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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Bay-guls or Bag-guls?

Whether you are from the midwest and pronounce Bag-guls or from every other state in the country and pronouce it Bay-guls, it is equally agreed upon how tasty these beauties are. Ahhh...pure joy. The smooth and silky slightly crunchy outter skin in the initial bite and then the chewy and dense sensation of the bulk of the bagel. Emmm...delicious. My recipe was from The essential baking cookbook.

1 1/4 ts yeast
1 ts sugar
1 tbs honey
4 C white bread flour
2 ts salt
coarse polenta, for dusting
Put yeast, sugar and 1 1/2 C warm water in a small bowl, stir till dissolved. Leave in warm place 10 minutes - should be frothy and increase in volume. Stir in honey.
Put 2 C flour in large bowl, making well in center and add yeast mixture and salt. Stir with wooden spoon, adding flour as necessary till dough is firm. Turn on floured surface and knead 10-12 minutes till smooth and stiff. Add more flour if necessary then divide into 8 portions and roll them into smooth balls. Cover for 5 minutes.
Roll each ball under your palms to form a rope. Do not taper ends. Dampen ends slightly, overlap by 4cm and pinch firmly together. Place one at a time around base of fingers and with overlap under paln, roll rope several times. Apply firm pressure to seal seam. Make sure thickness is same all the way around. Place on polenta dusted baking trays, cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Line two baking trays with baking paper, remove bagels from fridge 20 minutes before baking. Bring large pan of water to boil and drop the bagels, in batches of 3-4 for 30 seconds. Remove, drain base-down on wire rack.
Place bagels on trays and bake 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Although my bagels were the best I've made, I made a few mistakes. I didn't dust the baking trays with enough polenta, so when i tried to take the bagels off the tray to boil them, they were disturbed too much and deflated a bit. Also I didn't put in enough flour and so another reason they deflated so easily. One last thing, I am not sure if it made a difference but instead of rolling it into a rope and sealing the seams together, I merely made a hole with my index finger. Next time, I will be more careful!

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