Saturday, May 30, 2009

bagels - bread baker's apprentice challenge #3

Bagels. Oh what sweet memories I have and how jaded I've become. When the family picked up and moved to Orleans in the 80's, I really had no idea about most of our countries culinary tastes. Bagels I would soon find out, weren't the 'buns with holes' we were used to having out West. They are individually shaped and fired in a wood oven with a healthy dose of kosher love. Eating these bagels for the first time was like an explosion of carbohydrate goodness. Truly, if you haven't had Montreal style is a must.

The hardest part of this recipe was tracking down barley malt powder. I've encountered quite a few recipes over the past few years that ask for this ingredient and I've always strayed away from them; not having any in the pantry. The house was left in gloom as, I couldn't locate any at the grocery stores or health food stores on day one. But, day two of the search lead me to the Bosch Kitchen Center and it was here I found my malt powder unicorn.

The bagels mix together like any other recipe; the hydration level being the biggest difference. The drier dough is needed to give that dense bagel texture. The KA mixer was brought into service and even the 325 watts of pure KA power didn't like the recipe. So I ended up kneading some of the dough by hand and some in the mixer. These are a serious workout.

Left to hang out for a few hours and relax, the next step was to shape 4.5 oz balls and rest again. After 30 minutes, I pushed my thumb through and rotated until I had the requisite 2 1/2 inch opening. Sprayed with oil and resting yet once again, the bagels stay this way until they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into luke warm water. For me, this was another 20 minutes. The bagels then get wrapped and spend a night in the refrigerator. I just happen to have room, but I can picture those small apartment fridges just not up to the task, so think about space before attempting the recipe.

Peter mentions boiling them for 1 - 2 minutes aside, depending how chewy you like your bagel. Doing 6 at 1, and 6 at 2, I'll be sure to stay on the quicker side next time. The taste almost identical when fresh, but once cooled and rested for a night the chewiness really develops. I topped half of the batch with poppy seeds and sea salt, with the other half getting black and white roasted sesame seeds along with the sea salt. Finally after two days and all of these steps; we are finally ready to bake!

The bagels are good. They are the best bagels I've ever made, although I've never attempted such an elaborate recipe. I know they went over well, because Pops devoured most of these before I could make a sandwich, or my child hood favorite, with melted cheese. They definitely have a great texture and if they didn't require so much time, I would consider putting these into regular rotation. Now if only I could sneak in some wood flavoring...but first I have to find a place where I could hide them! ^--^


Sarah said...

You can hid them in my kitchen! :)

Sarah said...

::this post brought to you by LOLcats::

Cream said...

I am in total awe. They look amazing!

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