Week 7: A honey whole wheat Valentine

During the past week I bought another cookbook, bought another volume of food writing, read further in my bagel book (without reaching the end of the book), and started carefully reading another cookbook on breads. I used to think that it was a good thing to be able to rip straight through a book more quickly than anyone else, but after a while I discovered that I didn’t retain much content that way. If I want to remember any of what I’m reading, I need to slow myself down, read carefully, and think critically. I suspect that this will become more important to do as I get older.

This weekend I had hoped to make one batch of bagels on Saturday and the other on Sunday, but it just didn’t work out that way. With my daughter’s basketball tournament championship game at 4pm splitting my day, I made one batch on Sunday morning and didn’t start the second until Sunday night. I decided to make the first batch from the working recipe and save the more experimental one for later.

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10:20am
This was the time at which I started processing the ingredients in the bread machine. I handled everything in the usual way except that I didn’t heat the honey-water as much as I usually have been. I didn’t want to make it too hot and then have to wait for it to cool own, so I went ahead and added the yeast. Sure enough, after more than five minutes the yeast hadn’t developed as much as it had last week. But that’s okay. We’ll see what happens.

I didn’t feel like changing the recipe much, if at all, this week, for a couple of reasons. One was that the three tasters from last week who got their bagels liked them just fine. But two of my tasters didn’t get fresh bagels, and I wanted them to have that chance this week.

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11:50am
Confirmed: the dough didn’t rise to rival last week’s heights. But it got close to the top of the bread machine pan and was easy to work with. I made eight rolls and left them to rise, covered, while the water came up to the boil.

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One of the bagels lost its shape when it got in the boiling water. This week I didn’t worry about trying to fix it. It shall be a curved breadstick, not that there shall be anything wrong with that. Whole-egg wash. Two Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle bagels.

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12:20pm
Last week’s bagels baked for 30 minutes. I put 20 minutes on the oven timer when I put them in, but I expected the baking time to run longer.

12:40pm
Yep — they’ll need 10 more minutes. When I peeked at them (and turned the pan) the were looking good, but clearly needed more time.

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12:50pm
Me: Do you want to eat a bagel?

Daughter: Can I have the one that exploded?
Son One: Not really.
Son Two: I don’t want a bagel right now.
Son Three: I’m not trying to insult you or anything, because all the bagels look AWESOME. I’m just not hungry right now.

<sigh> It’s a good thing I’m doing this project for neither fame nor fortune.

1:25pm
I’ve just realized that I haven’t been tasting my own bagels right away, but instead relying on the subjective and delayed opinions of my tasters. I am delighted to change that trend today by slicing a bagel for myself, toasting it, and enjoying it with cream cheese.

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I’ve also just realized that this is the first time I’ve enjoyed a fresh bagel almost straight from the oven. I grew up eating grocery-store bagels from the refrigerator or freezer section. It’s a pleasure to be able to give this treat to myself, especially on a day when no other special treats are forthcoming (except, of course, the chance to see my daughter play basketball this afternoon — go Knights!).

On the other hand, all my children are special treats to me, even if they’re “not hungry right now.”

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