Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Bagels - Daring Bakers June Challenge


I have made bread maybe 4 or 5 times so far, and I haven’t really enjoyed it, so when my (now almost gone) gluten intolerance came along I ditched any bread making attempts, with almost a smile.




Hubble bubble!

I’ve seen many really top notch bread on fellow bloggers’ sites, and have always thought mmm, really good, but not for me. Recently though when I received Baking with Julia and read the lifelong driving passion of some amazingly dedicated bread bakers I felt the stirrings of interest in baking my own crust and crumb again. The pictures made it look quite fun. So I thought to myself I think I should give it at least one more try, and when the June Challenge for the Daring Bakers was announced to make bagels I thought well it’s going to be sooner rather than later!



Yeasty mix and flour ready to be combined.

Bagels originated in either Austria or Poland. The story goes that the original bagel or should I say bugel was first baked by a baker in Vienna for the King to celebrate his triumph of saving the city from invaders. The original was in the shape of a stirrup or ‘bugel’ in German. In Poland bagels were given to new Mothers to symbolise the circle of life. They were introduced to the countries that most of us now associate with bagels by Jewish immigrants. (my source for this history is The Best of Better Baking.com by Marcy Goldman and Yvan Huneault).




Kneaded and ready to rise.

The word bagel speaks to me of leaden wheat-y circles, that are pretty hard to swallow! I tried shop bought – supermarket as opposed to baker’s artisan bread – with much glee as a teenager first and thought they were pretty horrible. I gave them another go a few years ago, but still this bread was not to be my friend. So it was with much trepidation that I started the challenge. I buoyed myself up with the never forgotten images from a TV programme from inside a Jewish bakery in New York city. What I remember is bagels in a large vat of water floating to the top, before being scooped out and placed on trays. The other thing I remember is equally large amounts of boiling oil for latkes, but that’s a different story.


Risen and ready to be formed.

So a bageling I went. They are a bit labour intensive to make, but it’s all different steps, so it’s not monotonous – well except for the boiling of the rings.



Post boiling

I was (even as a decidedly non-expert bread baker) pretty surprised by the amount of yeast – 4 tablespoons! I tried to reckon this against the other recipes I have in books and I wonder if it should have been 4 teaspoons? I stuck with the recipe though and had really monster bagel as a result, they just kept on rising! You proof the yeast. Add salt and flour. Knead for a while. Leave to rise in an oiled bowl. Shape. Boil then leave on tea towels. Then finally bake on a tray of cornmeal before cooling.


Monster Lumpy Bagels!!


I was 50/50 pleased and disappointed with my bagels. I'll start with the disappointment, they just were not pretty! I wanted them to look if not perfect then shiny and smooth, and well they just didn’t, they weren’t 100 miles off but I like things to look pretty. The positive was that they tasted better than any bagel we’ve eaten before them, they actually tasted of what they were made of and they were lovely with the toppings. Although they are meant to be a savoury, and you can add toppings of caraway seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, slivered onion pre baking I wanted them to be absolutely plain so didn’t even glaze them. I went traditional with smoked salmon and cream cheese, plain with good butter and my favourite, though I’m sure inauthentic butter and raspberry jam!







Bagels with Butter, Smoked Salmon and Raspberry Jam.

Thank you to this months hosts Jenny and Freya for choosing the recipe for us all. If you'd like to try this recipe you'll find it by clicking on the hosts names. I can say absolutely that I would not have made these otherwise, but I’m glad I did – even if they were not as perfect looking as I had hoped, and if I ever pass a real Jewish bakers I’m going in for some bagels! More bagels posts by clicking away on the list on the right under Daring Bakers.

39 comments:

Anne said...

loved how you posted the step by step photos :)

Glad you liked the end result. Well done!

annauk said...

The bagels look great KJ. I'm really impressed with how you're giving new things a go constantly. You are such an inspiration!

sher said...

I think they look delicious!

Baking Soda said...

Congrats! You did it, and they look good..hmm jam is a good idea why didn't I think of that?

Meeta said...

They are great Kelly - you did a great job and congrats. I loved them with jam!!

kellypea said...

I agree with the idea of great tasting if not perfect -- like mine. I love the picture with the jam...yum!

KJ said...

You did a great job. I think we are a bit alike. If things can't be pretty, I at least like them to be neat. But all that really matters is that they taste good.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Hi KJ, Love your step by step pics. With you on liking things to look nice. Some of mine were very deformed indeed but they were the best tasting bagels I've ever had and toasted I really loved them.

Lydia said...

I think it's the taste that counts, so if these are the best you've ever tasted, then bagel making was a total success. Congrats!

Margaret said...

Homemade bagels, I've seen them many times but have been reluctant to make them. I'm impressed you at least gave them a go.

Sandy said...

Bagels! You are brave Kelly-Jane. And I think they look great. I think 'perfect' looking baked goods look artificial and processed. I think that's exactly how a bagel should look. I'm drooling over the smoked salmon photo.

Cheryl said...

You did a great job. Yours have such a lovely golden color.

breadchick said...

Kelly, you did FANTASTIC!! Great proof on the yeast. I agree they aren't pretty but they sure are good.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Kelly-Jane, I think your bagels are fantastic - doesn't this dough rise like crazy? :)

Lis said...

Oh my goodness - you obviously hadn't seen my bagels before you posted yours, eh?

Believe me, sweet girl, your bagels are simply beautiful! Nice and round and puffy - golden brown and shiny.. perfect!

I think you did a FANTASTIC job!!
xoxo

lynn said...

Congratulations! Your bagels look splendid. I would happily join you for one with the raspberry jam.

Ilva said...

But they look the way they should when they are made in your own kitchen! Beautiful!

gilly said...

Way to go, KJ! You can never go wrong with jam on a bagel, that's for sure! Congrats on a job well done!

Laura said...

Jammy bagels! Yummy!

Quellia said...

That's the beauty of the bagel - even when they looks like little pucks (which yours did not!), they still taste great!
Good work and congrats on getting back into the yeast!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Tastes good =good bagels.
I know what you mean about lumpy but when they taste good, it just doesn't make sense to argue!
Congrats on the challenge.

Jerry said...

Yours look great! Mine didn't become gold like yours!

Elle said...

Bagels with personality... but fantastic bagels! Nice photo essay, too. It was a fun challenge, right?

Helen said...

They look great! I bet they tasted great with all these spreads!

Sara said...

They look great, especially with the jam!!

Peabody said...

Wonderful job on your monster lumpy bagels :)...love the name.

Pat said...

Well done KJ!!!! They look rather yummy!!!

Mary said...

I'm glad your bagels tasted good despite your disappointment in their appearance. Taste always saves the day. :)

Amy said...

Your bagels look delicious! The bagel with jam looks sooo good!

Lisa said...

Oh they look amazing!! Well done!

Ivonne said...

Those bagels looks so good! Especially the one with the jam ... well done!

Glenna said...

They're lovely! I'm with you. I sort of did the traditional and then also smothered them with jam. Yum!~!

Culinarily Curious said...

I love the rustic look of your bagels... and your 'simple' toppings have me salivating!

Freya and Paul said...

Great job KJ! Yours look great even if they are lumpy and bumpy - it gives them character! Besides, the taste is the important part!

Kirsten said...

They look delicious!!! Oh, so mayybbee not so shiny and plump as bakery bagels, but delicious! :)

Brilynn said...

Your bagels aren't lumpy, they just have character!

Kelly-Jane said...

Thank you for your lovely comments, it was a fun project to do :)

KJxx

Shaun said...

Kelly-Jane - I wish I had seen these earlier. Of all the Daring Bakers' bagel-making, yours is one of the best attempts I have seen so far. I LOVE the texture of your bagels. They have the appeal of the best of homemade cooking, and I really wish I could have been at the table with you and the kids to try them!

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