Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bagels: Daring Bakers June

June marks my first Daring Baker's Challenge and this month, Jenny of All Things Edible and Freya of Writing at the Kitchen Table chose Real Honest Jewish Purist's Bagels. I've made a few yeasted baked goods before so I was fairly comfortable with the idea of making bagels. I was ready to break out the KitchenAid for another bout of effortless kneading. That is until I found out we had to knead by hand. To be honest I don't really know how to properly knead by hand so it was definitely a little intimidating. I'm extremely reliant on my KitchenAid, perhaps too reliant. It was something I saved up for and bought many years ago as a teenager and is my most prized kitchen possession. But knowing how to knead by hand is definitely a good skill to know for a baker so I left the beloved mixer alone in the corner and rolled up my sleeves to attack the dough. I made half the recipe because I was afraid of having too many bagels. I'm a little glad I only made half the recipe because the dough was quite stiff and definitely gave me an upper body workout with all the kneading. In fact my right side was even sore the next day! The downside of only making half the recipe is that the bagels were oh soooo delicious and unfortunately making half the recipe meant only 8 bagels, which were quickly devoured in 1.5 days.

The recipe can be found here.

The rules this month:
- Toppings should be savory and nothing should be added to the bagel dough itself.
- Bagels can be filled with anything your heart desires. They tasted delicious plain so I didn't add anything.

Some recipe notes:
I used King Arthur's bread flour, instant yeast, clover honey in the dough, and sugar in the water. Next time, I will only use 1 packet of yeast (2 1/4 tsp) for 4 C of bread flour rather than the 2 Tbsp stated in the recipe.

I kneaded for about 15 minutes and left it alone to rise. Then I reread the recipe and it said the dough should be smooth and elastic. My dough wasn't smooth or elastic so I was worried I underkneaded. But I forged ahead with the rest of the recipe and luckily they turned out okay.

The dough rose extremely quickly. In order to avoid bready bagels, you want to really punch down the dough. I mean REALLY punch it down.

Making the bagels
I used the hole method to make the bagels (making a disc then poking a hole in the middle then stretching it out a little for an even bagel). I was afraid the "snake" method would uncoil in the water. Don't worry if the bagels aren't very pretty, mine were all uneven and lumpy.

Floaters or sinkers?
Although the recipe stated that the bagels should at first sink in the simmering water then float, like many other Daring Bakers, all of my bagels floated immediately as they hit the water.

In the end I made five different bagels: plain, sesame seed, poppy seed, Parmesan, and pizza (leftover tomato sauce and some mozzarella). After the initial 25 minutes in the oven, I noticed the pizza ones were getting a little dark so I move the sheet from the middle rack to the lower middle rack (I didn't flip the bagels over). I used pretoasted sesame seeds on the bagels and I was afraid they would burn in the oven but they turned out fine.

You can visit all my fellow Daring Bakers (links on the righthand sidebar) and see what toppings they put on their bagels.

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