Cinnamon is one of my most favourite flavours. It is such a versatile flavour, complimenting food dishes such as your wholesome porridge, succulent tagines, to spicing up your apples and adding warmth to your hot drinks. Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years and was the subject to ancient Middle Eastern traders’ embellishments of their stories on how they acquired the spice. Today the spice is mainly sourced in Sri Lanka. Moroccan’s also like cooking with cinnamon, using it in meat dishes. As I am a quarter Moroccan (the quarter is very important, as I blame the temper and straight dark hair on it as well!), I very much enjoy cooking with the cinnamon specifically in Lamb Tagines, so the notion of creating bread with cinnamon was very appealing.
From the onset of this challenge, I was given a request by my grandfather (who lives abroad) to make Cinnamon and Raisin Bagels. I therefore took the opportunity to create this spiced up version of a bagel on his most recent visit.
As I have had a little practice now with making bagels ( see previous posts) I was quite confident that I could make this variety, as all I thought I needed to do was add in the cinnamon and the raisins. Cinnamon can however be a tricky spice as if you don’t put enough in the mixture is won’t give your dish the kick it deserves but if you put in too much, is can be overpowering and loose the sweetness becoming a hot spice. Therefore I did a bit of internet research to find out the quantity of cinnamon to add to the dry mixture before putting the yeast and water in. Thankfully the end result demonstrated just the right amount was put in.
I usually follow the rule that any (dried) fruit or seeds that need to be added to the dough should be done after the first prove, as I was under the impression that it may stop the dough rising to its full potential. This rule was broken when I made the banana bread, so when I read on the internet that you should add the raisins to the dough before its first prove I had slight trepidations but thought if that’s what I am being advised that’s what I will do. At the same time as making the cinnamon and raisin bagels I also made a plain batch, which helped me see the difference between the mixtures. The cinnamon and raisin dough ended up being much denser than the plain one, which rose at a much faster rate. However the cinnamon and raisin dough was much easier to handle, almost feeling like you were working with brown wheat or spelt flour.
It was disappointing not to see the bagels rise to their full potential, even when they were boiling before going in the oven, which I will blame on the raisins. When I make them again the raisins will be added as I shape the bagels after their first prove. On the positive side, the taste was delicious, a perfect balance of cinnamon and a handful of raisins to compliment to give each mouthful a yummy sweetness as well. A further plus was the house and the oven smelt of cinnamon for at least another day.
When cooking the bagels I put a Bain Marie tray at the bottom, to allow the water to create steam to enhance the crunchiness of the crust. As the bagels hadn’t risen as much as they should have done, the bagels were a little bit too crunchy and didn’t have enough chewy inside to compliment it as I would have liked. Somehow though my grandfather and the rest of the family were very happy to eat their fair share and there weren’t any left by the end of the day, none even to take to work the next day.
A few tips:
- Stick to your instincts; don’t put the fruit or nuts in to your dough until after the first prove.
- Add flour to your baking parchment so the bagels don’t stick whilst rising before they are boiled.