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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bagels... Bageljacks... Bagelcakes.. Bageldiscs..

Hey Hey! It's that time of the month again.. The Daring Baker June Challenge post! WOO! Have you missed us??

Ya'll might guess from the subject of this post, that this month's DB challenge didn't go so swell for me. Imagine that, eh?

Before I get into this kitchen disaster, I want to stress to ya'll that this was NOT the recipe's fault (meaning this recipe is NOT possessed by Beelzebub).. this recipe, when executed properly, will give you big beautiful bagels. And the best tasting bagels you've ever had. Even when you totally screw up, your bagels will still be so flavorful! Flat as pancakes.. but still wayyyyy yummy! ;)

This particular kitchen disaster did not come with exploding batter, aliens invading my kitchen, or a need to start drinking heavily half way through.. I believe this is a good recipe - an excellent recipe actually.. especially if you are a more advanced baker with lots of experience in using yeast and working with dough. BUT, for someone like myself who is not at all familiar with making bread or other yeast doughs, I believe it's a recipe that you really need to make twice. Once to make all your mistakes and take notes.. and the second time to produce amazing bagels. I'd call this recipe and excellent "teaching" recipe. Seriously, I learned A LOT about yeast and dough this month. And that's what it's all about, eh? =) I haven't made my 2nd batch yet - but I will, you can be assured. And I am confident that my next batch will be perfect.

This month's challenge was hosted by our lovely, Jenny of All Things Edible, and the beautiful Freya of Writing At The Kitchen Table. They decided that June would be a month we step away from the sugar and dive right into the savory. Real Honest Jewish Purist's Bagels is the recipe they chose and a fine recipe and choice it was. I was tickled when I saw what we'd be making because I am so afraid of working with yeast. My only experience with it is my Auntie's pizza dough, which I make a few times a year. So badly I want to be the kind of gal who makes her own bread items every week. There is NOTHING like fresh bread, is there? So yeah, the thought of working with yeast and having all the support the wonderful Daring Bakers give backing me up - I knew I'd at least get a lil closer to feeling comfortable working with yeast & dough.

And they did not disappoint! The support was amazing - thank you everyone!

Plain flat bagel
A plain Bageljack

No, my bagels did not turn out well in the looks department. They ended up being flat as pancakes and/or flapjacks and/or compact discs, etc. But like I said, they were the best tasting bagels I've ever had - and I've had a lot of bagels. I feel I know why mine did not turn out though.. and it's much more than my just being a moron. ha!

The recipe says and I'll quote here:

"Soon you should have a nice stiff dough. It will be quite elastic, but heavy and stiffer than a normal bread dough. Do not make it too dry, however... it should still give easily and stretch easily without tearing."

I obviously don't know what a normal bread dough feels like, so I kinda guessed.. meaning I stopped adding flour once the dough stopped being sticky.

Mistake No. 1

I should have kept incorporating the flour until I used up the whole 8 cups the recipe called for. Instead I think I stopped at around 6.5 - 7 cups. Ohhh it was flexible alright.. but not very heavy or stiff. In fact it was quite soft.

After you knead the dough you put it into a lightly greased bowl and allow it to double in size.. my pizza dough takes about an hour to double.. therefore I didn't even check my bagel dough until an hour had passed. Ooops! I should have realized that the FOUR TABLESPOONS of yeast might quicken that rise time just a tad.. as you can see, she not only doubled - but I believe she tripled and/or quadrupled. hahaha!

Mistake No. 2

Bagel dough Bagel dough doubled? tripled?
Yes that is cat food/water bowls you see.. No she did not jump up on the dryer while the dough was rising - covered - because I was running the dryer, which scares the bejebus out of her. MUAHAHAA!

Check your dough after 20-30 minutes - don't let it rise too much.

After your dough doubles in size, you are to punch it down.. and where this recipe says "punch" it's not kidding. You really need to punch most of the air out of it.. this step was great in relieving some tension from a chaotic week at work. ;) After you punch it down, you divide it up into 15 (I got way more than 15) hunks o'dough, to which you will shape into bagels. There are two methods to shaping.. the first being the "dough-centric" method.. where you make a long cylindrical "snake" of dough and wrap it around your hand into a loop and then mash the ends together. The other is the "hole-centric" method, where you shape the dough into a rough sphere, then poke a hole through the middle with a finger and then pull at the dough around the hole to make the bagel.

I went with the "hole-centric" method. Although I do not feel this is a mistake, as it obviously works for many people, I think I would have been better off going the "snake" route as it would have helped to push out even more air.

'kay once that's done, you let them sit for about 10 minutes. They will begin to rise slightly. Ideally, they will rise by about one-fourth volume... a technique called "half-proofing" the dough. By the time I had finished shaping my last bagel, my first bagels had sat for closer to 15 minutes. They did not rise by 1/4th volume. They easily doubled in size.

bagels formed, rising and looking under the weather bagels formed and rising
Just shaped / On their way to raw bagel balloons

Mistake No. 3

The next time I make these bagels, and I will, I will work with sections of the dough, keeping the unused dough in my fridge. I will only work with enough dough for about 4 bagels and I will shape them, let them sit for a few minutes and then throw them into their water "bath" to cook. I will not even touch the rest of the dough until those boiled bagels have been set on a clean towel to cool. Which brings me to -

Mistake No. 3A

Work in small batches (especially if you are baking these on a high humidity day) from the shaping to the boiling steps. Not only did my bagels "half proof" way longer than they should before hitting the boiling water, but they proofed MUCH TOO LONG after that as they were sitting there getting bigger and bigger on my counter waiting for their turn in the water.. Small batches, kids.. small batches.

Another thing to keep in mind is - once your bagels hit the boiling water, they should drop to the bottom of the pot and then slowly and "gracefully" (hee!) rise to the top. The recipe says if they do not sink and only float, you will get a more "bready" bagel. Mine were all floaters - and I don't know why that is.. maybe it's because I didn't get out enough air? I have no idea. But my bagels did not turn out more "bready" regardless. hehee

bagels drowning (or wishing they were) Sad sad mf'in bagel like blobs
Wrinkly prune-like floaters / Sad, sad mf'in bagel like blobs

From the boiling water, you set them on clean towels and once they are cool enough to handle you transfer them to a cookie sheet that has been dusted with corn meal. It's at this point where you can add your toppings if you so desire. I desired. I made 1/2 doz. plain, then 3 sesame, 6 with sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic and fresh basil and 6 brushed with a pear/cinnamon jelly that I melted and topped with cinnamon sugar. (as if I could go all savory!)

Befores of tasty sundried tomato, roasted garlic & basil bagels

Mistake No. 4

Baked & burnt sundried tomato/garlic/basil

Only use toppings that won't burn to lil charcoal crisps. Sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil will turn into charred pieces of squickiness when baked on top of a bagel - next time, they'll go in the dough! (we weren't allowed to add anything to the bagel dough on our first batch, to keep them in check with the Real Honest Jewish Purist people, but we could go crazy on subsequent batches that I just didn't get to yet)

Baked bagels!
Behold! My bevy of Bageljacks! All crispy on the outside, chewy and warm on the inside - fresh from the oven.. SO GOOD.

Unfortunately, the next day they were so rubbery that I couldn't even pull a piece off to gnaw on. So I had to chuck them. Hubbs, the omniscient baking God (he can barely toast bread) said it was because I stored them in ziplock plastic bags over night and that I should have just left them out. I dunno, maybe he was right.. course I won't be admitting that to him anytime soon. *evil gril*

And so it is with mucho grande thanks to Jenny and Freya for hosting a fabulous challenge! And to all my fellow DB friends - your unwaning support is the ONLY THING that gets me through some of these challenges.. I thank you kindly. =)

'kay.. git! Go check out everyone else's posts! There are plenty to see - we keep growing bigger and better with each and every passing month!

xoxo

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Comments on "Bagels... Bageljacks... Bagelcakes.. Bageldiscs.."

 

Anonymous veron said ... (6/27/2007 8:17 AM) : 

eh?! We must be on the same brain waves when we made this, Sis. Mine looks exactly like yours! I think we shared the same mistakes that's why we ended up with similar looking bagels. They were kinda scary in the "water bath" weren't they?
I agree they were really tasty. I kept mine in a paper bag overnight and although they were chewy the next day...they were still edible.

 

Blogger Amanda at Little Foodies said ... (6/27/2007 8:45 AM) : 

I love your catalogued list of mistakes! I think I had some beginners luck, hence I don't want to make them again or I know I'll screw them up! This post made me laugh so much. Thank you!

 

Blogger Baking Soda said ... (6/27/2007 8:54 AM) : 

I know I have to make them again. I will. As soon as I'm recovered from this one.
As always enjoyed yr tale... and the cat's bowl, TG I'm not the only one that uses non-food designated stuff in the kitchen!

 

Blogger Helen said ... (6/27/2007 9:02 AM) : 

So now I get a visual of what was going on over the phone...cool...These could make great croutons or breadcrumbs!

 

Blogger Ilva said ... (6/27/2007 9:09 AM) : 

But the taste is the most important part isn't it? They look as if the need more flour so next time you will as you say yourself make the most perfect bagels the world has ever seen! xxx

 

Blogger Cheryl said ... (6/27/2007 9:20 AM) : 

Oh Lis, I am so sorry you had so much trouble. I love the ideas you had for the toppings. I hope you do try them again, as I think they will come out great the next time.

 

Blogger breadchick said ... (6/27/2007 9:39 AM) : 

Lis, I am so proud of you for digging right in on the whole yeast thing. As your yeast and flour counselor I'd say you are ready for a nice loaf of cheese bread! Great job!!! I'd eat one of your bagel jacks.

 

Blogger Meeta said ... (6/27/2007 10:31 AM) : 

Oh Lis! You are the best. This was a great post and even if the bagels did not turn out well, kudos to you for listing down what went wrong. It will be a valuable post for bagel beginners (like me).
As always you cracked me up!

 

Blogger Kelly-Jane said ... (6/27/2007 11:07 AM) : 

I sympathise with the non-looker bagels, I so wanted mine to be pretty, wah! Great post lis :)

 

Blogger Patricia Scarpin said ... (6/27/2007 11:16 AM) : 

You crack me up, Lis - I think the toppings sound promising, they tricked you into using them! :)

 

Blogger Laura said ... (6/27/2007 12:01 PM) : 

Best...post...ever...! I'm sorry Im too busy giggling and my little one thinks I'm a total looney! Let me know when your making them again, I'll join in!

 

Blogger Deborah said ... (6/27/2007 12:24 PM) : 

I do have to say that your post is definitely the most entertaining!! I can't stop laughing....At least I will know how to make bagels now!!

 

Blogger kellypea said ... (6/27/2007 12:30 PM) : 

Lis -- Another riot! And that picture with the tomatoes -- ooooo-eeee.
I've been thinking about the topping thing. I'll bet they (professional bagglers) put the stuff on right before they're done. And then they have 10 arms to get the stuff on there before the bagels are out of the oven too long. Or something.

 

Anonymous gilly said ... (6/27/2007 1:39 PM) : 

LOL - Aw, Lis if only you weren't already married to Hubbs... ;)

I absolutely loved your post, and appreciate all of your observations. You have the best attitude of any one I know!

With all of this experience, I just know your 2nd batch will be a bevy of mf'in perfection!

 

Anonymous The Cooking Ninja said ... (6/27/2007 1:42 PM) : 

I enjoy your post very much.:)

 

Blogger Mary said ... (6/27/2007 3:01 PM) : 

Amusing and entertaining as always Lis. Hey, I didn't see a single swear word in your post. =)

 

Blogger Jerry said ... (6/27/2007 3:14 PM) : 

I think I found my mistakes in your list of missteps. Defiantly going to take them into account.

 

Blogger Elle said ... (6/27/2007 5:00 PM) : 

Your posts bring a smile no matter what. Thanks for that. The bageljacks are an unusual breed, but I bet the second round will be puffy and cute. Thanks also for your part in 'creating' the Daring Bakers... a stellar group as individualistic as bagels (or is that snowflakes?)

 

Blogger Callipygia said ... (6/27/2007 5:56 PM) : 

Is it bad or plain rude that I can't stop laughing just looking at them? They look so full of character! Love you.

 

Blogger JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said ... (6/27/2007 9:16 PM) : 

The taste is what matters right? The sun dried tomatoes and basil looked beautiful in the before oven shot! :)

 

Anonymous Marce said ... (6/27/2007 10:36 PM) : 

Hilarious as usual, Lis. They might be flat, but just think, you can send them to Peabody for her hockey matches, she will be forever grateful!

 

Blogger Quellia said ... (6/27/2007 10:54 PM) : 

You tell Hubs he is wrong - real bagel places give you plastic bags to store them in, so a ziploc works just fine! (No idea why your bagels weren't good the next day though.)
I can't wait to see what your next batch looks like! Send me a pic when you do please? :-)

 

Blogger Sara said ... (6/28/2007 12:24 AM) : 

My bagels got huge too, in that half proofing. I just smacked them around until they were smaller. And mine looked exactly the same during the boiling too! Great idea with the toppings - every one was wayyyyy more creative in that than I was!

 

Anonymous Ivonne said ... (6/28/2007 12:30 AM) : 

Oh my goodness! This post is so funny. I love how you labelled your mistakes ... 3A ... too funny!!!

Listen, I think they look wonderful and I love the toppings you chose!

 

Blogger sher said ... (6/28/2007 1:16 AM) : 

Yummers! That dried tomato topping is to die for! I was lucky that I saw the Daring Baker advice about using all 8 cups of the flour. I might not have done so otherwise. These bagels are simply fabulous!

 

Blogger Peabody said ... (6/28/2007 2:35 AM) : 

Mine got super stale the next day so I made them into savory bread pudding. Excellent tip about not using basil and sun dried tomatoes since those tend to get charred...you are always too funny.

 

Blogger Brilynn said ... (6/28/2007 9:47 AM) : 

Ah lis, the crispy sundried tomato bagels look like they're covered in bugs! Yes I know, that's know something you want anywhere near food, but it was funny to me...

 

Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said ... (6/28/2007 12:58 PM) : 

Now wait just a cotton picken minute here Lis, did you throw out my comment or was I laughing too hard to remember to leave it. Because I did read this yesterday and I would have sworn I left you a little comment but it does seem to be missing. Therefore I am really left to conclude that I was laughing too hard, suffered some anoxia and forgot to click on publish and went on my merry way.
Soooooo . . .
Great and funny post, really like the way you list it by mistakes (only you) and since I now have the benefit of seeing your next post in responce to Brilynn comment, I'm struck by your
Behold! My bevy of Bageljacks!
it makes me think a bevy is some kind of an insect hive isn't it. You must have know.
Loved it. Thanks once again. Sorry about my lapse.

 

Anonymous Amy said ... (6/28/2007 2:59 PM) : 

I loved the visual of the before and after dough rising. Sundried tomato and basil in the bagel dough sounds really yummy, I'll have to do that next time.

 

Anonymous Steen said ... (6/28/2007 3:29 PM) : 

What fun! I'm enjoying your blog and I must say the bagels look fabulous. I'm going to have to try my hand at making them sometime soon. =)

 

Blogger Morven said ... (6/28/2007 5:01 PM) : 

Sorry sweetie but those bagels are so ugly only a mother could love them but hey, taste is what matters in the end.

 

Blogger Glenna said ... (6/29/2007 7:13 AM) : 

That's a good thought about storage. I stored mine in ziplocks too but in the store they just throw them in big bagel bins...
I like your crispy little charred tomato and basil bits! They're cute.

 

Blogger KJ said ... (6/29/2007 8:01 AM) : 

Great post Lis. It made me laugh. You had fun and they tasted great. By any definition that's a rip roaring success.

 

Blogger Kirsten said ... (6/30/2007 3:24 AM) : 

Lis!!! You are SOO brave, and this post is SO darling!!

I will, quite proudly, accept that I am not brave or daring, and buy bagels. :)

They look yummy - and you deserve lots of credit for trying this recipe!!!

xoxo,

Kirsten

 

Blogger CollyWolly said ... (6/30/2007 5:55 PM) : 

Another fantasmagorically succussful post Lis, you are sooooo funny girl - & cute!! We have now all learned from your mistakes thank you very much! I also thought that I could make out a bug or two on the dried tomato bits bagel then lo and behold when I openend up your blog this evening to see what Bri had written and how you had marked all the bugs on your buggaloobagel I was in absolute hysteria...again!!! It's becoming a habit that hubbs has to come see what on earth I can find so funny on a blog........ :)

 

Blogger SteamyKitchen said ... (7/08/2007 9:28 AM) : 

Holy shit! Those bagels need a facial!
;=)

 

Blogger prof said ... (7/16/2007 11:30 AM) : 

hello
vous pouvez mettre vos infos sur jewisheritage.fr
shalom

 

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