A typical week for me includes working from 7:30 until 3:30, going to the gym, cooking dinner, possibly doing more work at home, and some decompressing. This leaves little time for blogging, experimenting, and other nerdy, baking things.
That is why the weekend is for getting in some extra baking and also blogging.
The northeast saw a surge of warm weather with temps in the 80s this weekend. That is high for May in New England. It also means that all the heat rises to our 3rd floor apartment. With the oven or stove on the temp inside the apartment was in the mid to high 80s. The upside is that we have sky lights so some of the air could escape.
The upside of having the oven and stove on means lots of good eating.
Doug has been using Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads. And when I say used I mean that he reads it 3-4 times a day looking for a new, tasty bread to bake. We have dubbed it his bible, and rightfully so. Clayton gives several different ways to bake bread; by hand, by mixer, kneading. Unfortunately, though there are no pictures so we often google images of the bread. This can sometimes lead to disaster as some of the breads are so uncommon. Nevertheless, for the past 5 months I have experienced some of the best bread I’ve ever had in my life.
On Saturday I was told that I could choose anything I wanted for dinner, so of course I chose homemade bagels with cream cheese and avocado. Bagels are up there in my top 5 foods. I love berry bagels, savory ones, ones with peanut butter, cream cheese, and sometimes even both peanut butter and cream cheese mixed together onto it.
The great thing about these bagels is their simplicity. They are made with yeast, flour, and water. How simple is that?
After kneading the dough, they have to rise for 1 hour. Then, you form them, drop them in boiling water mixed with barley malt, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake.
So simple, fresh, and outstanding. They are better than any prepackaged or bakery bagels I’ve ever had.
This recipe is courtesy of Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads.
3 1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour, approx.
2 packages dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 quarts water
1 1/2 tablespoons malt syrup or sugar
1 egg white, beaten, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
Topping of choice
Baking sheet, greased, sprinkled with cornmeal
4 1/2 quart stockpot or saucepan
By Hand or Mixer:
Into a mixing bowl, measure 3 cups flour and stir in the dry ingredients. Pour in the hot water and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon, or with mixer flat beater at low speed for 2 mins. Add the balance of flour, a little at a time; stir by hand. When the batter gets thick and heavy, attach the mixer dough hook. If by hand, lift from the bowl and place on floured work surface.
Knead for 1 minute.
Place dough in greased bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for 1 hour.
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in large saucepan. Add malt syrup or sugar, reduce heat and leave at a simmer.
Turn dough onto floured surface and punch down. Divide into 10 pieces. Shape into a ball. Relax before flattening with palm of hand. Press deep into center of bagel and tear to create opening.
Cover with wax paper and let rise about 10 mins.
Preheat oven to 400.
Place bagel into simmering water for 1 minute, turning once. Lift out with skimmer, drain on towel, then place on prepared baking sheet.
Brush lightly with egg white and add desired toppings.
Place on baking sheet on bake on middle shelf for 25-30 mins. When bagel tops are light brown turn bagels over to prevent flatness on one side.