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).
Check out the full recipe and our host, Heather's, site.
And here is Rhiannon on her 1st birthday! Or rather, us trying to take her picture on her 1st birthday...