Monday, November 14, 2011

Well, I'm No Einstein...

...and I'm not his brother.  I'm better, 'cuz my bagels are SOOOOOO tasty!  I know:  I'm bragging.  It's really unbecoming in a woman my age.  Tough! Try this recipe and you too can feel superior to either (or both) of the Einstein Brothers. 

My cooking magazine promises me that, "These bagels could have a smack-down with any New York deli's."  Well that's dandy, except that I have never been to New York.  How 'bout, "These bagels will beat the pants off those clammy ones you buy in the grocery store."  SOLD!  Here we go.
2 C warm water (100-110 degrees F)
1 tsp. active dry yeast
about 6 1/2 C  bread flour, divided
1 T barley malt syrup (What the fuck IS this?  I searched high and low.  Watch, it probably comes in a huge, expensive jar as well.  The instructions say to omit it if you can't find it.  My friend Cliff suggested using molasses instead.  OK, we'll try that.)
2 tsp. kosher salt
Cooking spray
12 C water
3/4 C sugar

 1.  Combine 2 cups warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer (Thanks, Cliff, for having one of these.) fitted with a dough hook.  Fuss ridiculously over the temperature of the water.  Too cool!  Too hot!  What if I kill the yeast?  Let stand 5 minutes or until bubbles form on the surface.
 I SAID..., "Until BUBBLES form on the SURFACE...."  Shit!  Where are the fucking bubbles?.  The yeast is dead.  I killed it, I know!  Try again.  Hyperventilate a little.  Where are the "bubbles forming on the surface"!?!  Rationalize.  C'mon, Kate:  that's 2 cups of water and only a teaspoon (not a packet) of yeast.  Let's have some faith, here.
 2.  Lightly spoon about 6 1/4 cups of flour into dry measuring cups:  level with a knife.  Add flour, syrup (AKA molasses) and salt to yeast mixture.  Boy, that molasses looks a little dark.  The recipe calls for  a tablespoon of barley malt syrup, but I only put 2 teaspoons of molasses in the mix.
 3.  Mix dough at low speed 6 minutes.
 4.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
 5.  Knead 2 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
 6.  Add enough of the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.  Uh-oh.  My dough was never sticky.  It never stuck to my hands.  I review the recipe and can't see anything I did wrong.  I feel a sense of impending doom.
 7.  Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts ( like the oven, turned off but with a bowl of hot water in there), 30 minutes.  Go read a book and toast your feet by the fireplace.  Check on it.  It has done nothing.  F-U-C-K.  Show it to Chuck.  Chuck makes optimistic noises and says it just needs a little more time.  He even turns the oven on low for just a few minutes.  I decide that trusting Chuck often works for me  I go back and read my book for about 15 minutes more.
8.  Breathe a sigh of relief.
 9.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 12 equal portions.  Working with  one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), shape each portion into a ball.
 Make a hole in the center of each ball using your index finger.  Using fingers of both hands, gently pull dough away from center to make a 1 1/2 inch hole.
 11.  Place bagels on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Lightly coat bagels with cooking spray; cover with plastic wrap (or, if the house where you are cooking has no plastic wrap, tear up a bread bag and use that instead.). 

 12.  Let rise 10 minutes (Bagels will rise only slightly.).  Here you can see Chuck's experimental technique for bagel formation.  He saw me pinching the hole into the middle of one and  paused.  Then he took a dough ball and rolled it out gently with his fingers  and pinched the ends together.  You can see an example here.  I think it looks nice, huh?

13.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

14. Combine 12 cups of water and 3/4 cup sugar in a pot, and bring to a boil.  Get distracted by a very nasty phone call Chuck is receiving from his ex, and fail to take photos for several steps.  Sorry!  Gently lower three bagels into the pot.  Cook for 30 seconds.  Transfer bagels to a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Repeat the procedure with the remaining bagels while listening to Chuck's ex on speaker phone.  Forget to put sesame seeds on, but this is the moment to do that if you are less absent minded than I and you want to.

15.  Divide the bagels between 2 baking sheets (or, if you can't find two baking sheets, use a baking sheet and a pizza pan.  Whatever.) lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 450 degrees for 7 minutes.  Rotate pans and bake for 7 minutes or until golden.

16.  Cool on wire racks.  Or try to, because the bagels have completely adhered to the parchment paper.  Instead of transferring to a wire rack, burn your fingers while trying to peel the paper off.

They are hot.  They smell delicious. 

17.  Eat the paper.  Good source of fiber.


  1. Yum! And I found you some Barley Malt:

  2. You can also find barley malt at any home brewing supply store.
    I definitely have to try this!