Week 21: What, these things again?

These bagels were made on May 23.

I wasn’t thrilled with the Joy of Cooking bagels, but I was committed to my plan of staying with the same recipe for the whole month. I did think about making alterations to the recipe to make them more “bagel like,” but that made me wonder what the point would be of using different recipes if I wound up changing each new one I wasn’t fond of to be another copy of the old one I liked better. By the time I realized I’d gone off on such a tangent, there wasn’t time to change the recipe anyway. However, I did decide to apply some toppings to this batch, as you will see later.

To compensate for my lack of enthusiasm I decided to somewhat overdocument the bagel making process. It’s difficult to take pictures of certain parts of the process, such as kneading the dough, but I did what I could. If my words describing this week’s batch are a bit sparse, think of this as more of a photo essay. (Future Beth: “Believe me, I’ll have a lot less to say about next week’s bagels.” Wink wink, nudge nudge, SAY NO MORE.)

Milk, butter, and yeast.


Milk, butter, yeast, and eggs.


Eggs, incorporated.


With one cup of flour added.


With two cups of flour….


With three cups….


Four cups. I’m using the position of the wooden spoon in the bowl to indicate how many cups of flour I have added to the dough. It’s easy to lose track, which would be bad.


Before the rise time.


This dough really is an easy one to work with. I have no complaints with that! I just wish that it made better bagels than it does.


After the rise time.


Did I mention that I recently bought a new deep skillet just for the bagels? Hamilton Beach calls it a “chicken fryer” but that’s only because they don’t realize it’s perfect for making bagels at home. They should call it a “bagel boiler.” I will write in a future blog post about some of the “new stuff” I’ve been acquiring during this bagel project. Anyway, here’s the brand-stinkin’-new skillet:



Ah, yes. This was also the week that I got sick and tired of my bagel joins looking dorky and/or falling apart in the boil. So this week I chopped the dough into 16 roughly equivalent portions, rolled them into balls, and did the whole “stick in your thumb and twirl the dough around until it looks like a bagel” thing.



For anyone who went to summer camp: There’s a hole in the middle of the dough, there’s a hole in the middle of the dough. There’s a hole in the middle, there’s a hole in the middle, there’s a hole in the middle of the dough.


After a 30 minute rise on the tea towel.


Hey, it works!


Left to right: Sesame seed, plain, Mural of Flavor, plain.





If there’s ever a local play that needs prop bagels for their production — it could happen; I have two typewriters who were under the lights in the Watertown High School production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” some years ago — just call me up and I (or you) will make a batch of these. They look amazingly like real, authentic bagels. It’s just that they taste like white bread with bagel toppings stuck on them. Come on, bagels. You can do better than this!





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