What initial reaction does Worm Salt Bagels elicit?
Worm salt or Sal de Gusano is exactly what it sounds like. Salt, mixed with dried chiles and ground worms. It is slightly smoky, a teensy bit spicy (depending on the brand you use) and adds a deep umami flavor to everything it touches. Don’t think about it too much and you’ll be fine.
My worm salt of choice is made via a collaboration between Jacobsen Salt Co. and Masienda. It is made with toasted pasilla chiles and has a mild heat and smoky flavor that enhances everything from Watermelon Margaritas to well…bagels.
Tips to Making Worm Salt Bagels
So once you’ve got your hands on some worm salt, the bagels are a pretty fun project. They start out like your basic bread dough; yeast, warm water, flour, salt. That true bagel flavor comes from barley malt syrup which may be a bit tricky to find so order it online or you can use brown sugar too.
The dough gets mixed, let it rise, and then shape into long ropes and bring them together for the traditional bagel shape. Try to use as little flour as possible during the shaping stage. The more flour you use, the tougher the end product will be.
Then it is time to boil the bagels— or really just simmer them—which creates that thin crust and delicious chewiness of an irresistible bagel.
Give it a try! Who cares if they don’t turn out perfect, they’ll still taste incredible. Especially topped with rajas or charred poblano chile cream cheese and thick slices of garden heirloom tomatoes.
For the Bagels:
- 1 3/4 cups warm water (about 105-110°F)
- 1 (7-gram) package dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 4 cups bread flour
- 3 tablespoons barley malt syrup or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon worm salt (sal de gusano) plus more for sprinkling on top
For the Rajas Cream Cheese:
- 1 poblano chile
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese
- Thick slices heirloom tomatoes
For the bagels:
- Combine water and yeast and let sit 10 minutes or until creamy and dissolved.
- Combine flour, malt syrup or brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add water mixture and mix on low with the dough hook attachment until combined. Increase speed to medium and knead 8 minutes. Check halfway through, if the dough seems dry add more water a couple tablespoons at a time, if it seems to wet add the same amount of flour. Dough should be slightly sticky but pull away from the sides of the bowl. It is better to have the dough too wet than too dry, you can always add more flour when you are shaping it into bagels.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 20 minutes, it may not double in size—that's okay.
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- Fill a deep, wide pan with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cover until bagels are ready. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and 1 more baking sheet with a wire rack. If you don't have three baking sheets, just put the wire rack on the counter.
- Remove dough from bowl and place on a clean work surface. Cut dough into 12 even pieces. and cover with a clean towel to prevent them from drying out. Take one piece at a time and form into a 9-inch long rope. Overlap the ends by 1 inch and pinch to seal. Stretch the hole in the middle to make it about the size of a quarter. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces then cover and let rest 10 minutes.
- Stretch 3 or 4 bagels to retain the quarter-sized hole and place into the simmering water. Simmer the bagels for 1 minute, then flip and simmer on the other side for 1 minute. Remove them to the baking sheet with a rack and sprinkle with worm salt. Repeat with remaining bagels.
- Transfer bagels to the parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes, rotate and bake 10 minutes more. Let cool 30 minutes before eating.
For the Cream Cheese:
- Char the skin of the poblano chile by placing directly over the open flame of a gas burner or under a broiler. Turn so all sides are charred. Remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool.
- Remove the charred skin, stem, and seeds. Chop into small dice and mix into the softened cream cheese.
- Cut bagel in half and spread with rajas cream cheese. Top with tomato slices and bon appetitos!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 245Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 63mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g
Got the Bagel Bug? Try this recipe too:
Ever tried Worm Salt? What’s your favorite way to eat it? Leave me a comment below!
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