Everything or Nothing

Allegedly, according to surveys of questionable origin, the most popular type of bagel worldwide is plain. Yes, plain. In a world rife with fake news, this shocking proclamation is one that I find most difficult to believe. Has anyone ever raved about a plain bagel in any restaurant review? Are there bakeries out there at risk of selling out of this most austere option? Honestly, when was the last time you willingly ate a plain bagel, excluding the sad occasions when it was sole occupant languishing in the bread basket?

Falling entirely on the opposite side of the spectrum, the case for the everything bagel is a strong one. Brazen and fearless in its combination of savory seasonings, no person in their right mind would decline such savory complexity. Such heresy would be akin to ordering mapo tofu, but asking for it mild. A bagel without everything is nothing.

It’s a suitably audacious statement for such a bold blend, but I’m not alone in this judgement. Spreading a trail of seeded crumbs across the culinary landscape, the “everything bagel” has become a flavor in and of itself, spawning truly creative interpretations of the concept far beyond the original yeasted ring. The Everything Bagel Salad in Real Food, Really Fast remains a stand-out dish among fans, but today, I’m bringing it back down to the bakers bench, with just a little twist.

Make that a literal twist. Boiled rings aren’t the only sort of bread that can have it all. Buttery, tender babka dough forgoes the typical sweet adornments to get in touch with its salty side. Swirled and rippled with thick lashings of cream cheese, awash in a speckled sea of everything seasoning, each rich slice presents the complete package. Toast if you must, but as is the case with the original, fresh is simply best.

That said, cutting those slabs down a bit thinner to make a sandwich with extra cream cheese, carrot lox, dill, and capers isn’t such a terrible deviation from the plan…

I’m proud to submit this bread to the 12th annual World Bread Day celebration. I haven’t missed a single crumb-covered observance in the history of BitterSweet, and don’t plan to turn in my dough hook anytime soon. Scores of yeasted inspiration will be posted soon, so keep an eye out for the official roundup… But maybe, just maybe, don’t browse while hungry.

World Bread Day, October 16, 2018

Everything Bagel Babka

Savory Babka Dough:

1 Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
1 (1/4 Ounce) Packet (2 1/4 Teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup Aquafaba
1/4 Cup Olive Oil or Melted Vegan Butter
3 1/2 – 4 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt

Cream Cheese Filling:

1 (8-Ounce Package) Vegan Cream Cheese
1/4 Cup Everything Bagel Seasoning, Store-Bought or Homemade

“Egg” Wash:

2 Tablespoons Aquafaba

Gently warm the coconut milk to just above room temperature (no hotter than 100 degrees at most) along with the sugar. Sprinkle in the yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes, until the yeast re-activates in a happy, foamy froth.

Mix in the aquafaba and olive oil or melted vegan butter, stirring well to combine, before adding the first 3 1/2 cups of flour and salt. Incorporate all of the dry mixture, using a stand mixer to knead on low speed for about 5 minutes with the dough hook attachment. To knead by hand, plan on spending closer to 10 minutes. Add more flour as needed to achieve a smooth, tacky but not sticky dough.

Round the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, rest in a warm spot, and let rise until doubled in volume; about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Press down the dough and divide it into two equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece into a rectangle of about 14 x 10 inches and smear half of the cream cheese all over the surface. Sprinkle evenly with half of the everything bagel seasoning, and then roll it tightly, lengthwise, like you would for cinnamon buns. Repeat with the remaining dough and fillings.

Once you have two filled logs, use a very sharp knife to slice both cleanly down the middle, leaving the bottom intact. Twist the two split rolls together and tuck the messy ends underneath. Place the full loaf in a lightly grease 8 x 4-inch loaf pan and lightly cover with a clean dish towel. Let rise for another hour.

As you near the end of this second rise, begin preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Gently brush the loaf with aquafaba, and bake for 60 – 75 minutes, until golden brown all over. Let cool completely before slicing.

Makes 1 Loaf

Printable Recipe

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Everything or Nothing

    1. Ah, of course now you’ll make me eat my words here! Haha! It’s reassuring that there actually are some plan bagel believers out there; that would be a sad waste of a lot of dough otherwise.

  1. I am a “Everything girl” and based on my interaction with the “plain jane” bagel lovers, they are not used to the mix of spices and flavors, not only in bagels but in other foods as well. In fact, they have expressed their lack of culinary skills or the desire to venture outside of their tastebud comfort zones. Really enjoyed this article esp since I am a Bagel Connoisseur…thanks for the recipe.

    1. There’s no shame in that! There’s a bagel out there for everyone, and I’m glad you’re carrying the torch for plain bagel eaters too. :)

  2. You have no idea what a bagel kick we are on lately – I just love this bread! Question – I haven’t experimented a lot between using regular AP and Bread flour. Do you think bread flour would work well in this or does it have too much gluten? I have some bread flour to use up!

    1. Good question! I think bread flour would work beautifully here. You might need a little bit more liquid, but we’re just talking a tiny splash, nothing drastic. Go by feel and it should turn out beautifully. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  3. I am with you! If it’s not everything, it’s nothing. I shake that ‘everything bagel seasoning’ from Trader Joe’s on everything! Also carrot lox?! Are they as good as they look? I never actually had lox, cause I went vegetarian when I was only 12, and hadn’t yet been introduced to it.

    1. Oh yes, I love carrot lox! They’re not nearly as fishy as the real thing, unsurprisingly, but they satisfy that salty, smoky sort of craving. I also have a quick version in my cookbook, Real Food, Really Fast.

  4. I am with you – plain Bagel, wtf!!! Good thing we know – thanks to you – how to bake this SuperBagel! :-) Thank you for joining WBD once again. Kisses!

    1. Thank YOU for hosting WBD and making it all possible once again! I look forward to it every year. Wouldn’t miss it for the world- No pun intended! ;)

Leave a Reply