September 14, 2002
Bagels Hot From The Oven
11:09 am: I've had a very interesting morning. Some of it was because, last night, after making the bagels, I daydreamed about all the things I'd need to do this morning to bake them. So when John came in to get something, I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. He and Jet went into the basement, and John was riding the bike, so I started a pot of water to boil and got the oven started. I also chopped up two cloves of garlic.
Of course, when Jet came upstairs when they were done, he wanted to nurse, so I nursed him for fifteen minutes before he wanted to play some more. So I let him go and went to boil the bagels. It was just a thirty second boil, just long enough to color both sides and get a little puff going as the dough warmed with the water. I did two at a time in a smaller pot than my soup kettle, like the recipe said, and laid them gently on a rack to dry out a bit while the rest of them got dunked. They still weren't all that puffy and looked kind of skinny for bagels even with the overnight proof. I was a little worried.
Plus the garlic didn't stick very well to the wet bagels, either. I had to separate the clumps and Jet helped me by picking up one small crumb of garlic at a time and patting the crumb onto a bagel as well. I like it when he helps, so I let him decorate one of the bagels with garlic. The only thing is that he put some of the garlic into the mouth and ate it and started going, "Ahh! Ahh!" as it was pretty hot. I got him some milk and he let me finish the dressing two of the eight with garlic by myself.
The boiled bagels were still soft, so I was careful about picking them up and laying them on the baking sheet. I didn't think they would rise too much more, so they were pretty close together. I got lucky with that, because they actually did do a good rise in the oven when they hit the heat. Twelve minutes later, and they were shiny, risen, and had the nice little heat blisters on the smooth skin. I pulled them out and they smelled wonderful and, for the first time, looked like 'real' bagels!! I was so surprised!
John and I each took one right out of the oven. I'd made the garlic ones for John, so he took one of those and I took a plain one and we both went to break them open and both went, "Yowch! That's *hot*!"
Thinking about it, I don't think we've ever eaten bagels right out of the oven before. While we've had them while they were still warm at a bagel shop, we've never really had them right out of the oven. It took a few minutes to let them cool enough that we could grab them securely enough to break through that crust. And it had a real bagel crust! My. Chewy, not too dense, and rich with a hint of the malt complexity. Yum. Jet got a quarter of one of mine and then half of my second bagel. He munched away at it happily. John ate both of his garlic ones, and debated a third. They were just that good right out of the oven.
John also cut his in half, and so I was able to see the density of the inner structure and that there were, indeed, some of the larger bubbles as well, that there always are in good bagel shop bagels. They were, however, just a bit lighter than shop bagels, and I think I'm going to have to blame nursing Jet, for the moment, as I'd taken the tray of refrigerated bagels out while I was boiling the water. I'd left them out while Jet was nursing, so they might have gotten warmer than they 'should' have with the extra time. But the difference wasn't one that was bad, all in all.
Then again, maybe it's just that I nearly never have just-baked bagels. Ninety-nine percent of the bagels I eat are often more than a week old from the freezer, so the softness might just be freshness. Hee.
I'm so glad it worked out so well.
I got to spend some time in the late afternoon to make snickerdoodles. I remember snickerdoodles from school or later, chewy and tasty with cream of tarter. Since The Best Recipe had done so well with the bagels, I thought I'd try their recipe for these cookies. They came out beautifully. Crisp on the edges, chewy in the middle, and with that same taste that comes from only using baking soda and cream of tarter rather than baking powder.
It was cool to have the time and the mixer did great with the cookie dough. It's kind of scary how easy it now is to make good cookies. Yum