Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bread #3 - Bagels

Not bad looking! And mighty tasty!

Whew! I can finally post about my bagels! It's the end of the school year, so it is totally crazy, bordering on the insane!

I began the bagel adventure with the sponge on Sunday afternoon and had great success with that. Unfortunately, though I only skimmed the recipe and did not see the part about "retarding" the bread in the fridge overnight until late Sunday night. But I really wanted to try a bagel! Ah, ha! I thought ! I'll bake two of them off tonight, retarding the rest for tomorrow. Thankfully it was Memorial Day, so I would have the time.

I boiled and baked the two, finally getting to eat one around midnight. While a bit frumpy in appearance, the taste was unbelievable! Much better than any bagels I've had in a really long time. This was the taste I remembered from my first bagels as a child.

Next morning, I couldn't wait to bake the rest, but I made myself work out first. (It is clear that I need to workout six days a week, if I am to make it through this challenge without turning into the "two tons of fun!")

I thought it would be fun to create a little photo essay of my journey, having been inspired by my fellow "breadonistas."

The first picture is how they looked post "retardation," just coming out of the fridge:

The next one is during the boiling stage:

They reminded me of gigantic dumplings at this stage.

Here they are post boil:

And in the Oven

Fresh and Hot out of the Oven

The finished product, ready to enjoy with a cup of tea:

And then there's the art:

Still Life #1

The roses are from my garden (another passion).

Still Life #2

This was, for me, a truly adventurous bread to make. I had attempted to make bagels once before, more than 25 years ago, and they were such a disaster that I decided I'd rather buy them than go through all that angst again. I therefore made this lastest attempt with a bit of trepidation and was more than a little nervous when they were not looking like some of my fellow BBA challengers' finished products. Thankfully, they looked a lot better when they came out of the oven, and they tasted like the real thing. Since I had baked those two the night before, I could compare them with the ones that had been in the fridge overnight to see if there really was a benefit to the slow rise and retardation. There is. In fact, it is a remarkable difference. They looked way better and had far more flavor too. I'd say the adventure was a resounding success! Given that they were not hard to make at all, I can't imagine settling for those imposter bagels ever again.

I'm beginning to understand Peter Reinhart's "slow rise as metaphor" philosophy. I may have to read that book too. Who knows where that road may lead?


  1. Great job on the bagels. Glad to be baking with you. Hope you continue to enjoy the journey.

  2. Very nice bagels! And I really enjoyed your write up. Oh, and your roses are beautiful!

  3. Great job.. and great post. Aren't you proud of your accomplishment? They look lovely.

  4. Nice photos. Your bagels look great.
    Great baking with you,

  5. Thanks for experimenting on my behalf. I wanted to know if the overnight rest in the fridge really makes that big a difference and you answered that question for me. See, sometimes it pays not to read the recipe carefully.

    Your bagels look great.

  6. Thanks for everyone's comments. It's great to be baking with all of you, too. We're learning so much, and I am having so much fun with this!

  7. I know that you must be a great teacher because you are so great at making those bagels. They look AMAZING!!!!! I swear, I would give anything to bake with someone as talentd as you. Just tell me one thing. Are you single? And where did you get that book?

  8. First work out ... or I'll be turning into the "two tons of fun!" How wonderful ;)
    Great write up. It's fabulous that you're having so much fun with this. I love all breads baking!

  9. They look like they turned out really wonderfully! I really love your roses from your garden too! They remind me of the yellow roses that used to grow under my bedroom window growing up.

  10. Beautiful bagels and gorgeous roses and somehow they make the perfect combo. Your bagels turned out just great. I had fun making these too. Something a little different!