Week 13: It’s the Easter Bagel, Charlie Brown!

I returned home from spring break this afternoon. We got an early start on the drive, didn’t stop for lunch, and generally just made such good time on the road that we got home in the middle of the afternoon. It was raining by then, so we decided to unwind instead of unpacking the van right away. The kids unwound with separate video games. I looked at the clock and thought, “I have plenty of time to make bagels!”

I was glad that it was still March and it wasn’t “time” to change bagel recipes yet. (Even if I’m the one who made the rules — more like guidelines, really — I still feel better when I follow them.) So it was back to the plain Jesuit bagels, but I did make a couple of small changes.

First of all, I changed the yeast from Fleischmann’s regular to Fleischmann’s RapidRise. This was simply because I had used up all the regular yeast packets. Normally I don’t use the RapidRise type at all, but I think one of the bagel recipes I read had called for it specifically, so it was on hand. It wasn’t this recipe that called for it, but as fate would have it, today was RapidRise’s day to shine. Or blossom. Or whatever yeast does when it’s asked to step up and give a great performance.

I didn’t notice any difference.

Everything else about the recipe was the same except that I made eight bagels from the dough instead of twelve. The little ones were cute and low-carb by definition, but last week’s batch didn’t get eaten before they started to get tiny spots of mold. (It took almost a week, though.) Plus, larger bagels make better sandwiches and are easier to retrieve from the toaster. My bagels are still smaller than the huge ones I can get from the store, so the calories and carbs are also less. So, healthier!

(They’re also healthier because I’m not spraying them with preservatives or whatever the store bakeries do. I still have a couple of the reference bagels I bought from the store a month ago, and other than turning hard as rocks, they show no signs of age. That’s just not right. On the other hand, they make a great chew toy for the dog. He likes to carry them around for hours before he starts to chew them up.)


So, everything went the same as usual for this recipe. I remembered to heat the water and preheat the oven and all that stuff. I should try to watch the water more closely, because it’s boiling off a bit before I get the bagels to it, and the Jesuit bagels tend to stick to the bottom of the pan. To get them to float I’ve been nudging them with the tool I use for turning them, but I should really try keeping more water in the pan. I might have to use a deeper pan.

Just-formed bagels before their 20-minute second rise.
After the 20-minute rise.
Ready to go in the 375° oven.
After ten minutes in the oven, and just before the egg-white wash.
After the egg-white wash.
Just out of the oven, and beautifully golden brown.

Ta daah, eight bagels instead of twelve! The funny thing is that when I turned around, there were only seven thanks to Son Two. Then, thanks to Daughter, there were only six. I bagged up a few for my tasters (because I finally found bread bags and twist ties at my grocery store!) and left a few for the family. Who knows? Maybe I’ll make bagels again this week.

On the left, the seemingly eternal reference bagel. On the right, a fresh homemade bagel.

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