A Cautionary Tale Concerning Bagels

It happens. You’re going along, baking your bread – or, specifically, bagels in this case – and you just know something is amiss but you keep going because it’s not really feasible to halt the process when everything’s in progress, the oven’s on, the water’s boiling, the bread’s been proofing… There’s no turning back now!

So I’m sick. No, not “sick” as in twisted (although some may well debate that), sick as in coughing and moaning and dragging my feet with a cold. A cold that hit big time just when the last bagel batch was nearing the end of the process. My head feels like it’s stuffed with cotton, my throat’s itchy and/or on fire. So I’ve slugged back a swig or two of cough syrup and now I’m zoning out. Everything’s a little askew, a bit off kilter, spinning somewhat and I’m losing track of things. I should have known better but I kept going. Bad idea. Somewhat. Continue reading “A Cautionary Tale Concerning Bagels”

Exploring Bagels

I thought I’d give a try to making bagels since it is something we tend to get fairly regularly and you-know-who seems to forgo the wonder-bread like qualities that tends to be lacking in the other loaves I’ve made.

The bagels you see below are made following the sourdough bagel recipe found on the recipe page here; the original recipe was from Mike Avery’s SourdoughHome.com.

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Vermont Sourdough, round two

This time I used the Carl starter which has a little more tang. The loaves were in the oven for 30 minutes but at 420ºF – at least that’s what I set the oven at – as opposed to the 40 minutes at 460ºF the recipe calls for.

Vermont Sourdough, Round Two
Vermont Sourdough, Round Two

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Vermont Sourdough

Yeah, it’s been a few months. Not that I haven’t made bread, I have, numerous batches in fact. But they were really mostly “sandwich” bread and all basic yeast things. Not as tasteless as store bought “Wonder” type stuff (which they were meant to replace) but not terribly exciting, either. On the up side, these numerous plain breads allowed me to play with the oven’s temp a bit and I think I have it tweaked to be pretty accurate now so things don’t burn too much. So let’s get on with today’s bake.

Vermont Sourdough Continue reading “Vermont Sourdough”

Round Seven – Round indeed!

It’s been a short while since I’ve updated the blog so here’s the latest which was actually made last weekend, June 14th.

This time around, I went with a round bread to see how that would work. Since I still don’t have a banneton, I made do with a rice-flour coated, couche-lined sieve. By using a sieve, as opposed to just a bowl, I figured it would allow for some air transfer and keep the couche/canvas from getting damp and tacky. It pretty much worked, although it was still a bit tacky and pulled the dough ball a little when I transfered it to the baking sheet. I did not use the tiles this time, just to see how it would turn out and also to help conserve a certain amount of energy heating them for 45 minutes ahead of time (besides, it was already a pretty hot day, no sense heating up the kitchen even more).

The worry here was that the ball of dough would collapse and turn into a giant disk and not a proper “boule” or ball. Well, it did a bit of both. The soft dough rather spread out once it was on the baking sheet but perked up a bit and rose up during the initial time in the oven. Yes, I’m still guessing what the oven temp actually is, have not yet found a reasonably priced decent oven thermometer.

So again spending the entire time watching the progress and giving the bread a spin halfway through the cooking time, here’s the result. (Click pics to enlarge.)

Round 7: Round loaf - Click to embiggen

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