about 1" thick and about 8-12" long. Bring the ends of the rope together and pinch, roll the seam a few times to blend it in. Repeat with remaining balls, placing each one on a corn meal dusted baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours. 
  6. Remove bagels from fridge to allow them to come to room temperature (about 20 minutes) and preheat oven to 475. Also, bring a large pot of water to a boil. 
  7. Drop bagels (in groups of 3) into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove, drain, and place back on baking sheet. Now is the time to add any toppings (try minced garlic or onion, shredded parmesan or cheddar, or poppy seeds). Repeat with remaining bagels until all have been boiled. 
  8. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let the bagels cool for about 10-15 minutes before serving. You can slice them, toast them, make bagel sandwiches, or whatever you choose! Just remember, each bagel counts for two starches (about 200 calories). You could also make 16 one-starch bagels, by portioning the dough into 16ths instead of 8ths in step 4. 


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