Sunday, January 20, 2013

Brunch Bagelwiches: Vegan Sunday Brunch, Episode 29

Good day, tut tut!

It was a busy day in the kitchen today, let me tell you.  Well actually it was only busy in Mike's kitchen, since he was randomly inspired to conquer a massive cooking hurdle - bagels.  Bagels!  And I didn't make them.  You think it's because I'm a coward, but you'd only be 30% correct.  The real reason is I don't want to buy a lot of baking stuff while I'm here (like yeast), so I can avoid temptation of eating bready goods all day long.  It would happen.

Nonetheless, I still made kick-ass toasted bread toppings, so it counts.  First off, I'll show you the finished products:

Mike's bagel-wich, sitting atop a beautiful homemade bagel.  I'll let him talk you you about those toppings more in depth.

And my bagel...wait, that's not a bagel.  What happened?  Sorry guys, the grocery store only had bread.  What you see here is something so crazy-awesome I'm going to share the "recipe" - if nothing else, please make this tofu.  But the whole ensemble is definitely worth it, and not nearly as complicated as it may seem.

Cajun Tofu
Makes 4 servings

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning (I used this recipe but cut the salt to 1 teaspoon)
8 1/2-inch slices firm tofu

In a wide shallow dish, combine the olive oil and Cajun seasoning.  Place the tofu in the mixture, coating both sides, and allow it to marinate for several hours to overnight.

Heat a saute pan to medium heat, and fry the tofu until golden.  You won't need to worry about oiling the pan, since the tofu is well-oiled to begin with.

For assembly:
Makes 4 bread/bagel slices

1 large red pepper, roasted and peeled
Daiya cheese slices (I used havarti)
A couple handfuls of spinach
Cajun aioli (see below)
Fried Cajun tofu (from the above recipe)

Layer everything on an open-faced piece of bagel or bread, and enjoy!

Cajun aioli

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1 teaspoon Cajun spice mix (like in the tofu recipe)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Hot sauce, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Enough for 4 slices of bread.

And now I'll pass the mic over to Mike, who'll talk about his first attempt at bagel-making and his lurvely toppings.  Enjoy!

After my baking success last week I decided to step it up a few notches.  I have heard of the difficulties with making bagels before but I figured that I was willing to take a risk, in the interest of science.  With a little bit of research, and some prior knowledge from years of watching cooking shows, I figured that I could make this happen. And hey, worst-case-scenario we would have a marvelous failure story for all of the blog friends out there.

Incredible Bagel Recipe

1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 1/2 tsp white sugar
3 1/2 cups multigrain bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
4-5 tbsp maple syrup
Kosher salt (for topping)

1. Add the sugar and yeast to the warm water without stirring.  Wait about five to ten minutes, then stir until the yeast and sugar are dissolved.

2. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt, then form a large well in the centre.

3. Pour the yeast mixture into the well, then add about half of the remaining water.  Mix the dough, adding more water as needed. The goal is a fairly firm, moist dough.

4. Knead the dough for around seven minutes. It should become very firm.  Transfer the kneaded dough to a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for one hour.

5. Punch the dough down and allow to rise for an addition fifteen minutes. While the dough is rising begin to boil a large pot of water. Add 1.5 tbsp of maple syrup for every 4 cups of boiling water.

6. Split the dough into 8 equal pieces (I divided it into six pieces and the bagels turned out monstrously large. My entire family was making fun of them. Make eight bagels). Roll the duo segments into approximately six-inch logs.

7. Loop the dough logs into circles and allow them to rise, covered, for a final fifteen minutes.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

8. Drop one or two bagels into the pot of boiling water and let them boil for about one minute.  You can try boiling them longer for a chewier bagel, but when I tried this they tended to... Fall completely apart.

9. Sprinkle the tops of the bagels with kosher salt

10. Bake the bagels for 20 minutes and then let rest on a wire rack for a few minutes.

Any good baking story involving me will usually involve some sort of terrible disaster.  The bagels tasted delicious, but they tended to look... Less than ideal.  There is a pretty good chance that I kneaded the dough a little too much (times have been adjusted in the recipe!) which resulted in the dough-loops not holding together as we'll as I would have liked.  This combined with the boiling left me with a few bagels and a few very dense bread sticks.  I covered up my mistake by making miniature bagels, but I am definitely looking forward to my next bagel attempt!

When it comes to topping the bagels you can really do anything you want!  I chose to do a mushroom-based topping with veggie bacon and sautéed kale.  It tasted delicious, but I think Allysia's topping may have beat mine.  I sautéed the kale in margarine and added pepper and lemon juice at the end.  The veggie bacon was quickly fried.  The mushroom sauté involved button mushrooms, portobello, onion, celery, and saffron.  When stacked on top of a homemade bagel it looked and smelled like pure heaven.

Happy Sunday, folks!


  1. Seriously inspiring! Bagels have been on my list of "baking challenges" for as long as the darned thing has existed, either on paper or just in my mind. A delicious reminder like this is an excellent nudge to get going on it... I really do like your simple, multigrain approach, too!

    1. You should check out my reply to Sarah below. I was always the same way with bagel baking, but now that I've done I feel like I can cross it off of the homemade wish list (though I still have a few iterations to go through before I can call my attempts a success).

  2. Mike, Bagels are the one thing I've been super sad about since going gluten free. And I was totally scared to try and make them in the past. The boiling..etc. Good for you for giving it a go! I'm glad they were tasty.

    And as for your ensemble, Allysia. Looks fantastic. Every single element. Yum. I love that daiya havarti :)

    1. Hey Nikki! Allyson has a gluten free bagel recipe on her blog: I haven't tried it yet but I really want to!

    2. Sarah, you're awesome. Also Nikki, the daiya havarti is probably one of my favorite things of life. Not to be dramatic or anything.

  3. Oh man both of these sandwiches look incredible! I've been wanting to make my own bagels for a long time and I just never have. Mike, yours sounds AMAZING! It looks really great too. I love mushrooms as a topping, they are so hearty. And Allysia, that cajun tofu sounds so great. Your sandwich looks delicious, bagel or no bagel! Nice job with the brunch guys!

    1. I agree with the love for mushrooms. They make just about anything better. I always thought that bagel making was some giant ridiculous hurdle that I would never be able to leap, but it was kind of fun, and not a total disaster!

    2. This comment is now immortalized on the blog: you said that baking was kind of fun. You're growing as a person, ha ha. :)

  4. Wow to those bagels - but wow to the tofu too! It sounds fantastic :)

    1. The tofu was great - I ate the leftovers on a nice green salad. :)

  5. Holy crap, that's impressive. I've never even thought about making bagels - I think that's like fifth dan ascended master baking skills.

    And yes, I reckon I will be cooking up some Cajun tofu... looks grand!

  6. Looks are overrated, dense hearty bread is where it’s at! I love bagels, making them can be time consuming but fun, I’ve never made one with all whole grain flour before. Next thing you know Mike will be making croissants (please make croissants). You guys went all out with the toppings, I neeeeed to make that Cajun tofu bagelwich, before I scrolled down and knew what it was, I knew I needed it in my life.

  7. Ah, I've made bagels before; they are rough. mine fell apart a lot too. They look great for a first attempt and kudos on that. It's all about the taste anyway, and both sandwiches look great.
    I was a little confused about yr rave about the tofu, Allysia - I thought the havarti slices were the tofu and they looked a little plain... But I'm beginning to see the light.
    I love yr cross-country brunches!

    1. BA HA HA, yeah, that would be some plain-ass looking tofu. :)

  8. Okay, I am totally impressed that he made bagels, and have bookmarked that recipe! I also completely forgot about bagel sandwiches - I used to eat them all the time.