I made more bagels

So soon? Yes. Like I said, I just wasn’t up for brioche yet (flavor-wise, not baking-wise). Couple that with the fact that I had to revive some starter to mail to a fellow baker – something which I had said I was going to do several weeks ago, actually – and the fact that Friday, before I left the office, the kitchen was doing a cleaning and was giving away two pounds of high gluten flour. If that wasn’t a sign that I should be making bagels over the weekend, I don’t know what is.

I ended up doing the wild yeast starter version. My starter had revived beautifully – nicer than I had seen it do in some time, so I was especially excited. I subbed 5 cups of the active starter for the sponge and increased the yeast in the dough. I also did a 20 minute autolyse once all the flour had been incorporated in hopes of minimizing the kneading. I think it worked, though it’s hard to say because the high gluten flour changed the dough so much. It definitely made the dough more satin-y and pleasant to knead, in any case.

Though I followed the recipe exactly and weighed out the dough to portion it, I ended up with 14 bagels instead of 12! Not quite sure how that happened, it must have been the starter. Not that I’m complaining, just mentioning it. Also the bagels dried out a lot in the fridge. I just kind of draped plastic wrap over them, which is what I did the first time as well, but many of them had dried considerably. They rehydrated with the boil, so no apparent harm done – I’m just not sure if this was because of insufficient wrapping, the high gluten flour, my totally bizarre and unpredictable refrigerator, or a combination.

I did some onion bagels this time, which we loved – I just chopped fresh onion and tossed the pieces with olive oil. They wanted to roll off the bagels, so they required deliberate placement instead of random sprinkling.

I topped most of them with an “everything” mix of poppy seed, sesame seed, and kosher salt but also did a few with Aleppo pepper, just because it was out on the counter. The red color is really pretty:

It helps that we love spicy food.

So now I’m ready and excited for brioche. I’ve decided on the middle class brioche, because I’ll basically be making poor man’s for other breads to come, like casatiello and panetone, and because I don’t know what the heck I’d do with that much rich man’s brioche. I’m going to make rolls and split and freeze most of them for burger buns for summer grill-outs. It will be nice to have good bread on hand – I suspect that frozen homemade brioche is still tastier than most anything I can get in the nearby shops!

Two parting thoughts –
I made matzoh this weekend too. It turned out awesome. I really didn’t think it would be so easy and so delicious. We ate it all in one sitting without taking a single photo. It’s a great recipe to have in your repertoire because it is so quick, you can whip it up at the last minute and it will be better than the stale crackers you were contemplating eating.
Basically, you just combine 2 cups flour (I used all-purpose) and 1 cup of water along with a teaspoon or so of salt. Mix it, adding more flour if necessary, to make a dry-ish, manageable dough. Divide into four portions and roll each one out as thin as possible. Prick with a fork and toss one on to your baking stone in your well-preheated 500 degree oven. This sounds tricky, but it wasn’t – the dough is stiff enough to be transfered easily. Bake each portion for about 5 minutes, until it is bubbled up and well browned in areas.

We were at the grocery store yesterday and I happened to notice a display of yeast packets. They had regular, and rapid rise, and then they had “pizza crust yeast”. What? Why? Anyone know what makes this “pizza crust yeast” more appropriate for pizza than standard yeast, or is this just a really stupid marketing ploy?


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