Monday, May 14, 2012

Ooo OO! I made bagels!


Start with the pizza dough formula, and add a heaping tablespoon of dark brown sugar. Knead it well and let it rise at room temperature for about an hour and a half, until the air will whoosh out of it when you poke it. Don't knead it, just deflate it.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 and bring one or two large pans of water to a boil. Start squeezing the air out of the dough the way you would if you had hand washed a cashmere sweater: firmly, working in one direction, with no twisting. You'll feel the air popping out like bubble wrap. The dough will work out into a long rope, and when it's about 3/4" thick, wrap the end around your hand and pinch/tear the dough into a loop.

Set them on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, then slip them into the boiling water. Don't crowd too many in a pan, they should float freely. Boil them for about 3 or 4 minutes, gently flipping them over from time to time. Fish them out by sticking a chopstick through their holes, arrange them on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

You have no idea how exciting I find this. I am starting to feel like a real baker, not, you know, a person who shambles through recipes and then quietly eats the evidence later.

These are easy. They have to be, for me to get excited about them. There are several steps, but none of them are complicated. Here are some tips though:

1. Don't worry if the dough rings are lumpy. As they rise, they smooth out a lot. Dough does that.
2. Don't stretch the dough very much when making the rings, or the holes in the middles will close up. It's gotta have a hole to be a bagel.
3. Do put sprinkles on them. I used roasted garlic chips, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and salt. I wish I'd had some caraway seed, but that can happen next time. Slop some seeds and stuff on them just before they go in the oven, they're quite sticky when they come out of the water.
4. Traditionally, bagels are small. This recipe makes about 10 bagels.
5. I put a light shake of coarse cornmeal on the pan. This helps to prevent sticking.


I was so geeked out about these that I immediately jumped on my new bicycle and went to the store for some stinky fish, cream cheese and capers. Ok, so partly I was looking for a reason to ride my new bike, but whatever.

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