Saturday night, my brother came over for dinner. And after dinner, we made bagels.
It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, making bagels. They seem so…elusively important in the culinary realm. They seem like the apex of culinary achievement. Well, that honor might go to poached eggs. But bagels seem right behind that, in my mind.
I had found a recipe over at Smitten Kitchen (http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/09/bronx-worthy-bagels), and I had emailed my brother and asked if he was up to attempting the very long and involved project. I glowed with visions of him becoming the Bagel King in our family, being the best of the best when it came to homemade bagels, stealing the hearts and minds of future nephews and nieces with his fluffy boiled dough.
We started at 6:30pm, but the first step is to mix together flour, water, and yeast and leave it for two hours. We ate dinner while we waited. We checked email while we waited. We chatted while we waited. Peter played computer games while we waited.
Finally, it was time to finish the process. My poor KitchenAid gave out toward the end of mixing in the loads of flour. It didn’t exactly overheat and burn out the motor, but it was close. I feel like I saved its life by stopping the mixing and dumping it onto the counter. My brother mixed in the remaining cup of flour by hand. Then he kneaded it for 10 minutes without stopping. With the heavy stiffness of the dough, it was unbelievable!
Then we shaped the dough into 14 little rolls, each exactly 4.5 ounces (we weighed them). They rested, and then we tested them to see if they were ready to be “retarded” (meaning, stuck in the refrigerator overnight). The test is popping them into a bowl of water and seeing if they float within 10 seconds. They bobbed right back up to the top immediately, so into the refrigerator they went. Peter, Joshua, and I finished watching out Seth Godin vimeo and then Peter went home.
The next morning, he arrived back at The Roost, bright and early, to finish the bagels. We boiled them and baked them, and behold! They were INCREDIBLE. In fact, there are no words. An ever-so-slightly cornmeal crunch on the bottom, outside surface, with soft, fluffy insides perfect for a slathering smother of butter or cream cheese.
We have the next bagel date on the calendar already.