Monday, August 30, 2010

Bagels!

Pooky loves bagels. I think it is because he was born in Brooklyn and raised there until he was about 5 years old. Bagels are in his blood, if not his DNA. So when I decided to take on the challenge of yeast doughs, bagel making was inevitable.

I used the bagel formula from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. (Thanks to Google, I haven't yet had to buy the book.) Also, there's a group of devotees to the book who do baking challenges, so I've scoured blogs a-plenty to see how to make these circles of love. (I love Brown Eyed Baker's post about making the bagels.)

I halved the recipe, making a total of 6 bagels, divided as three salt and three onion. The recipe is a two day process. On the first day I made the sponge and shaped the bagels. They get put in the fridge overnight, then the following day they are boiled and then baked.

The sponge, freshly mixed


The sponge is nice and bubbly, ready to be made into dough


Shaped bagels, ready for a chilly night in the fridge


One helpful thing is to have a sturdy Kitchen-Aid mixer to knead the dough. Not all Kitchen-Aid mixers are alike, some more powerful than others. Thankfully, my dad gifted me with one that can handle bagel dough. (The dough is very stiff and so hand kneading would be a great work-out.) Periodically I performed a window-pane test to make sure the dough was coming together nicely.

Some people recommend adding enough malt syrup to the boiling water to make it tea colored, others recommend baking soda. I did add the baking soda, but not the malt syrup. The reason being is that having too many variables at once makes it harder to determine what effect a particular ingredient has on the final product. I will try both additives next time, as I would have liked my bagels to have a darker, more carmelized exterior.

I'm not sure where in the second half of the process, but it seems my bagels lost some loft. The holes should have filled in more, and they should have had more loft. Mine were flatter than loftier. I also think that my oven doesn't get hot enough, so I will have to adjust baking times. However...the taste was truly, wonderfully bagel! As far as flavor, texture, and chewy, that part was perfect!

Pooky figured out how much it costs for me to make bagels at home versus buying them, and it looks like I'll have plenty of chances to develop my mad bagel making skills.

Fresh from the oven bagels!

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