Great British Bake Off Challenge: Cheddar Cheese & Caramelised Onion Bagels

Anyone who knows me will tell you I love The Great British Bake Off. For any readers overseas, it's a brilliant programme on the BBC that basically consists of baking challenges where one contestant is kicked off every week. 

I applied for this years show but sadly did not get through so I decided to set myself a little weekly bake off challenge. I'm about a week late as they started with cakes last week but this week's theme was 'breads' and the final challenge was bagels so here we are with cheddar and caramelised onion bagels.

They're pretty rustic to look at so I'm not sure how impressed Paul Hollywood would have been but they taste yummy. 

I love love love bagels...toasted with cream cheese, tomatoes and a sprinkle of black pepper mmhmm. 

They aren't too complicated to make. I mixed my onions and cheese in after letting the dough prove when I really think I should have mixed it in at the beginning. They still came out great, they just probably would have been smoother if I'd have mixed the filling in earlier. 

The beauty of this challenge is that I get to learn how to make things I'd never make and how to bake better. I'm excited to see what the upcoming bakes will be. 

Have you been watching the Great British Bake Off? Have you had a go at anything they've done so far?

Cheddar Cheese & Caramelised Onion Bagels
(Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson 'How to be a Domestic Goddess')

1 kg of strong white flour, plus more as necessary for kneading
1 tablespoon of salt
7g of easy yeast or 15g of fresh yeast
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
500ml warm water, plus more as needed
2 tablespoon of malt or sugar, for poaching the bagels
2-3 baking sheets, oiled or greased
1 and a half large white onion, finely chopped
150g grated mature cheddar cheese

  1. Start by cooking your onion over a medium heat until soft, brown and caramelised. Set to one side to cool.
  2. Combine the flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl, add the sugar and the oil to the water. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid, onions and cheese, mixing to a dough with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  3. Knead the dough either by hand or with dough hook, trying to add more flour if you can, dough is better drier than wetter, the dough will be stiff and hard work, even with the dough hook it takes 10 minutes.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and put it into an oiled bowl, turning once to coat all around, then cover the bowl with cling film and leave it to rise for 1 hour. It should be well risen, and when you poke it with your finger , the impression should remain.
  5. Punch the dough down and then give a good knead and divide into 3 pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a rope then cut each rope into 5 pieces. 
  6. There are two methods for shaping the bagels, I shaped each of the 5 pieces into a ball and poked a hole through the middle with my thumb, then smoothed round the sides. The other method is to roll each piece between the palms of your hands into a ball and then roll into another rope, curling to form ring. Seal the ends by overlapping. I do find that the ends can sometimes come apart when poaching though in this method.
  7. Put on a large pan of water to boil, when it boils add the malt or the sugar.
  8. Sit the bagels on the baking sheets cover with tea towels and leave for 20 minutes by which times they should be puffy. Preheat oven to 240C.
  9. When the waters boiling, start poaching, drop a couple of bagels at a time into the boiling water and boil for 1 minute turning them once, use a couple of spatulas for this.
  10. As you poach them put them back onto the oiled baking sheets, well spaced and then bake for 10-15 minutes until they’re shiny and golden brown. Check them at 10 minutes, especially with a fan oven.