Asiago Bagels

Asiago Bagels

Bread and cheese is quite possibly one of the best culinary combinations, ever. Unless you throw in bacon and then, well, I think you have heaven. Whether it comes in the form of a French baguette and a chunk of your favorite cheese, a perfectly melted grilled cheese, or, in this case, Asiago bagels, there is something so intensely satisfying about the taste of warm, fresh bread paired with the salty smoothness of cheese. These bagels are now the third adaptation I have made to Peter Reinhart’s original recipe for bagels, and they just keep getting better and better. I love getting specific baking requests and when my Chief Culinary Consultant suggested Asiago bagels a few weeks ago I thought that it was a fantastic idea. Having now eaten them, fantastic doesn’t even begin to describe the deliciousness that awaits you with this recipe. From the crusty, melted cheese on the outside of the bagel to the magnificent cheesy bubbles floating throughout the inside, if you make these I guarantee you will never be tempted to go to Panera or Bruegger’s again.

Asiago Bagels

Once again, Peter Reinhart was extremely generous with his time, giving me some guidance via email about how to adapt his original bagel recipe into these wonderful Asiago bagels. Since his recommendations for the egg bagels I made resulted in absolutely wonderful bagels, and the adaptation for cinnamon raisin bagels printed in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is quite possibly my favorite bagel ever, I had all the faith in the world that these would be equally spectacular. And right I was. Thank you Peter! If you haven’t ventured into homemade bagel making yet, I highly recommend giving it a try. Once you get started, you won’t be able to stop thinking of all the possible varieties. I think next up for me may be blueberry bagels! Stay tuned…

What is your favorite type of bagel?

Asiago Bagels

One year ago: Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Two years ago: Russian Grandmothers’ Apple-Pie Cake
Three years ago: Texas Sheet Cake

Asiago Bagels

Yield: 12 large bagels

Prep Time: 4 hours

Cook Time: 16 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Sponge:
1 teaspoon (0.11 ounce) instant yeast
4 cups (18 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2½ cups (20 ounces) water, at room temperature

Dough:
½ teaspoon (.055 ounce) instant yeast
3¾ cups (17 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons (.33 ounce) malt powder OR 1 Tablespoon (.5 ounce) dark or light malt syrup, honey or brown sugar
8 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded

To Finish:
1 Tablespoon baking soda
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese

Directions:

1. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining ¾ cup flour to stiffen the dough.

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). Add the Asiago cheese during the last minute or so of kneading, and knead until evenly distributed. The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour - all the ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81 degrees F. If the dough seems dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems sticky or tacky, add more flour to achiever the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

4. Immediately divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Form the pieces into rolls.

5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Proceed with shaping the bagels: Push a hole through the center of the roll with your thumb and stretch out the hole to 2½ inches in diameter, making sure that the resulting ring has a fairly even thickness all the way around.

7. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pan. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the "float test". Fill a small bowl with cool or room temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.

9. The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the better), and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minute flip them over and boil another minute. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. Sprinkle the bagels with the shredded Asiago as soon as they come out of the water.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled and topped, place the pans on the two middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are only baking one pan at a time, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 8 minutes, or until the bagels turn golden brown.

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Asiago Bagels

Yield: 12 large bagels

Sponge:
1 teaspoon (0.11 ounce) instant yeast
4 cups (18 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2½ cups (20 ounces) water, at room temperature

Dough:
½ teaspoon (.055 ounce) instant yeast
3¾ cups (17 ounces) unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons (.33 ounce) malt powder OR 1 Tablespoon (.5 ounce) dark or light malt syrup, honey or brown sugar
8 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded

To Finish:
1 Tablespoon baking soda
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting
1 cup shredded Asiago cheese

1. To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining ¾ cup flour to stiffen the dough.

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). Add the Asiago cheese during the last minute or so of kneading, and knead until evenly distributed. The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all the ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81 degrees F. If the dough seems dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems sticky or tacky, add more flour to achiever the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

4. Immediately divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. For the pieces into rolls.

5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Proceed with shaping the bagels: Push a hole through the center of the roll with your thumb and stretch out the hole to 2½ inches in diameter, making sure that the resulting ring has a fairly even thickness all the way around.

7. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pan. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.

9. The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the better), and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minute flip them over and boil another minute. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. Sprinkle the bagels with the shredded Asiago as soon as they come out of the water.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled and topped, place the pans on the two middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 8 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are only baking one pan at a time, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 8 minutes, or until the bagels turn golden brown.

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

(Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart)

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52 Responses to “Asiago Bagels”

  1. jennifer on March 8, 2010 at 3:34 am

    this is my favorite kind of bagel!! love the cheese! yummy!

    Reply

  2. Katrina on March 8, 2010 at 7:12 am

    I can’t even describe how much my mouth is watering. These look fantastic!

    Reply

  3. Petra on March 8, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Awesome the BBA is one of my favorite books. I have tried the bagels too and they are so good. I was thinking just today that I should put on another batch since the last one is gone (they freeze well). Your post got me thinking that I might just try some bagels with the next HBin5 challenge.

    Reply

  4. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets on March 8, 2010 at 8:01 am

    I think I had some yummy bagels with a similar flavor at Panera’s once, but I bet these are 10 times better. Blueberry sounds fantastic as well. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  5. denise @ quickies on the dinner table on March 8, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Gorgeous bagels and even better if they have Peter Reinhart’s blessings!

    Reply

  6. Angie on March 8, 2010 at 9:40 am

    So, I have bagels on my list to try in the next few weeks however I have no need for that many bagels. Do you have any suggestions for scaling back the recipe, freezing dough, etc.? Not necessarily for Asiago bagels – just any bagel!

    PS – Asiago is my favorite, followed by a toasted Sesame bagel with European butter. Delicious!

    Reply

  7. Erin at The Healthy Apron on March 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Wow. Those look amazing! I will have to try them! I am kind of on a “homemade” bread kick! Perfect!

    Reply

  8. Hot Polka Dot on March 8, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Yum! I’m pretty sure this is my new favourite bagel. Oh I can just imagine how awesome these are going to taste with cream cheese spread on them. Thanks!

    Reply

  9. jaclyn@todayslady on March 8, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Wow those look so so good! My favorite type of bagel is probably one with cheese (if eaten plain and untoasted) or sesame seed (toasted with butter) Yum!

    Reply

  10. Maria on March 8, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Cinnamon raisin are my favorite, but the hubs loves cheese bagels. I will have to make these for him.

    Reply

  11. gingela5 on March 8, 2010 at 10:59 am

    My husband would love me forever if I learned how to make these! My favorite bagel would probably be an everything bagel with cream cheese dipped in pizza sauce. Delicious!

    Reply

  12. sheena on March 8, 2010 at 11:10 am

    seriously, those bagels look amazing. on my list for this week for sure. i think i really need to get my hands on the BBA this week. it’s official i need it =]

    Reply

  13. ashley on March 8, 2010 at 11:14 am

    mmm i love cheesy bagels! i have to admit i think plain are my fave though!

    Reply

  14. Liren on March 8, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Wow, I can’t wait to make these! This was my favorite bagel when I used to work near an Au Bon Pain :)

    Reply

  15. Eliana on March 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Bread and cheese is a match made in food heaven. These bagels look incredible Michelle.

    Reply

  16. Mackenzie@TheCaramelCookie on March 8, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    These look great! But my favorite bagels are the cinnamon crunch bagels at Panera!

    Reply

  17. Theresa on March 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Those bagels look amazing. I’m drooling now. We just had Panera bagels yesterday (Asiago cheese, cinnamon crunch, and french toast). I would love to give these a try when I have some time.

    Reply

  18. Joanne on March 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    I’m a cinnamon raisin fan by nature. But I could go for some cheese topping. Any day.

    Reply

  19. Errin on March 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Jalopeno Cheddar bagel with salsa cream cheese, tomato slices, salt and pepper. Asiago bagels are a close second though and I have always been scared to try to make them. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply

  20. Heather F on March 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    I’ve been scared to make bagels for… forever. Until last Saturday!! I had the best time making cinnamon raisin bagels and now I want to make them every weekend!

    Reply

  21. Jencrafted on March 9, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Imagine waking up to the smell of these bagels and a wonderful cup of coffee! Makes me drool….I’m heading out to Panera today! Then I’m going to buy some yeast on the way back to make my own batch of bagels!! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  22. Annie on March 9, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Yum! I’m definitely going to try these. This is what Ben always orders at Panera, so I can’t wait to make him one at home!

    Reply

  23. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on March 9, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    These bagels look spectacular! I would love one of these with a salad for lunch.

    Reply

  24. elly on March 9, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I keep saying over and over and over how I am going to make bagels, but I never get around to it. I think I HAVE to make these though because they look so good and asiago bagels are Tom’s absolute favorite.

    Reply

  25. Amanda on March 10, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Your bagels look amazing! You did an excellent job. Bagels are my absolute favorite form of bread and I’m a huge fan of Panera’s Cinnamon Crunch bagels. When you toast them, the crunch part melts a little and gets gooey.

    Reply

  26. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride on March 13, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Reading this made me think of my favorite bagel – even before I got to the end! There is this bakery in Memphis – which is about 200 miles from me!-that makes these yummy poppyseed bagels! I used to eat them by the truckload in high school and college. I need to go call my DAd right now and ask him to pick some up for me!

    These bagels remind me of the Asiago bread they have at Subway – it is soooo yummy!

    Reply

  27. Zahra on March 14, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Wow, these look amazing…I love making homemade bread! Does anyone know if I can sub cheddar for the Asiago?

    Reply

  28. Erin on February 9, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Oh my these were so good! I served mine with either Chipotle Pepper or Garlic & Chive cream cheese. Delish!

    Reply

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  31. erin on October 13, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I made these today, they turned out great! I didn’t have enough fridge space so I put them in the freezer for an hour, instead of the fridge overnight and they came out perfect! Thanks for sharing :)

    Reply

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  33. @pril on December 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    This is totally awesome. I love this bagel and the bread but was having a hard time finding a very close or exact recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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  38. Kim on April 11, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I’d love to try this recipe, but rosemary olive oil are my most favorite! Do you have any receipes/suggestions for a rosemary olive oil bagel?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Hi Kim, I don’t right now, but I will definitely add it to my list. Sounds delicious!

      Reply

  39. Stephanie on April 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Sorry, this may be a dumb question, but can you make mini bagels with these, like you can with the plain ones? Is there an adjustment for the boiling or baking if you make mini bagels?
    Thank you! Can’t wait to try these!

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Stephanie, You definitely can make mini bagels! You don’t need to adjust anything other than the size of the bagel :)

      Reply

  40. Komal on April 16, 2012 at 1:01 am

    I made these yesterday and the flavor was fantastic but the bagels were on the dry side, didnt have a tender crumb, and were a little flat. I let my sponge rise for 2.5 hours and still it was not at all foamy but just had a few air bubbles . Then I shaped the dough into balls and let them rise at room temp for 40 min. Even then they did not rise much. I decided to throw them in the refrigerator over night and then put the tray in the oven with the light on for 40 min. They finally almost doubleded in size after which I shaped them into bagels, boiled, then baked. My yeast doesnt expire until 2013. What did I do wrong?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 16th, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      Hi Komal, Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like you used the technique described in the recipe, which might be the issue. The sponge really does need to be foamy and have doubled in size. If it didn’t, it could be that the water was too hot or the yeast was bad (sometimes yeast can just be bad without having expired). The dough is not meant to rise. I would give it another go and use the technique described in the recipe – it’s never let me down!

      Reply

  41. Anne on April 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Michelle, I also made these bagels for the first time yesterday. (Well, technically, I started last night, left the bagels to retard in the fridge overnight, and baked them this morning.) The result was fantastic!

    My only frustration is that I made only a half recipe, since I only had 8 ounces of Asiago cheese.

    Thanks for insisting in your various posts and comments, on the retard time, I had looked at other bagel recipes, including one from Emeril, which didn’t suggest the retarding. So I was tempted to skip it. Glad I didn’t.

    I will be baking these again soon.

    Reply

    • christie on October 21st, 2012 at 8:32 am

      I have made both Emeril’s, who I also love, and Brown Eyes Baker bagels. Brown Eyed Baker bagels are the best, like a real bagel. Emeril bagels were like biscuit/bagel combo. Thanks Michelle.

      Reply

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  45. Michelle on April 12, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    I’m much more of an eater and appreciater of food than a cook, so there’s no way I’ll ever make these. Wish I knew who I could convince to do it for me! My absolute favorite bagels are the Asiago from Panera, slightly warm so the cheese is perfect! Sun-dried tomato bagels run a close second but are hard to find.

    Reply

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