Rhiannon is the name of my second child born in October 2011. While at home on maternity leave, I discovered the Baking with Julia group and decided to join. While I may be short on time, I love to bake and love having an excuse to bake. Although Rhiannon cannot eat all of these treats, she is a (somewhat) patient observer of my endeavors.
This bread came out just fine. A little bit of work, not too much. A little bit of timing, not too much. A little bit of flavor, not too much. There are people in the baking group that make this every week and I understand why. It's the all around good bread that goes with everything. I would do this too if I had a mixer to make it a bit easier. As it is by hand, it still takes some commitment, time-wise.
This was a make up recipe from about a month ago. To see the hosts' links for this recipe, click here or here.
Fun! This recipe was actually fun. Not that the previous recipes weren't (the fun part is usually the eating part); this just had an extra element of playfulness. It had to be the part of forming the bagels- taking the dough balls and pinching them just so, poking holes in them and then making them into giant rings. I had always thought bagels were formed by making long snake-like formations and scoring the ends together, like you would clay. This was way more cool.
I just got way ahead of myself.... so here is the dough coming together, much like any basic yeasted dough.
This recipe does better with a high-gluten flour so I used Bob's Red Mill Bread flour (not sure of the percentage but it seemed to work well). And I did use shortening like the recipe specifies, but I got some non-hydrogenated stuff that I feel a whole lot better about (just pressed palm oil).
It had to rest in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight (just like the last recipe, Cranberry Walnut Pumpkin Loaves). I chose overnight. After the night in the fridge it was huge and gorgeous (forgot to take a picture).
Then it was divide and conquer.
The dough made 10 bagels total, 5 in the first batch and 5 in the second. Here is the fun part of shaping the dough and making the rings.
After that it is a sugar/ baking soda bath, a brush with egg whites and a sprinkling of toppings. I chose salt, plain and cinnamon/ sugar. For the salt I chose to use some fancy Alea Volcanic Salt from our local salt shop. It was red in color and only darkened in the oven. The cinnamon and sugar did not work out at all and of course plain was just fine.
The baking required some steaming provided by ice cubes and water thrown into the oven underneath the bagels. Crazy. My oven is still making some odd "adjustment" noises from this maneuver.
They turned out ok. The crusts of my first batch were quite hard and crispy. The insides were delicious.
The second batch was a little better as I turned my oven down a bit (I think my oven cooks a bit hot). I even limited the water bath time to 1 minute each side (as some of my fellow bakers had suggested) but I still got a harder crust than expected. Not sure exactly how to change that. Maybe even less water-bath time? A quick dunk? Less sugar in the water? I will try it again at some point since it was so much fun to make (a bit less fun to eat).
After missing last month's Whole Wheat Loaves, I made an extra special point to make time this past weekend to make this next recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie/ Baking With Julia group. I knew the recipe was going to take two days to make, so I penciled in a bit of time on Saturday and then a tiny bit of time on Sunday. This recipe involved a lot of waiting and timing, somewhat reminiscent of the Pecan Sticky Buns a few months back.
So on Saturday I set about making the dough. My son and husband are about to leave on an adventure, and Rhiannon is taking a nice nap. I read through the ingredient list again and realize the cranberries need to be thawed. Out come the frozen cranberries from the freezer onto the sunny table to thaw. And the walnuts need to be toasted. Into the oven go the walnuts. And the butter needs to be room temperature. All butter frozen, deeply. No microwave, just a sunny table. Out comes the phone. Call my parents (they live a mile away). Load up Rhiannon. Nuke my butter. Back to my house, ready. Sift the dry ingredients, start the yeast, cream the sugar and butter. Ready to add the room temperature egg.... Go to fridge, no eggs. Run over to neighbor's house, no eggs. Neighbor bikes over to store for 6 eggs (he gets one of these mini-loaves). Get egg. Make dough. No mixer. Ask friend for mixer. Miss her text. Knead by hand (sticky!!!). Cover, let rise. Fold over. Let rise in fridge. Sleep.
Sunday goes much better. I remember to set out the dough in the morning. I shape the loaves around noon. Let them rise a bit longer than 2 hours. Put them in the oven for 30 minutes. Let them rest for 5 minutes and cool the rest of the time on the rack.
And today we ate them. And they were worth it.
Check out Rebecca's post for the recipe, complete with all the ingredient specifications should you choose to read them ahead of time.