Watched Pot… Bagels!

Bagels are a real treat for my family.  We all love them and there aren’t many bagel shops out here in the sticks.  So, I was happy to finally learn how (thank you BBA Challenge!) to make our own.

Like most formula’s in Peter Reinhart’s book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice (2001), the process starts the night before you actually bake.  So, I started the bagel making process with a poolish (like Whinny the Pooh plus a “lish”).  Once the poolish had developed into a bubbly soup of flour, water and yeast I made the stiff dough, kneaded it until my arms were wobbly, and then formed the dough into bagel shapes.  Next I followed the formula and stuffed the bagels into the fridge to await the morning boil and bake.

shaped bagels
While I was shaping these bagels I had visions of early morning boiling and a yummy breakfast for the family.

In the morning, the old saw about a watched pot drove me nuts.  It was so early and I was so ready to boil!  I had my oven running at 500 F and accidentally left a roasting pan in the oven (it was early and the sun was in my eye, and … fill in the blank).  So the roasting pan at 500 F and a watched pot of water caused the smoke detector to alarm.  At 7:15 AM.  Dang it!  Our smoke detector system links all the smoke detectors in the house together.  To say the least the dog ran from room to room trying to escape the noise but found no relief!  What a nice way to say Good Morning to your kids and wife!

Fresh Bagels
Once the bagels finished I pulled them out and put them on the cooling racks. The smell and anticipation were awesome.

I boiled the bagels 2 minutes on each side (4 minutes) total, sprinkled them with things like onions, garlic, salt, and sesame seeds, and stuffed them in a hot oven.  I was really surprised that the bake time was so far off (or I’m off and the book is right, I’m not sure).  The book recommended 5 minutes then rotate the baking sheets and 5 more minutes.  I ended up rotating the baking sheets every 5 minutes for close to 20 minutes!  To top it all, the bagels are not as dark as I like.  I’ll have to do some research to figure out what happened – maybe two baking sheets in the oven kept the heat from circulating.

These were simple and delicious.  And, just like the pizza dough we made earlier this week, the bagels are a hit and will make it on to the “bake often!” list.

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