I don't know if I would have the patience to be a baker. Waiting for the dough to rise is about as much fun as going to jury duty (t-minus seven hours). Baking also requires you to follow very precise instructions, something I don't always like do. That's why I enjoy the savory cooking side of the culinary field, it allows me to find a recipe and adjust it to my specific needs or ingredients. Either way I do really love bread, and I'm finding my self becoming more patient with baking so I'm going to go with it.
I just picked up a great book called Ultimate Bread by Eric Treuille. Ultimate Bread is very straight forward, with great photography of each step involved. I've been meaning to try to make bagels for quite some time and their recipe is fast and easy.
Makes 8 Bagels
Ingredients: 2 Tsp Dried yeast 1 1/2 Tbs sugar 300ml Water 500g white flour 1 1/2 Tsp Salt
Method: 1. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into 100ml of the water in a bowl. Leave four 5 minutes and then stir to dissolve. 2. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl, make a well in a center of the flour and pour in the yeasted water. 3. Pour the remaining water, holding back about half, into the well. Mix in the flour and stir in the reserved water, as needed, to form a firm, moist dough. 4. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic for about 10 minutes. As you knead the dough, gradually work in as much additional flour as you can comfortably knead. 5. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning into coat and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
6. Knock back the dough, then leave to rest for 10 minutes. 7. Cut the dough into 8 equalized pieces. 8. Shape each piece into a bowl and form each bowl into a ring by inserting a floured finger into the center of each one. Work the finger in a circle to stretch and widen the hole. Then twirl the ring around the index finger of one hand and the thumb of the other hand until the hole is about a third of the bagel’s diameter. 9. Place the bagels on a lightly oiled baking sheet, then cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 10 minutes. 10. Bring a large pan of water to the bowl, then reduce the heat to allow the water to simmer. Use a perforated skimmer to carefully lower the bagels into the water in batches of two or three at a time. 11. Transfer the drained to a lightly oiled baking sheet. 12. Beat one egg to wash each bagel for a nice shine. You can also sprinkle salt, poppy seeds etc onto the bagel at this point. 13. Bake at 220°C (425°F) for 20 minutes or until golden.
So what's the verdict? I made a batch 8 bagels in 2 hours total. I'm still in shock that these require such a quick rise of 1 hour. I also had a small cookie sheet in the oven loaded with ice to help "steam" the oven. The steam worked great, providing a super moist interior and a chewy exterior. Just like a good bagel should.
I would also like to take this opportunity to say stop at Hoboken Hot Bagels next time you're in Jersey. A total hole in the wall, no frills bagel joint on Hoboken's main drag. It's a great cheap breakfast after a night on the town.