Week 18: Unfrozen

This past weekend was another weekend when I did not expect to be making bagels, for a combination of reasons. First, it was the end of Passover; as this is my first time paying closer attention to the Jewish seasons and holidays, I wasn’t sure when it actually ended and therefore I didn’t know what it would be appropriate for me to be baking. To be safe, I wasn’t planning to bake anything. Second, I had a minor medical procedure scheduled for Friday morning, and I wasn’t sure how my recovery would progress over the weekend.

As it turned out, my recovery is going well but it does require me to be much more gentle with myself than I had expected. It takes a certain amount of my attention to make sure I stay on schedule with the medicine that’s managing my pain. It’s also taking more energy than I thought it would to perform even passive activities such as reading and watching television. Walking the dog, doing the laundry, and driving the car sap my energy very quickly. I am someone who thinks wistfully of naps from time to time but rarely takes one. This weekend I spent more time sleeping and napping than I thought was possible for a basically healthy person.

By Sunday afternoon I realized that it would not be a good idea for me to bake bagels. In fact, even the fatigue that would be brought on by a search for the May bagel master recipe might be enough to make me call in “sleepy” to work on Monday. Fortunately, May has four more Sundays for me to get back into the rhythm of regular bagel-making. Even more fortunately, I had stashed some bagels in the freezer a few weeks ago. Today was a great day to thaw them out and see how freezing and thawing might have affected their texture and flavor.

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I didn’t label the bagels when I bagged and froze them (bad baker! bad baker!), but it didn’t take long to figure out that they were from Week 11, the first batch of Fox Point bagels. Wait, a few weeks ago? More like seven weeks ago. That might not be a significant amount of freezer time for commercially produced bagels, but for homemade bagels that don’t contain any kind of preservatives, it might make a difference.

I moved the bag o’ bagels from freezer to fridge sometime this morning, and checked on them from time to time throughout the day. By 9pm they seemed to have thawed enough to slice.

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They looked good, but felt dense and dry. And as I suspected, that’s exactly what the freezer time had done to them.

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Don’t get me wrong, I toasted it up and slathered it with light cream cheese and ate it. But it was still rather dry.

The next time I freeze bagels, I’ll do a few things differently:

  • slice them first
  • put a date on the freezer bag
  • make sure I use them within a couple of weeks

Lesson learned. Onward to next week and a new bagel recipe!

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