The dreaded phone call…

Today John celebrated his 7th birthday, even though his big party was last week. I surprised him like I do all my children with their favorite breakfast in bed. I line the tray with pretty flowers, napkins, yummy treats and homemade cards.¬† When I dropped John off at school today I reiterated to him I wasn’t coming to “celebrate” his birthday at school, but we’d have his family party at home later that evening. He was very excited, gave me¬†a kiss goodbye and ran inside the building.

Around 12:40p I got the call we all fear most; something happened in the lunchroom. Within two seconds I could tell the school nurse wasn’t calling me to tell me there was¬†injury on the playground or someone had a tummy ache. She said “Mrs. Rudnicki, I’m calling to let you know there was a breach at the peanut free table today.” My stomach fell to the ground, and I felt queasy as I waited for the next part. “A child mistakenly sat at the peanut free table and started eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich.” I kept thinking, Uh huh…where is this going? Is John in an ambulance somewhere?

“A staffer noticed this and immediately removed the child from the table, had him/her wash their hands and the table was wiped down.” I kept thinking, did John have a reaction or not? I was increasingly worried as she didn’t say “He’s OK”". Finally I blurted, “Is John OK? Did anything happen to him?”.¬† She mentioned he seemed fine, but that his face looked red an splotchy. She asked if he got any sun this weekend. I replied “No, he didn’t¬†.” I told the nurse to give him Benadryl and keep a close eye on him for the next hour since he could still suffer a delayed reaction. She was to watch for any coughing, saying his mouth hurts, etc. The nurse did so, and when I checked in with her an hour later, she said John was fine, just rubbing his eyes a bit (one of those lovely side effects from the Benadryl).

Mistakes can and do happen. I believe this was an honest mistake. However, it highlights how even a child sitting a few seats away eating a peanut butter sandwhich can trigger a reaction. If John had even touched the part of the table where the child ate his lunch, the reaction would have been much worse. We feel very lucky that the allergic reaction¬†was minor. When John came home we talked about it and it didn’t seem to phase him one big.¬†He was¬†more¬†excited about his¬†school day and the fact it was his birthday.

The rest of the day went much smoother as we made John’s favorite dinner (sloppy joes) and for his birthday cake, my Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Lemon Cake.¬†¬†Despite the¬†incident in the lunchroom, it was another great birthday¬†for¬†him. ¬†Here’s to hoping the rest of the year I don’t get any more phone calls like that!

Some days it ain’t easy…

When my son was diagnosed with food allergies, I tried my best to put aside¬†fear and learn as much as I could about food, ingredients and how to keep my son safe. When each of my four children struggled with various developmental delays, and we had to go through the¬†exhausting and painful process of getting our kids tested, go through hours of therapy, and write educational plans so their needs were met, I put aside my fear again and learned as much as I could. I suppose we never had “typical children”, but they are still extraordinary in their own unique ways. Every child is wonderful and special with endless potential.

I have tried my best to not be too “preachy” or “pushy” with my advocacy in children with food allergies and special needs, but I do think it is important¬† to help¬†educate others with what I know, how little that may be. In fact, I would never claim to know everything there is to know about these issues, and love learning with each of you every day. I learn so much from the countless other amazing moms and dads I have met over the years, and continue to learn from everyone I talk to or meet (virtually or in person). The one thing I do know for sure is that our work is never done; we must continue to educate and bring awareness to living in a world of food allergies.

I know so many of you have felt isolation, pain and fear over the thought that what our children could put in their mouths could kill them. We worry about whether or not they will ever feel normal, whether they will be ridiculed, whether they’ll be able to travel freely to see the world, or simply just out to a major league baseball game. But at the same time, we put these fears aside, day in and day out so we can send our food allergic children¬†into the real world, and enjoy all the same things we do. We pack lunches, send them to school, birthday parties, camps, play dates, field trips and say ” have fun!”. Yet inside we’re always on guard for that one phone call that could change everything. THIS is our world, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.¬†

Recently, in trying to help my school recognize the many benefits of adopting a Food Free Birthday Treat Policy, I have personally felt and heard the backlash. Yes, the second grade teachers in my son’s school are adopting a treat free birthday policy voluntarily, and I truly thank them for taking the initiative. Other grade levels still have the choice to allow treats in their classrooms. We are making progress, but it is slow. Why is it slow? I suppose it comes down to change. Change is a difficult thing for most people, and I can truly empathize with that. But I have also asked those same people to try to be empathetic to the idea of what it’s like to live in fear of food, empathetic to the sadness of seeing your child excluded from normal childhood events, and empathetic that every day is groundhog day for us in that we are constantly trying to keep our kid’s world safe. We work very hard every day to create a safe, happy and all inclusive environment for our kids. Wouldn’t every parent want the same for their child?

A friend of mine posted the question on her facebook page asking “would you not consider some one’s allergy if you invited them to dinner?” 19 comments later, I read an interesting one about¬†birthday treats in the classroom. The poster said (paraphrasing here) that the last thing she would want for her¬†food allergic child is to¬†have¬†other kids in her child’s classroom know they COULD have treats, but couldn’t because of THAT kid with an allergy. The person also said other kids would whine that “who would want to be in that class with so and so….”. There’s honesty for ya.

I also had a recent conversation with our school nurse who commented that she read my blog, and didn’t seem pleased with my “Reaction waiting to happen” post from a while back. We discussed it, and I reiterated to her that my number one priority is the health and safety of my child. Somehow we have to put aside our personal differences on this and talk about what’s best for these children. As¬†parents and educators, we have to start looking at how we can learn from all this? How can we make changes that benefit everyone, not just the kids with food allergies? However, at the end of the day when it comes to birthday treats in the classroom, the cupcake still wins.

Some days I am happy to talk about our children’s experiences if it means it might educate others. Other days, not so much. People’s lack of compassion and understanding (like the face book comment)¬†makes me sad. ¬†But the work goes on, and it’s important we do whatever we can to educate others, even if¬†that means just our own children. Teaching empathy and putting others first is one of the most important things we can do for our children, whether they have food allergies or not.

First Day of School Breakfast: Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Heart Healthy Oatmeal Pancakes

IMG_2489[1The first day of school is special. It is the first official send off for your child or children to school, and quite possibly the return of normalcy for you. In my house we celebrate this occasion with a hot breakfast. It calms nervous tummies to be able to sit down, relax and enjoy a meal together as we go over what we’re excited and/or nervous about. All my kids are Nervous Nellies, so I have found this tradition first started by my mom, and¬†later my¬†sister, to be very useful. As wild and crazy as my kiddos are in the morning, they will agree to¬†sit down to eat for 15 minutes and just talk.

My favorite breakfast to serve on this day is pancakes. Of course we all have our favorite pancake recipe and I have two that I love. This year I made my personal favorite pancake; Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Heart Healthy Oatmeal Pancakes. Served alongside warm maple syrup, dairy free margarine, fresh fruit, turkey sausage and orange juice (sorry, this is in the big plastic jug and NOT fresh squeezed…remember I only 15 minutes to eat and four kids to get out the door! :) This is also a fabulous recipe with¬†farmer’s market blueberries sprinkles on top of the freshly poured batter. The result: warm, slightly popped blueberries that burst with fresh berry flavor¬†in every bite. My husband and I have been been known to battle it out over the last Blueberry Oatmeal Pancake…

This is also¬†a whole grain version that happens to be irresistibly delicious. I never would have thought I’d prefer whole grain over my good old all purpose flour but in this case I do. It is truly special, and takes no more than five minutes to whip together. They also freeze¬†really well. Enjoy and hope everyone had a great first day of school!

Heart-Healthy Oatmeal Pancakes

Yield: About 20 pancakes

1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal

1 cup whole-wheat flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons water

11/2 cups soy or rice milk

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat a cast-iron griddle pan on medium heat until hot, and preheat oven to 200¬ļF.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk. In a large liquid measuring cup, combine water, oil, and soy milk. Pour water mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix with a wire whisk until just combined. Do not over mix; a few lumps are fine. 

Spray griddle liberally with dairy-free cooking spray (repeat this process each time you put down a new pool of batter). Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the heated griddle, and cook until small bubbles start to form on top. Flip and cook other side until light brown. Transfer pancakes to warmed oven, and repeat.

Tip: Freeze extras by placing pancakes in a resealable freezer bag, with a sheet of parchment or wax paper placed between each layer. Label with name and date, and freeze for up to 2 months.

IMG_2557[1

Meet your new teacher day; an unexpected surprise…

Today was our school’s “Meet and Greet”, the time in which we stop into our child’s new classroom and meet the teacher. My 9-year-old daughter had John’s new teacher two years ago, so I was already familiar with her. She was, and still continues to be one of Chloe’s favorite teachers. She is the type of teacher who makes you immediately feel at ease, safe, and that nearly everything can be figured out. So I knew we were in good hands with¬†her. What I didn’t expect to see was a bright¬†colored paper on¬†every child’s desk addressed to parents. Here’s what it said:

Dear Parents,

One or more of the children in my classrom has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts and or nuts. We need your help to provide the safest possible environment for this/these children:

  • We have a peanut free classroom this year. Do not send any peanuts or nuts or products containing peanuts or nuts for consumption in the classroom.
  • Do not send containers that have contained peanuts or nuts, such as washed out peanut butter jars for use in the classroom.
  • Do not send party snacks or treats that contain peanuts or any other kind of nut.
  • Remind your child that snacks are not for sharing.
  • This year we are a birthday-food-free classroom.
  • If your child eats peanut butter before school, please have your child wash his/her hands thoroughly before coming to school. It is important that peanut residue is not on a child’s hands when they handle common school books and equipment.

Thank you for your help and cooperation. If you have any questions please contact me or contact the school nurse.

I was¬†incredibly excited about this letter, and that¬†it was already in place at the start of the year. It is a relief to know the parents of my son’s class have been educated and safeguards were put into place from the very first day. Yes, John has other allergies, (ie milk, etc.) but this is a fantastic start! I will still need to bring in all the food for the holiday celebrations….but to NOT have to worry about birthday treats in my son’s classroom is an enormous, and I mean ENOROMOUS load off my shoulders.

The second grade teachers in my childrens’ school have taken it upon themselves to adopt the non food birthday treat policy all on their own. I look forward to the rest of the school following suit. I know that our school nurse and¬†second grade teachers gave a presentation to the other teachers and nurses about the benefit of adopting this type of policy. I will keep you posted on what our school district ultimately decides to do.

Finally, I wanted to encourage all of you to sign up for my email alerts. It is an easy way to be notified when I post new recipes, blogs, etc. I will be sending out other tips and recipes through the subscriber list as well. In addition, I have added a book pre order button right underneath my Recipes. The book will officially be in stores October 23rd; right around the corner! The advantage of ordering directly from my site is every pre ordered book¬†is signed¬†and, most important, a portion of my profits will go directly to Food Allergy Initiative Chicago, a not for profit group that raises money specifically for food allergy research. With only $17 million allocated by our federal government for food allergy research, we desperately need additional funding and awareness. It’s the only way we’ll find a cure.

I wish you all a very happy and safe school year!

John’s First Ever Birthday Party….

img_25371John turns seven in one week, but he had his first birthday party today. His first birthday party with friends, that is. Yes, he’s had traditional family celebrations every year but they have all been just us and in our home. So many people have asked me why I opted to never hold a party for him and his friends. It’s complicated, but I’ll go back to his first birthday celebration in 2003.

Prior to John’s first birthday, we already knew he suffered from food allergies. He had his first reaction at seven months old after he ate a Gerber Veggie Wheel.¬† We had just moved to a new house far out in the suburbs away from the city. John was eating some cheerios in his high chair and I thought he was doing so well with his finger food, that I might give the new Veggie Wheels I just bought. I figured they had the word “veggie” in it, so they had to be healthy. Little did I know that they were coated in powdered cheese, probably to give the little Styrofoam wheel some pizazz. I handed him a wheel to “mouth”, turned my back to get something for my 3 -year- old daughter, and within a minute heard coughing.

I turned around and saw John’s sweet, red face (he had severe eczema on his face…little did I know at the time there was a connection between food allergies and eczema) covered in hives, especially¬† around his mouth. I froze for a¬†second, because I couldn’t figure out¬†what was going on with John. Was he choking? Why would choking cause his face to break out? Should I¬†pat his back? That’s what I did next, pulled him out of his highchair, patted his back, and gave him his sippy of water. I had the name of a local pediatrician¬†so I started dialing. Of course, I never thought to call 911 yet because I didn’t recognize he was having an allergic reaction. I didn’t even know what one was.

I got a hold of a nurse, who told me to give him Benadryl, and to monitor his coughing and hives. If they went away, I was to come in to the doctor’s office the following day for a check up. If he continued to struggle with his breathing, I was to take him to the emergency room. Luckily I did have Benadryl in the house so I gave him a dose, watched and waited, and the symptoms diminished. I took him to the doctor the next day who casually informed me that my son probably suffered a food allergy reaction, and gave me the name of a local allergist. I was¬†in shock. I tried to ask more questions such as, what could he have been allergic to? After going through the ingredient list the doctor said maybe it was the cheese powder, but only the allergist would be able to diagnose for sure.

I know what many of you are thinking….we were lucky. Lucky that the reaction didn’t progress to something that could have put his life at risk. Especially because the pediatrician’s office didn’t give the right instructions for someone who is suspected of suffering an allergic reaction. I should have been told to call 911 right away. What if the Benadryl didn’t work? What if his airways closed, blood pressure dropped and he became unconscious? What if I didn’t have Benadryl? Is the directive “watch and wait” good enough? Never. This is just one of many reasons there needs to be more education about food allergies. My own pediatrician’s office didn’t have a real understanding of how quickly these reactions can progress to something life threatening. I know I was lucky….it was a warning. But as many of you¬†already know, reactions can vary in severity, and just because someone has a mild to moderate reaction, it doesn’t mean the next one won’t be life threatening.

Fast forward to just a few weeks before John’s first birthday party at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I searched for weeks¬†for a delicious dairy, egg and nut free cake recipe. I was still figuring out what John could and couldn’t eat, and at this point he had been formally diagnosed by an allergist. I was too afraid to buy anything at the store, because at that time there wasn’t the Food Labeling Act (2006) and I still didn’t understand all the code names for egg and milk. I desperately wanted to order a special cake from a bakery; the kind I always got for my daughter, complete with beautiful decorations. It would have been so much easier. But I knew that wasn’t an option. Finally I found a recipe that seemed easy to make (although I didn’t know what it was supposed to look like because most of the food allergy books then didn’t have colorful photos, a big pet peeve of mine).I made the cake and it failed miserably. It was dry, bland and not worth eating. We all ate it grudgingly, but I knew I had to do better the next time.

As John got older, I always asked him if he wanted a birthday party like his big sister always had. He¬†didn’t have any interest, and told me he’d rather celebrate with just family. Now, John isn’t the type of kid who likes attention on him, in fact, he avoids it at all costs. But I figured it had to be something more. Maybe he didn’t want to eat differently than his friends at his own party? Maybe he didn’t want to have his friends say his “special snack” wasn’t as good as a real birthday cake? John¬†never had a reason he wanted to share with me.¬†

So fast forward again to today. I asked John a few weeks ago, like I do every year, if he wanted a big present and a family party, or a party with his friends. To my surprise, he said “a Pump It Up party!” For those of you don’t know what Pump It Up is, it is a big inflatable party place. They do everything, set up your party, order pizza and food, watch your kids jump and climb and then clean up the mess afterward. I was so shocked John wanted this type of party, I asked him twice more, “Are you sure?”. Yes, he said annoyingly.

I have to say I was a little nervous. Would the kids miss the pizza? Would they miss the big Costco sized cake all the kids seemed to love? John told me to make his favorite dairy and egg free cupcakes, and said that was all he really wanted. I knew the kids would love the cupcakes, they’ve been tested over and over again over the years with so many different kids and family members. This is why it is so important to have really good allergy friendly recipes that are yummy and taste like the real thing. Kids notice, and they won’t¬†eat your food if they think¬†it is “icky”. To even out the pizza free menu, I instead offered colorful fresh fruit kabobs, (and quickly asked for the sticks once they were done as I could see it in their eyes they wanted to use them as swords), pretzels, cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. Everything was devoured. They boys loved the treats, and no one talked about whether or not they were allergen free. They just enjoyed the treats as they would at any other party. This meant the world to me. It was a glimpse of normalcy.

I don’t take these moments for granted. To see my food allergic son be just like any other kid¬†was a gift. The party was a success and it made me wonder why¬†we didn’t do this sooner. I think John is learning to open up and I am learning to let go. And until next week when we do our family’s¬†sloppy joes/chips/chocolate cake dinner for John’s real birthday, I will count my blessings. Every year that goes by is truly a blessing, isn’t it?

Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Cranberry Chocolate Drop Cookies

_rkp2625In my former life as a runner (a foot injury and subsequent¬†pregnancy has sidelined me for a while) I was addicted to any type of snack bar, health cookie and trail mix product on the market. Of course I always stayed away from anything with nuts in it, but I still had my¬†own personal stash of non allergy friendly treats stored¬†high up in the cupboards. Over time, my four kids would hear me open a cabinet door post run and come flying into the kitchen demanding to see what forbidden snack I was eating. This got me thinking…maybe if I made a “health cookie” that I could happily eat post run AND give to my kids as an after school treat, then they might stop bugging me about my hidden stash high up¬†in the cupboard.

And so the Dairy, Egg and Nut Free Cranberry Chocolate Drop Cookie was born. These cookies are not only wonderful as after school or lunchbox treats, but they are fabulous to mail to loved ones over the holidays. I sent a batch to my sister and her family in Kentucky last Christmas and the cookies held up really well, maintaining their chewy texture after the long trip in the mail. They are also a perfect cookie to give as gifts, because they are colorful, sweet and downright delicious.

In the fall I will use fresh cranberries when the are in season. But for the rest of the year, I will use frozen cranberries that have been quickly defrosted under warm running water. I’ve also done dried cranberries with this recipe, but really prefer the texture and flavor of fresh (or defrosted) cranberries. The berries truly pop in your mouth along with the little bits of dairy free chocolate chips throughout the chewy cookie. I guarantee your family will love this cookie…and you won’t have to hide it high in the cupboards! Enjoy!

Cranberry‚ÄďChocolate Drop Cookies

 

As a runner, I am drawn to power and granola bars. These remind me of my favorite nutrition bar, which is packed with little bits of dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate and fresh cranberries. If cranberries aren’t in season, use frozen cranberries that have been quickly defrosted under warm running water.

 

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

 

1/2 cup dairy-free margarine

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup soy or rice milk

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon orange zest

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

31/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

21/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine margarine and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add soy milk, orange juice, zest, and applesauce, and mix thoroughly.

 

In a separate medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda using a wire whisk. Add to margarine mixture, and blend well. Stir in chocolate chips and chopped cranberries.

 

Preheat oven to 375¬ļF, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a cookie scooper to place batter onto prepared baking sheet.¬†Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely on baking sheets.

 

 

Dairy and Egg Free Currant Scones

_rkp2458Tea and toast is my idea of a nightly “cocktail” after the kiddos go to bed. I know, it isn’t as exciting as a glass of¬†red wine, but for me it is the ultimate way to wind down the day. I’ve had tea and toast as my nighttime ritual nearly every night for as long as I can remember (with the occasional bowl of cereal thrown in to change it up a bit). My friends often make fun of me, as I will still go home to have my tea and toast after a night out clubbing or seeing bands (yes, even though I am a mom of four and soon to be five kids, I still like to routinely go out to discover new bands or see dj’s spin). But lately, I’ve found myself craving and reaching for a different take on tea and toast; tea and scones.

It sounds very British and elegant, but most of the Brits I know aren’t particularily prim and proper. Regardless, they know their scones. And I have learned the hard way that getting scones perfectly delicious isn’t always an easy task. It takes the right recipe, of course, but also a feather light touch in regard to kneading the dough. It needs to be handled as little as possible in order to achieve delectable results. Overmixing this dough will certainly result in little hockey pucks, something I would never eat. And neither would my kids.

Before I started making my own scones I would rely on Starbucks to fufill my fix. But if you happen to order a scone toward the end of the day, you’ll get less than desirable results. Then I started looking for scones at my local bakery, and even though they were so much fresher, I still felt the need to try them at home so I could experience these little biscuits warm from the oven. I always heard Krispy Kreme doughnuts were dynamite when eaten fresh out of the oven, so I figured the same should be true of scones.

I’ve worked with many versions of scones over the years, but it wasn’t until I had to develop a version with no milk or eggs that I found the challenge. Soy or rice milk works beautifully as a substitute, and who really needs the egg wash anyway? This Currant Scone is amazing; light, buttery (though not a smidge of butter is in it) and delicious with of course, a cup of tea. If you want to make these for company or for your kids first day of school breakfast, simply make the dough, cut into squares, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze until hard and place squares into a resealable plastic bag for later use. When you’re ready to bake, take out what you need, and just add a few minutes baking time. However, I have found this recipe is super fast to pull together on a whim, so usually I just make and bake right away.

Enjoy!

Dairy and Egg Free Currant Scones

 

Little currants are speckled throughout these scones. These are perfect with a cup of hot green tea.

 

Yield: 12 small scones

 

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, cut into small pieces

¬ĺ-1 cup soy or rice milk

1/3 cup currants

 

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt using a wire whisk. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour ¬ĺ c. soy milk into the well, stirring with a rubber spatula until dough just comes together. Add more soy milk if needed. Stir in the currants.

 

Preheat oven to 425¬ļF, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead about 15 times on a lightly floured surface. Using a pastry cutter, divide dough in half, and shape each half into a flattened ball. Roll each ball out into a 1/2-inch-thick disk. Cut each circle into 6 wedges and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

 

 


Dairy and Egg Free Bakery Style Bagels

_rkp2950Recently I popped into Starbucks to grab a quick cup of coffee, but I happened to have my four little ones with me. I normally despise going in there with my kids because the inevitable always happens. The three non allergic ones whine¬†for treats like bagels and donuts. I generally say no because a. I’m not going to blow an additional $10 dollars on average sugary treats, and b. because it excludes John. What is there for him to eat there? Other than¬†a juice box, there’s nothing.

After I payed and left with my solo cup of joe and three whining children, John asked me, “Why couldn’t I have the bagels? Aren’t they safe?”. I answered¬†”No they are not safe. They are placed next to the multi grain bagels containing nuts.” I don’t understand why Starbucks does this, but they do and it eliminates the possibility for John to just have a plain bagel. His next question was “Well then, when can you make your homemade bagels again?”

Aha! It was a perfect idea. Not just because there is nothing better than a freshly made bagel straight out of the oven, but because on these last few lazy days of summer, it is the perfect cooking activity to do with your kids. Bagels are really easy to make with few ingredients, and my kids have a blast poking their fingers through the discs of dough to make the bagel hole. It is really cool to show them how easy bagels are to make. I think the bagel dough is as easy to work with as play dough, but way more tasty.

My only advice in making these is to eat them right away. Like most baked breads with no preservatives, these will start to harden the next day. Pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to rewarm. Have fun making these and enjoy the last few weeks before the craziness of school starts!

Bakery-Style Bagels

 

 

Yield: 12 bagels

 

41/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 packages active dry yeast

11/2 cups warm water (about 110¬ļF)

3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 11/2 cups flour and yeast. Combine the water, sugar, and salt in a separate bowl. Add water mixture to flour mixture, and mix on low, using the dough hook, for about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Turn setting to high, and beat for about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in remaining flour until the dough comes together and is somewhat stiff.

 

Turn dough onto floured board, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest about 10 minutes.

 

Cut dough into 12 portions, and shape into balls. Punch a hole in the middle of each ball using your finger. Cover, and let rise another 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Fill a large, heavy pot with water and 1 tablespoon sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook about 4 bagels at a time for 5 to 7 minutes, turning once. Don‚Äôt overcrowd the pot. Use metal tongs to remove bagels from pot, and drain them on paper towels. Preheat oven to 375¬ļF, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place drained bagels on prepared baking sheets, and bake about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.