Holey Satisfactory: My First Bagels
That's my pictogram for the day. It shows what I baked this morning: Real Bagels!
And they were goood!
It started with the croissants. Several people asked me what’s next now that I’ve made croissants. It got me to thinking about what’s missing from my repertoire.
I thought to myself, “Self!” [That’s what I call myself.] “Your life would be richer and more meaningful if you made bagels. Real bagels, like you couldn’t eat if you didn’t have good teeth.” [I do have good teeth.] “Or are you afraid?” [I am not afraid. I do have good teeth.]
So, after that cheeky challenge from my self, I had to bake real bagels.
I wish I could say I grew up eating really great bagels, but in truth, my youth was bereft of such bagels except on occasion when our cousins in Tarzana brought bagfuls from Western Bagel in Van Nuys. Later, when I started to travel to New York on business, I learned what it meant to eat a Real Old School Urban American Bagel. This is what I hoped to bake.
I looked to my usual sources for guidance—Peter Reinhart, Jeffrey Hamelman, David Snyder. I settled on the formula for Krakow Bagels from the soon-to-be-published “Inside the Jewish Bakery”, which David reported upon favorably (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18280/kraków-twisted-bagels). This formula—which doubtless will make Stan and Norm’s fortune-- has been published in The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748703794104575545843564259642-lMyQjAxMTAwMDEwMjExNDIyWj.html). The market was up that day.
After consulting TFL as to flour choices given my depleted stash of high gluten flour (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24717/need-advice-flour-bagels), I decided to supplement the Sir Lancelot with some KAF Bread Flour; it ended up being about 75% Sir Lancelot. I followed the formula, hand-mixing and then kneading, and kneading, and kneading the stiff dough… for about 18 minutes, ‘til it felt like it was ready and made a small window pane; and it threatened to make a small back pain too.
After dinner last night, my wife, Cat, and I divided the dough and shaped the pieces several ways—some rolled thin, then doubled and twisted per Stan and Norm’s directions; some just made into regular bagels. The twisty ones were a challenge. Cat made a couple that looked right, but mine were thin and too bracelety (my new word for the day). They retarded overnight and were boiled in honey water, seeded and baked this morning.
I have considered at length exactly how to describe the results, and have come up with the proper terminology: Yummmmm! These taste like, and have the texture of, Real Old School Urban American Bagels. Right after half-cooling, they had a nice crunch to the crust, and it took a good tooth-grip and a serious tug to get a bite. Good and chewy (even with only 75% high gluten flour).
They were delicious unadorned, and even better with cream cheese and kippered local King Salmon.
These bagels made a real meal. And, of course, a real meal needs dessert. So I also made some cinnamon roll sticky buns.
These were made using Floyd’s timeless recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2374/cinnamon-rolls), with the rolls laid on top of a layer of butter, cinnamon-brown sugar and pecan bits. Awesome second breakfast!
My wife loves anything with cinnamon, sugar and nuts. She said these cinnamon rolls came close to the ones she remembers from her junior high cafeteria, the ones that taunt her to this day. That made me happy (I mean...if any cinnamon roll is going to taunt her, shouldn't it be mine?)
What made me even happier is she said the bagels were even better than the cinnamon rolls. You have no idea how much she has to like these bagels to say that!
I guess bagels will be in my regular repertoire.Glenn