The Pres likes to take a toasted bagel to work when I remember to get them and don't have to resort to Pop Tarts. While he's been on a little trip I've been working on perfecting my bagel-making technique. He'll be surprised, but whether or not he'll be pleased, I don't yet know. Sometimes the trials of my baking are so arduous he wonders why I bother. I mean, store bought things are good enough, right? But look how darling these puffy little rings are!
I love King Arthur Flour and all the great baking supplies they sell. These bagels are made with their Sir Lancelot Unbleached Hi-Gluten Flour and their Non-Diastatic Malt Powder, a sweet derivative of roasted barley. I am an avid baker and pretty successful at it most of the time. I only wish I could live near King Arthur and go to their baking demos and classes. I could be more consistent with my bagels. And master the tricky English muffin. Again, consistency is elusive.
Here is the first bagel going into the simmering water. This is where it gets tricky for me. I can bake lots of yeast breads. I have no trouble throwing them in the oven once they're risen. But this boiling step is confounding. So often my bagels-to-be have risen and look just right- until they go in the simmering bath. Some come out great, but some deflate- see the one on the right, below. And after that they still have to bake.
This is how my first batch came out. They look pretty good overall, and they were delicious, but the batch I've just made now that the Pres is on his way home does not look as promising.
The joy of the challenge continues. Maybe I'll have some perfect ones made by the time the Pres gets home from his next trip. One of these days, I'm determined, I'll be serving him truly presidential bagels. And with confidence from that triumph, maybe I'll even be willing to tackle English muffins again.