Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Bagels, bagels and more bagels

The short version... I'm very excited to be part of the fantastic Daring Bakers. I made bagels following a recipe for my first DB Challenge and they were a rip roaring success - of sorts! Possibly the first time ever I've followed a recipe too and what can I say I'm very proud. We were still eating them toasted on the Sunday having made them on the Thursday so they can't have been that bad...

The long version... The Daring Bakers – June '07 Challenge and my very first one. I've always thought of the Daring Bakers as akin to extreme sports but a more gentile culinary arts version... Waffle, Piffle, you can end up with burns, cuts and any other untold injury being part of the DB's and all for the love of baking.... What can I say it's wonderful to be part of the Daring Bakers!


When it was made known that our challenge was going to be bagels I had mixed emotions. Firstly I always leave the bread making to my husband and children and they do a very good job of it, they also always use the Kitchen Aid and when I saw that it would be hand kneading I thought a rude word (I probably said it truth be told). But then I thought bagels? Surely easier than chocolate crepe cake or Gateau St Honore, surely? I cook and I bake cakes but those beauties would have seen me with my head in the oven.


I kept putting it to the back of my mind and then the day I made them I just thought halfway through the morning... Today is the day and then I felt sick...


I was so, so tempted to use the Kitchen Aid! I'm just being honest, but then I reminded myself why I joined the Daring Bakers which was to get some discipline in my cooking and for once follow someone else's recipe instead of always thinking that I know best. This is a common trait in all the women in my family when it comes to cooking, what am I saying some of the men are like it too and my 5 year old is already showing signs of turning out the same... Having all watched our mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers cooking since we were tiny we all feel that we know instinctively what's right and wrong. That goes for everything but bread with me. I have always failed miserably with bread and though I can't taste any of the other DB's bagels I think this time on the whole I actually achieved a really good result.


Anyway I wanted to make these myself without small children pitching in and wanting to have a go. Selfish I know but I do a lot of cooking with them and the DB's was for me. So I set them up in front of the TV, nice and loud and I set about the bagel making.


I added the water to the bowl and then I added the sugar, I swirled it with my fingers as suggested and then I added the yeast. I busied myself getting everything else ready. Washing up the big pan that was still dirty from the previous night's dinner, (It was steeping Mum!), that sort of thing. The yeast smelled beautiful and started to bubble away nicely. I then added the 3 cups of flour and got my hands well and truly stuck in. Gloopy, yet silky at the same time. I added more flour (I've recently purchased my first set of US measuring cups and I think I've bought the crappiest ones you can get, they're stainless steel but they're so thin they bend if you blow on them!). I kept kneading. I was alarmed to see 'don't make it too dry it shouldn't tear'. Mine was tearing! I plopped the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, damp tea towel over the top – I waited.


It only seemed to take minutes and it had doubled in size. So I tipped it out on to our floured kitchen table and began to punch the living daylights out of it! BIG MISTAKE! 'Mama! What are you doing? Oh! Can I help?” “Well, I was really hoping to do this myself darling.” I replied almost pleadingly. “I'll just wash my hands. You know I could help you!” He said this as though I really needed the help. I raised my eyes and he ran to the bathroom to wash his hands. So he then punched it down. I took the tip of splitting the dough and putting half in the fridge while we worked with the other half... Next thing... “Mama me do it! Me good at dough!” The 2 year old pipes in and proceeded to scream when I said no. So I gave him a tiny bit of dough to play with. “Thank you Mama me really good at dough, me lub you!” Heart softened we carried on.


We went for the hole centric method. The first lot I didn't leave in the boiling sugar water for long enough and I forgot to put cornmeal on the base of the pans for all of them but other than that I was doing well. They went in the oven and when I opened the oven door to check how they were doing, I couldn't help but grin because they looked like proper bagels... I closed the door and let them cook for the full 25 minutes. I then took the pans out and turned them over, or at least, tried to turn them over, some had stuck to the bottom of the pan and the ones in the blasted Pampered Chef pan had hardly cooked at all, though they were browning nicely on the outside, they still felt like soft dough when I tried to turn them over. After a further 10 mins cooking the other two tins came out, however the Pampered Chef pan had to go back in for a further lifetime before they were ready.


Apart from one that totally tore apart from being stuck on the pan we let the others cool. We ate the torn apart one AND IT TASTED GOOD! Great taste, texture more bread like than bagel like but not enough to be classed as bread, so still passable as a bagel. All in all feeling rather proud of myself! When the others cooled we ate one each plain, no butter, no nothing. My husband got home and said the house smelled lovely. We were still eating the bagels toasted on Sunday having made them on the Thursday so they must have been good. No exciting topping or fillings for us I'm afraid, when we did put anything on them it was when we toasted them and then it was only butter. I think the boys had marmite on them one day.


Thanks to Jenny and Freya our hosts for the month. The orginal recipe can be found here. You can check out all the other Daring Bakers by working your way through the bar on the right handside - they're all good!


I think I would make them again, just not yet - I like the males in the house making bread for me... Lazy toad!


I almost forgot when making the bagels my 5 year old went on to tell me about Challah Buns he'd made at school and a little history of Jewish food and the faith, which he'd also learned at school... So not only did I learn that I can do dough, I learned a lot more too...

41 comments:

Anne said...

Well done on your first baking challenge! It's good to know you enjoyed them :)

KJ said...

What a lovely post. If only littlies were so determined to help when you are scrubbing pots or cleaning the bath. Well done on your first challenge. It is exciting.

Tara said...

Congrats on out first challenge! I especially love the not so perfect ones that your little ones shaped... or were they your ones? hehe... either way they are cute.

Meeta said...

Congrats on your first challenge Amanda. They look great and it also looks like you all had a good time with these. I loved the post!!

veron said...

Amanda, I love the collage of pictures at the head of your post! I love how your kids piped in to help...so cute.

Cheryl said...

Well done on your first challenge. I love all the pictures of all the steps you did.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Thanks Anne, enjoy them we did!

KJ, Thank you. Wouldn't it just be lovely if they chipped in with all those chores.

Tara, Thank you. The not so perfect ones were probably mine.... tee hee!

Meeta, Thanks lovey! We had fun, at least I was able to start doing them myself. Next month I might do the challenge while they're asleep that way I'd be guaranteed doing it by alone... Selfish huh?!

Veron, Thank you.

Thank you for your comments.
Amanda x

Baking Soda said...

Oh what a lovely post, I like to think back when my kids were that age...*drool* Now they are big and loud (and sometimes still cute).
Loved reading your journey

breadchick said...

HERE HERE! Great job on your first challenge!! I love that you baked with your kids. What a wondeful family activity.

Helen said...

Congrats on your first challenge and a great story to go with it!

Asha said...

Love Bagels,I could it them for breakfast everyday!:))

Kelly-Jane said...

Well done, first challenge under your belt :) Great post, and love your boxed photographs too.

That's funny about the challah bread, all the while I was making the bagels, I was thinking about challah!

KJxx

Patricia Scarpin said...

Amanda, lovely photo collage - and the bagels look fantastic.

Laura said...

Fantastic step by step photos, and beautiful bagels, congrats!

Anonymous said...

Well done.
Mxxxx

Ilva said...

Haha! I made mine when the 5 yrs old was at school and the other two are so big that they absolutely don't want to help with anything if they could! Bagels rule!

gilly said...

Great job on your first challenge, Amanda! I love your collage - especially seeing those little hands working at the dough! I really enjoyed your post... congrats!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Baking Soda, Thank you so much.

Breadchick, Thank you too.

Helen, Thank you very much.

Asha, Thank you. I go the phases where I love them and then I don't want any for ages.

Kelly Jane, great minds think alike! Thank you.

Patricia, Thank you very much.

Laura, Thank you so much.

Mum, Thanks, I note you didn't comment on me saying all the women in the family are know it alls in the kitchen and you didn't tell me off for having a dirty dish in the sink the day after we ate - such restraint Mum - love you!! xx

Ilva, that was a good plan of yours!

Gilly, thank you very much.

Thanks for all the comments.
Amanda x

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I love how you let the little ones help! A wonderful write-up of a great success! Wonderful photo tile at the top!

Mary said...

Really sweet post. I have fond childhood memories of 'helping' my mom in the kitchen as I'm sure your children will too.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Thanks Tanna, You're always kind!

Thank you Mary, I hope they do. I'm very relaxed around food and I just want them to love it, as I did when I was growing up. I wouldn't ever pressure them to cook but when they want to join in, I love it.

Thank you, Amanda

Jerry said...

Great first challenge! The little ones will turn into chefs!

Elle said...

So glad that you reclaimed bread baking from the guy, at least for a while, for this challenge...and congrats on finishing first DB challenge. I love the collage of photos and that the kids did get to help you. I went with just butter, too. They are so good that you don't rally need fancy toppings.

Nora B. said...

Amanda, lovely post. I enjoyed reading about your children. Sounds like it was a success - well done! I love bagels but the best ones I've had have been in the USA. I go where the police officers go. Despite the stereotypes, they don't just eat donuts ;-)

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That is so cute that your little ones wanted to help you! Very cute bagels!

Sara said...

Awww, what helpful little babes!

sher said...

Oh, how darling--"Me lub you." Who doesn't need to hear that said to them? What a great experience you had--and then all those bagels too! :):) Congratulations!

Peabody said...

Glad that everyone was loving the bagels. Well done.

Pat said...

Congratulations on your first Bagels!!!! You have tempted me to give it a try!!! Thanks!!!

Glenna said...

I love your collage of photos and the stories of the help from the kids were hilarious! Sounds like my husband "Let me! Let me! I lob you" Nothing like a little guilt. I had the same problem with not enough cornmeal, by the way so some of my stuck a bit. Also I love Pampered Chef but the crocks do take extra time to heat through. I hear you on that one.

Brilynn said...

Very cute story and I love your bagel collage.

Amy said...

It feels great to have finished the first challenge! :D Great job! The story of your children helping is just too cute!

Cynthia said...

Great job Amanda and congrats on completing your first challenge.

Ivonne said...

Amanda,

Congratulations on your first DB challenge! You did a great job on your bagels!

Quellia said...

Yeah for your Daring Baker family and your wonderful bagels!

Lis said...

Amanda, I loved how your kids had to get in there with you - so cute!

Your bagels look delish! I'm so glad you liked them. =)

Congrats on your first challenge!

xoxo

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Jerry, The oldest has said he's going to be a chef since he was 3 so you're probably right.

Elle, Nora, Jenn & Sara, thank you

Sher, You're so right. We all need to hear it!

Peabody, thank you

Pat, let me know how they turn out if you do.

Glenna, it's obviously a male thing.

Brilynn, thank you

Amy, it certainly does feel great!

Cynthia, Ivonne & Quellia, thank you

Lis, I loved the first challenge!

Thank you for all of your comments.
Amanda x

Freya and Paul said...

You did a great job and well done on your first challenge!!
I love your picture montage too - hope you all enjoyed the bagels!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

I am a bagel virgin, but you are so enthusiastic I could be tempted...but making them gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free may drive me to the bottle before I begin. Now there's a thought, I could hit the bottle and THEN begin...ha!
Pigx

tash said...

Gosh you've been busy - well done! I can imagine the smell in your house was delicious :)

Have a great weekend!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Cheryl, I just re-read comments and saw you posted one at the same time as me so I missed yours. Thank you.
Amanda x

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