Week 11: Bagels and cupcakes and Pi

This weekend I decided to make the Jesuit bagels again without any real changes to the recipe; everyone who tried one liked it. But I did want to do the following:

  1. Calculate the carb content for this recipe.
  2. Roll all the bagels instead of using the poke-a-hole-through-the-ball-of-dough method.
  3. Make a better effort to make the bagels the same size. I did like the small ones, but when I used my bagel guillotine on them I always ended up with one nice-looking half and one bagel chip. Alternatively, I could try to develop a safer hand-slicing technique that would not actually slice hands. I haven’t cut myself yet while slicing bagels, but I’ve made a lot of bagels so far this year and I plan to make many more. The statistics are bound to catch up with me if I don’t develop some sort of culinary juke pattern.

Already on today’s bake list is a 9-inch round chocolate cake and 12 full-size cupcakes, a pumpkin pie, a cherry pie, and an apricot and raisin kugel recipe I’m trying for the first time. So I will be making the “experimental” batch of bagels tomorrow night. My baking schedule will soon be changing anyway because of different activities taking place during my kids’ week of spring vacation, so I will bake bagels when I can and try to publish soon afterwards. It just might not be always on Sundays.

I hesitate to mention this, but last week and this weekend I have had increasing difficulty with my hands. I’m getting pain when I’m carrying things β€” they don’t even have to be heavy things β€” and sometimes when I’m not holding anything at all. I haven’t banged them into anything lately, so I’m not sure of the cause. It does make me realize that I have to plan ahead more when working with things like hot, full, half-size baking sheet pans. And sometimes I have to ask for help with opening containers, which makes me feel as if I’m quite aged and feeble. But I’m not aged or feeble, and I’m having to ask for help even though it makes me frustrated and angry to do so. Eventually, I’ll be better able to accept this as a (hopefully temporary) limitation and find techniques and plans to help reduce its effects. But tonight’s kneading didn’t seem to make things worse.

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7:05pm
The bagels are formed and resting on a cookie sheet, covered, while the water comes to the boil. The dough looked identical to last week’s batch, so I didn’t end up taking a lot of pictures. If you want to see what it looked like, just scroll down to last week’s post (I’ll be right here when you come back). My daughter helped me by shaping two of the bagels (I didn’t ask; she volunteered).

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7:35pm
The bagels are in the oven for their 10-minute pre-wash bake. They did well in the boil, but I probably should have kept the water temperature a bit higher. I had the burner set at 8 to bring the water up to temperature during the second rise, and after I had boiled about half the bagels I noticed that the water wasn’t simmering any more. I will try keeping it at 9 next time when I need to start boiling bagels.

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8:05
Bagels! I had the oven light off during the bake, which is very unusual for me, so I didn’t even peek at the bagels during their last 20 minutes in the oven. When I took them out I was surprised at how dark they’d gotten.

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I did change one part of this recipe; I only boiled the bagels for two minutes total. I couldn’t stand the thought of waiting around to boil the poor bagels 3-1/2 minutes on each side. Maybe I’ll try that sometime. Tonight, with a cherry pie going in the oven as soon as the bagels were out, wasn’t the night.

Monday is Pi Day β€” so here is the cherry pie I’m sharing with the Math Department tomorrow. The recipe is in the current Penzeys catalog highlighting pies and Pi Day, and every pie recipe looks amazing. The cherries are two cans of pitted cherries in heavy sauce, drained of their sauce so I could make my own darned pie filling thank you, combined with a short pint of cherries harvested from the backyard cherry tree two summers ago, pitted, frozen, thawed, and drained. Daughter literally stopped in her tracks when she saw this pie cooling on the rack, and she doesn’t even like cherry pie. She said it looked impressive.

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Happy Pi Day, however you may choose to celebrate it, and look for more bagels here on Monday night.

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