Week 6: Starting Recipe Two

After thinking it over for a while, I decided to use the recipe in The Artisan Bread Machine, by Judith Fertig, for the second batch of bagels I made today. It’s a similar recipe to the one I’m using now, and I did want to stick with the recipes specific to bread machines for the start of the project.

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What about the other two bagel recipes still sitting, unbaked, in the first book I used? They were for variations I either hadn’t had before or didn’t particularly want to try, so I don’t mind moving on. Anyway, I’ve acquired a few more bagel recipes since I started the project, so I’m pretty sure that I won’t run out.

This month’s recipe, titled “Bread Machine Bagels,” was designed for 1-lb. capacity bread machines and mine can handle a 1-, a 1.5-, or a 2-lb. loaf, so it didn’t look like much once the ingredients were all in the bread machine pan.

The ingredients themselves are fairly straightforward: water, honey, sugar, salt, flour, and yeast. Let’s see what we get, and figure out where we can go from there.

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4:35pm
After the dough cycle was over, it was easy to see that a lot of the material did not get incorporated into the dough. I scraped everything out onto the table and tried to knead it all back in, but a lot of it just wouldn’t go. If I had checked on the dough just before the first rise started, I might have been able to prevent this. But since this kind of thing has happened before with small amounts of bread dough, the easiest fix to try might be just to double all the ingredients and see what happens.

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I divided the dough into six pieces according to the recipe, but only the sixth one was easy to roll into a rope with my hands. Frankly, they don’t look very promising. The recipe then directs me to let them rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or “until they are doubled in size.” Okay. If you say so. (But they didn’t.)

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I boiled the poor, scrawny rings for a minute on each side, gave them a whole-egg wash, and put them in the oven for 20 minutes to start, then 10 minutes more.

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Well, while they don’t compare well to the reference bagel or to the bagels I made this morning, they have gotten off to a better start than the first batch from January. And I’ve already thought of several things I might want to try to improve the recipe, including:

  • doubling the recipe
  • adding more yeast
  • changing the flour or the mixture of flours
  • changing the order in which I add ingredients to the bread machine

I’ll try to continue this “two track” method of working with a successful recipe while developing one that needs some improvement. After all, it’s the only way to be sure.

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