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Published November 21st, 2012
Bagels for Breakfast, Anyone?
By Susie Iventosch
Cheddar-Olive Bagels Photo Susie Iventosch

We had house guests over Labor Day who love to cook and eat, and drink good wine. One night over dinner, our friend Chris said, "Hey, how about if I make homemade bagels for breakfast one of these days?"
Homemade bagels? I never even imagined making homemade bagels before, and inquired how he, as the non-cook in the family, knew how to make bagels. He replied that he worked at two different bagel shops on Long Island when he was a student.
That explains it!
I thought this was a delightful surprise and was really excited to learn how to make bagels. Oh boy, these were the very best bagels I had ever had - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside - absolutely delicious. Immediately, I thought of the Orinda Olive Festival and what fun it would be to demonstrate this recipe at this year's event. Unfortunately, I could not be there, but the 7th Annual Olive Festival was a huge success, in any case.
"This year's event raised $10,000 to support outdoor environmental education for children and youth," said Kathy Barrett, a longtime volunteer for the Nature Area. "More than 400 attendees were treated to olive oil pressing by the Barrett brothers, while McCauley Olive Growers offered tastings of a variety of flavored olives and Berkeley Olive Growers of Oroville provided tastings of their award-winning olive oils."
Adults and children alike participated in olive games including an olive pit regatta, olive toss and pit spit challenge. And, of course tours of the Nature Center's heritage olive grove, planted by California's first Surveyor General, Theodore Wagner, in the 1880s, was well attended.
Wendy Shay of Herbs & Spices demonstrated how to make mini-olive brochettes, which was a real crowd pleaser. If you missed the festival this year, as I did, you can be on the lookout for the 8th Annual Olive Festival next October. Hopefully, I will be able to demonstrate the olive bagels at that event!

Cheddar-Olive Bagels

Dough 1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dark molasses
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 cups unbleached flour

Kettle Water 6 quarts water
1 teaspoon dark molasses
1 teaspoon salt

Toppings 1/2 cup Napolean brand sliced green olives
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Or, you can also use any of the following toppings:
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Finely chopped garlic
Finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Coarsely ground salt
1) Fill a large soup pot to within 2-3 inches of the top with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon molasses and 1 teaspoon salt. Turn down and simmer until ready to use.

2) Place yeast, sugar and water in a large bowl. Stir well and let stand, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes.

3) Stir in oil, molasses and one cup of flour. Mix well. Add salt and enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. (You may not need all of the flour.)

4) Knead dough for about 8-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for about 15 minutes.

5) Divide dough into 8 even pieces and roll between palms to form each into a 10-inch long strip. Form a circle and press ends together to make a whole circle. Be sure to make a good seam.

6) Place bagels on a lightly floured surface, cover and let bagels rest and rise for another 10-15 minutes. They will be slightly puffy.

7) Bring water back to a boil and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and sprinkle generously with cornmeal. Set aside.

8) Line another baking sheet or cutting board with a kitchen towel, for placing bagels on after boiling.

9) Place bagels in boiling water, two at a time, and boil for 45 seconds. Flip over with slotted spoon and continue to boil for another 45 seconds. Remove bagels from water and place on towel to drain. Repeat with remaining bagels.

10) When cool, transfer bagels to baking sheets and sprinkle toppings over each. I like to place the sliced olives on first, and then generously sprinkle grated cheddar on top. Okay, then maybe a few more olives on top of that!

11) Bake 15-20 minutes, or until bagels seem just baked inside and crispy on the outside.

12) Cool on wire rack.

These can be sliced and frozen for quick toasting later on.

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