Thursday, December 16, 2010

Failgels or The Case of the Mushy Bagels

November wasn't my proudest of baking months. For whatever reason, I fell into a slump of botched baking experiments. They all had such great potential, but really seemed to end up a disaster... My bagels in particular were a terrible disaster. They tasted right and looked pretty, but something happened to the holes and the dough around that center part remained mushy, despite repeated baking and even attempts at toasting it dry. It wasn't even that the dough was uncooked- it became actual MUSH. You may ask why I am posting a failed recipe... well it's because I think I figured out what might have gone wrong, and I want to put the challenge out to you to try the altered recipe and discover if the recipe turned out as great as I hoped it would. Also, I took really pretty pictures of the process and I want to post them!

The actual bagels came out prettier once baked, but I forgot to snag a picture of them once they came out... Oops!

The recipe is a (now) modified version of one I found on Allrecipes. I made a whole wheat version, added my own topping, and cut back on the boiling time. You can find the original here.

Makes approximately 12 smaller bagels or 8-9 larger ones.

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 packets of instant-dry yeast (or just dump in 2 tablespoons and a bit like me!)
1 1/2 cups of warm water
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
and either 1 tablespoon of sugar or 3 tablespoons of baking soda.
3 tablespoons of onion flakes
1 tablespoon of dried garlic powder
3 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds
1/2 a tablespoon of salt

First, like all yeast-tastic doughs, we start with activating the yeast. The recipe here is unusual in that instead of activating the yeast with the water, then adding it to the dry ingredients, you first mix 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour with the yeast. Also mix separately the water, sugar and salt, then add it to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly for a bit.

Start mixing in the rest of your flour gradually, until you have a somewhat stiff dough. Flour a clean surface lightly and knead that sucker for about 10 minutes. Cover it up and let it rest for 15 minutes.
When that's done, divide up the dough into however many bagels you want to make. Shape each into a ball, then poke your finger through the middle and slowly enlarge the hole. I recommend a larger opening than you think reasonable, because it will rise and you don't want that space to close back up! Cover the bagels up and let rise for 20 minutes.

You should now start up a big boiling pot of water, though there's no need to fill it really high. Add either the sugar or baking soda (depending on what you decided on) to the water. Now some of you may find it odd to boil the bagels, but it's the process it undergoes when getting boiled that gives it that super crispy crust you love about bagels. Let's not jump the gun however, first broil those bad boys at 450 for just a minute or two on each side. NOW toss em into the water in small groups and allow to sit at a simmer for just about 1 minute then take em out and lightly pat em dry.

I am a sucker for everything bagels, so go ahead and mix those last ingredients together (or whatever you want to top your bagels with) and sprinkle generously on top of the bagels. You can even go ahead and give it a light pat to make sure it sticks nicely to the gelatinous feeling dough (if you've ever made bagels or pretzels before, you know what I'm talking about).

Lightly grease a baking sheet and bake at 375 (oh yeah, you should probably preheat the oven) for about 35 minutes, flipping half way in-between. At this point they should be looking amazing, and with any luck they won't have the consistency of dumplings in the center!

Es gezunterheyt!

P.S. If you are brave enough to try this, please let me know how it turned out!

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