Many years ago, I used to go with you and other friends on Sunday mornings to the Hot Bagels and Bialys on Main Street, often before it was open for business. We were just there waiting, hoping to be the first to grab one of those freshly baked bagels, as if they were going to run out any time soon. That's when my love for those crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside 'rings' started to grow. My favorite was cinnamon raisin. Those were the moments of our young lives. It's been a long time since then, yet it feels like it happened only yesterday, as those scenes still vividly come to my mind and leap up before my eyes. Sadly, today I can only seek scenes of you in my memory only.
The news of your passing came too suddenly. I'm still in disbelief that you're no longer with us. It probably would be easier for me to think you've only arrived at a subway transfer station, be it Grand Central or Forest Hills, and you've gotten off the train and made a transfer without us this time.
"Uncle Alan", as my kids would call you; you're a kind-hearted, intelligent individual, a great dancer, and a competitive tennis player. If our paths ever cross again, I promise I'll make you delicious sourdough bagels that we never had at the bagel shop and we'll hustle again at Dance New York. Shalom and Kol Tuv, my dear friend. Thank you for leaving all the wonderful memories behind. My thoughts will always be with you.
This entry and this bake are dedicated to my long-time, beloved friend, who consummated his journey of life in May, 2010.
Bagels produced in this batch did not only possess the characteristic combination of crunchiness and chewiness you would normally expect from a decent, fresh bagel, but they also had these robust flavors that you can't find in a regular bagel, largely due to the multiple levains and mix of flours used in this formula. My family enjoyed them very much. If my friend were still around, I'm sure he'd love them, too.
Bagels are one of the relatively labor-intensive bread projects that I've been trying to avoid. The scaling, shaping and rests in between take up considerably more time than shaping a simple boule. Much to my disgust, the prices of the Guisto high protein flours used have either doubled or tripled at retail since last year. The cost of these bagels, in terms of labor (billable hours) and ingredients, is sky-rocketing and way beyond any economic justification. However, cherishing the memories of an old friend and experiencing the gratification of successfully meeting a new bread challenge, like they say in the Visa/Master commercial, are 'priceless.'
A summary of the formula and procedures is as follows:
Here are some photos: