Sunday, February 19, 2006
I've just gotten back home from a weekend vacation in Sweden's second largest city, Gothenburg. We've had a great time - we stayed in an awesome hotel, and indulged in great food and shopping. Highlights included a visit to Heaven 23, a restuarant with a full view of the city and a heavenly shrimp sandwich, and dinner with our friend Linda and Anders who own one of our kittens, Honey.
No weekend cat blogging this time - but just wait, we're expecting kittens next week. Now, for some baking.
Making your own bagels is so simple, really. And in a place like Sweden, with no commercial bagels to be found, it's pretty much the one way to get those lovely chewy rounds, because they are nowhere to be found. Ok, that's not entirely true - sometimes, you can find frozen bagels. And some coffeshops will have them - never plain, but with a variety of toppings. Anyway, I like making my own. It's nice to have a few stashed for a quick meal - and I like them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they're so versatile.
A Kitchen-Aid or a similar machine comes in very handy. Bagels need good gluten development, and you get that by kneading, kneading and kneading some more. So if you don't have a dough machine - be prepared for a serious workout.
This time, I made plain bagels, and banana-pecan bagels with cinnamon. Let's start with the plain ones
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
300 ml tepid water, divided
500 g flour (you might need a little bit more
fat pinch of salt
Mix the yeast, sugar and 100 ml of tepid water in a large bowl. Let it sit for five minutes. Then, mix the flour with the salt, and add gradually, and add the remaining 200 ml of water. I use a Kitchen-Aid for mixing, but you could of course be doing this by hand. I let my machine run for about five minutes. You might need to add more flour - you're looking for a very smooth elastic dough, that doesn't feel sticky when you touch it. It shouldn't look dry and floury though!
Roll the dough into a ball, and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a towel, and let it rise for about an hour, or until it's roughly doubled in size. Then, knock the air out of it, and leave it for ten more minutes. Divide into 8 equal pieces (kitchen scales are handy for this) and shape into balls. Taking each ball in your hands, make a little hole in the middle. Stretch this hole by twirling the dough around your fingers until you have a decent donut shape. Place on a baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let rest for ten minutes.
Bring a large pot of water with a pinch of sugar in it to boil. Lower the temperature - you want it to simmer. Poach the bagels, two or three at a time, for about one minute on each side. They should puff up. Lift up with a slotted spoon, and place back on baking sheet. Bake in a 225°C oven for 14-16 minutes.