Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bagels and Kaisers All in One Day?

I am easily distracted by recipes. Perhaps it is adult ADD but I start out on one website and end up 180 degrees from where I started. I can't even remember what I was looking for (something pertaining to bread, of course) but something jogged my memory about bagels. Bagels! I hadn't made them in over a year and as I remembered they were easy and the results were yummy. So last night I got the crazy idea to bake bagels for my co-workers breakfasts this morning. Since it was a new recipe I decided to make only half a recipe and got out my trusty scales and started measuring. I pride myself on my math skills but somehow I forgot to half the water in the recipe and ended up with soup rather than the 'thick pancake batter' consistency to the poolish. Hmmmm. After an hour of waiting for it to bubble and froth it dinged on me what I had done. D'oh! Start over. By the time I had remade the poolish the hour was late so I left it overnight instead of the two hours that the recipe stated. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and the only loss would be a bit of flour, water, yeast, and frustration. I got up at 6 a.m. and made the dough with my happy poolish. Nice dough! I shaped the little balls of dough into 16 rather lopsided bagelish shapes, loaded my bag with the rest of the ingredients I would need and headd to work- 2 half-sheet pans of precious cargo riding shotgun beside me. I have carried stranger food-cargo, trust me. I have often wondered what a policeman would think if I got pulled over while carting tubs of dough to work. People wandered into the kitchen and were fascinated by the process of boiling the bagels. It is pretty cool, I must admit. It seems counter-intuitive that you can take a delicate ball of risen dough, dunk it into boiling water, and come out with anything edible- or bakable, but it works! Again, to me it is alchemy. The bagels responded well to their bath in boiling soda water and they baked up beautifully! They had barely hit the serving platter when they began to disappear. The spread I made was a delicious combination of cream cheese, butter (I know!), chopped raisins, walnuts, chopped chocolate, and honey. Oh baby, it was good! I didn't taste the bagels and cught just a glimpse of the crumb, but I did actually get a smidge of the spread. Just spread it on your butt, honey, because that is where it will end up tomorrow...Next! Since I had a slow afternoon at work I had time to troll for recipes. I have been wanting to try to make pretzel rolls, something I have never tasted and only was made aware of their existence from watching "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives." Don't ask me why, but I began to mentally concoct stuffed pretzel rolls- something akin to a steamed Chinese filled bun, but baked instead of steamed. I have an idea to fill the dough with a combination of corned beef, Jarlsburg cheese, a bit of sauerkraut, and a smidge of Thousand Island dressing- voila! a reuben roll. Or something like that. That led me to the kaiser rolls. I know, I know...Wanting to be a bit more adventurous with my sourdough starter I found a great website with a sourdoug kaiser roll recipe. As soon as I walked through my door at the end of a long long work day I gathered the ingredients and bagain the odyssey. And I do mean odyssey. It is now 1 a.m. and I am still waiting for the shaped rolls to get a last rise before I call it a night. All I can say is that they better damn well be good or this will be one unhappy bleary-eyed bitchy woman tomorrow. I will let you know the results. And yes, I am still looking for the camera. I promise.
6:28 a.m.- the buns are in the oven! Instead of letting them slumber in the refrigerator as the recipe suggested I left them in a cool room, enclosed in plastic bags, sealed against drying out. It worked well since the temperature of the room was in the 50's lst night (yay Autumn!). I had let them rise upside down since the recipe suggested this would prevent the cuts in the dough from sealing up as they rose. Hmm, not so sure about that because as I flipped them right side up the pattern was not very distinct any more. Next time I will let them rise right side up so I don't have to disturb them by flipping them over before putting them into the oven. Strike that- I jsut gave the oven a second spritzing to add steam and after only a few minutes of baking they have risen and 'bloomed' nicely. The only thing I see so far taht I don't like is that next time I will smoosh them out a little flatter before I use the stamp on them. I prefer my sandwich buns a little broader and not so tall, if that makes sense. Other than that I am pleased with the way they rose, since I have had mixed results with a straight sourdough dough- one time it will behave as expected and the next time it will give me only a half-hearted rise. Sounds like a man, right? Maybe I should name my starter "Mike" or "Eddy"?

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