Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bagels make a reappearance!

It was in the early days of December when Meg first tried her hand at bagel-making (with the help of the trusty Mark Bittman, of course, and his perenially useful How to Cook Everything). Perhaps this or this will jog your memory (and mine!). In any case, it happened that on Michelle's birthday, the last day of June, we all decided we wanted to get in on the bagel-making action too, and so we headed to Meg's for a bagel-making session. Never mind that at least two of us were sick! There were bagels to be made!

But first we needed refreshment. Meg had made a delicious white sangria, a perfect summer drink. If you're not on antibiotics, that is. I may have had a little glass (sorry Mom!). But honestly, how could I resist?

We decided on the varieties of bagel we wanted, and gathered ingredients. The types of bagel we chose to make were poppyseed, sesame seed, sundried tomato, and onion, cumin, basil and sea salt. The seeds were gorgeous – who knew that poppyseeds vary slightly in colour? Click on the collage for larger image.

We made the basic dough and divided it amongst four bowls, covered them, found space for them around Meg's kitchen, and then left them to rise for a couple of hours. Bagel-making definitely requires a time commitment, but not a focussed time commitment. Hence the sangria!

Interlude: Imagine two hours occurred here, passed through conversation, possibly some drinking, and Michelle opening presents...

Then we got to deflate the dough by punching it! Michelle the birthday girl demonstrates below.

We worked the ingredients into the dough. Sometimes it was a little messy, as with the tomatoes.

Forming the bagels was half the fun. There are two bagel-forming schools of thought: do you form a bun shape and then pierce a hole in the centre, or do you form a snake and join the two ends. Really, how you make a bagel says so much about your approach to life. Decisions, decisions.

We noticed we were all wearing red. Everyone, that is, except me. Clearly I was picking up some Christmas vibe.

The bagels were finished and placed on the rack. Before being dunked into boiling water! Sounds torturous, doesn't it?

We fished them out and dipped them in the toppings we chose. Here I demonstrate how to get poppyseeds on both sides of the bagel by mistake. Whoops. Then they went back to the rack.

Finally, the bagels disappeared into the oven, a mysterious part of their lengthy journey, but a necessary step to produce...

The final result! Somehow, we had created finished, delicious bagels! Unbelievable. We all had our favourites. Mine was the sesame seed, cut open still warm, and slathered with butter. So violent, this bagel-making! We may have eaten quite a few bagels - though we did all divide up the spoils, I have to report that many bagels didn't survive the initial heady surprise that we could make our own bagels. Fantastic. Though there may be an ongoing debate over which is better, the Montreal or the New York bagel (or even the Toronto bagel), ours were unbeatable, really. I'm just sayin'.

We must do it again! Sadly, our efforts to complete the Canada Day giant cryptic crossword weren't quite as successful...


Meg said...

Perfect post Laura! You make me want to travel back in time and relive our bagel day. We must do more of these all-day-in-the-kitchen-with-many-interludes things. Perogies are still on our list...

You're so right about how beautiful the poppy seeds are.

So, what does it say about me that I prefer the hole-punching technique to the snake technique?

And, in my opinion, the cumin bagels were the best. Maybe because they were so unexpected?

Laura said...

Definitely - l agree that lazy-interlude cooking is a great way to spend an afternoon. And perogies - I can't wait! I noticed that on your original bagel post I commented about wanting to make gnocchi - and look how soon that happened! So no doubt perogies will be happening soon too.

moyrad said...

I agree that the cumin sea salt bagels were the best. Cumin has a great aroma and the sea salt makes the flavour pop. I also enjoyed beating the dough - very cathartic, bakers must be happy people with all the venting they can do on their dough. Perogies sound good to me. Meg and I were also talking about doing a variety of flavourful dumplings a la Food Jammer UN of Dumplings. Yeah for up and coming dumplings!!!!