Along with my own patch, I have a trapline of people in town who let me pick their rhubarb. I think most inherited their plants with their homes and just don’t use it.
After I harvest, I dice it up and vacuum pack in about 4 cup bags. The freezer is filling up with rhubarb. I’ve made jam with rhubarb alone, rhubarb and cherries, pies, and chutney. But after canning cases of all of these, the rhubarb still continues to grow in the freezer.
I started making bagels when the pandemic started. I’ve tried making bread many times in the past. I can do all of the mixing and kneading and rising with the bread, but bake time was always a wild card. The recipe might call for 50 minutes, and I’d pull the bread out then. When we’d go to eat it, it was soft in the middle. Probably needed 5 or 10 minutes more.
Bagels are different. You make the dough, let it rise a couple times, shape bagels, and let it rise again. The cooking part is alot more fool proof: First you boil, them you bake. The bagels are supposed to be chewy. And chewy is a big range. They always come out okay.
So, how to use the rhubarb. I’ve tried adding some to batches, and have gradually increased the amount of rhubarb. The last batch, I used 4.5 cups of flour with teaspoon of salt. 1 cup of sourdough starter with a 1.5 teaspoons of yeast, and 2 cups of rhubarb puree. The rhubarb puree is 2 cups of diced rhubarb with sugar sprinkled on top, baked in the toaster oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, and then pureed in the Vitamix.
I put the puree in the bottom of the kitchen aid bowl, then poured in the dry flour and salt, and then the sourdough starter with yeast, and mixed with the kitchen aid bread hook. I added a little water as the hook worked the dough as needed until it was just moist enough to form a mass of dough that looked right, then let it knead with the bread hook for 10 minutes or so.
I did two, ~ 2 hour rises of the dough, and it had a slight reddish hue from the rhubarb.
After the second rise, I made rings of dough, and put them on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and let them rise a bit longer.
On the stove, I put on about a gallon of water with a 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of baking soda to boil.
When the water was boiling, I boiled the bagels for a minute on each side, then put them on a rack drip dry.
I brushed the tops of them with egg white wash, put them on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, and baked them for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.
The bagels came out nice and chewy, and you can’t tell or really taste the rhubarb.
I’m going to try to increase the rhubarb volume to 3 cups for the next batch and see how that goes.