Bread Week · Technical Challenge · The Beginnings (Season 2 BBC)

Double Bagel, Parte Ye Firste

I was looking at Netflix last week and discovered there are NEW EPISODES OF THE SHOW! These are Season 10 and were released in the UK at the same time as the US, I think…but rather than force us to wait a couple months and then give us the opportunity to BINGE WATCH like the addicts we are, Netflix decided to torture fans in the US by releasing ONE EPISODE A WEEK just like back home! Evildoers!

But here I am, already baking along with episode 2 of “The Beginnings” (which I think is season 3 in the UK, totally misnumbered here in the US) and I was gearing up to make bagels, but here’s the new season that’s airing one episode a week and I can do a bake-along with everyone in the UK! Like a dorky super-fan! What’s a baker to do!? I think I’ll at least finish up Episode 2 for The Beginnings and then jump into the Collection 7 (aka Season 10) on Netflix. Oh, but episode 3 is Tarts! OH, I do love a good tart…and my dear bestie (who is a High Tea super-fan) and her husband just got the keys to their new house…I may be baking all over the place in the next few weeks.

Perfect timing, though–the weather is turning fall-like very quickly. As a friend posted the other day, the weather went from 85 to 55, like a driver that just spotted a state patrol car. Great baking weather!

So this next challenge is two types of bagels–12 sweet and 12 savory. I’m thinking White Chocolate & Cranberry for the sweet, and Rosemary Parmesan for the savory. I’ve got all those ingredients at home now…the rosemary is growing gangbusters in the garden. I trimmed it up significantly in mid-June when it was teetering over sideways, and now it’s growing nice and straight again with lots of fresh stems!

Googling around, I found a couple recipes that I could try–maybe I’ll do one for the sweet and the other for the savory to see how they differ. One is at the King Arthur web site here, and the other is Sally’s Baking Addiction here.

I decided to start with Sally’s recipe first, which included some metric weights, but not all. I penciled in the yeast requirement, at least, which is 15 grams. I was a little worried about the yeast activity (or lack thereof) when I let it prove for the first five or ten minutes, but after adding the rest of the ingredients and letting it rise for 90 minutes, my worries were unfounded.

Fun fact about bagels is that it’s made from a “lean” dough–no fat. Just flour, yeast, water, salt, similar to dough used for pizza. This one was warm water, yeast, brown sugar, salt, and bread flour. Easy-peasy.

WE HAVE LIFT-OFF!

After deflating the dough, I realized that I hadn’t added in the flavorings! I sprinkled the vanilla chips and dried cranberries onto the flattened dough, kneaded it in a bit, then divided the dough into approximately 12 equal parts. The recipe called for 8…those would have been rather big bagels!

P.S. – Add flavor.

The dough was still fairly sticky, so I needed to add just a dusting of flour to keep it from sticking to my hands, flattened into a circle and then poked a hole in it. There are several methods to getting the hole into a bagel…there’s really no wrong way to do it.

I recall seeing photos of warp weighted loom weights that looked just like these….

Making a bagel look and feel like a bagel includes poaching the dough. You take a half gallon of water and mix in brown sugar or honey (or malted barley, which isn’t easy to find), to make a thicker skin on the bagel before baking, which helps prevent it from rising and becoming a roll. Bagels must cook for 1 minute on each side in a pot of boiling water, allowed to rest, then brushed with egg wash before baking. I used about 1/4 cup of honey to the water bath.

Oh, honey, I’m boiling!

The pan was big enough and deep enough to poach 3 bagels at a time and flip them easily after a minute. A minute more, and I put them onto a sheet of parchment paper. I then brushed them with an egg wash, which gives them a nice shine.

“Shine on you craaaaaazy baaaagel!”

Baking was about 20 minutes. I tried a piece of the bagel after it cooled down and thought it was a bit bland. I put some vanilla melties in a double boiler and then piped hot ribbons of “white chocolate” over the top. It was the perfect addition! (Real white chocolate is *pricey*; using vanilla chips is a pretty good alternative.)

The finished bagels–they were a bit chewy–just overbaked a few minutes. I forgot to set the timer on the stove, so I used my phone…and when the timer went off, I had to turn it off, which proved troublesome…so probably left in a couple minutes too long.

Hole-y Moley.

The skinny boy ate one and declared it was OK, though a bit chewy. He ate the whole thing though. I’ll have to try it again and cook for less time and see if he inhales two at a time. He’s looking forward to the savory ones…he thought it sounded just like pizza bagel since it’s made with cheese and rosemary. Maybe I’ll find a small jar of marinara for him to dunk it in.

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