it turns out that making bagels is super easy! It took under 2.5 hours (at least 2 hours of which was rising/baking “down” time) and these are real bagels – chewy, thick-skinned, slightly dense.
the recipe is from Bake The Bread, Buy The Butter and, while I probably will try the 64-step, overnight bagel recipe from Beranbaum’s extensively complicated Bread Bible, i’m pretty sure this is all the bagel recipe i need. I even swapped half the bread flour out for white wheat flour with no ill effect.
even the fact that our oven’s thermostat has gone bananas (i sent it for 400 and halfway through the cooking it zoomed up to 550, a fact i was only alerted to when the cormeal began to scorch and set off the smoke alarm*) didn’t harm the bagels, which makes me think they are pretty hearty creatures. which is perfect for my kitchen.
it was my first day off in a couple of weeks, and today we: slept late, went to brunch at City Provisions, i baked bagels and made homemade vanilla extract. only the fact that we had a big brunch this morning and are going to a dinner party this evening is preventing us from simply spending sunday afternoon on the couch, eating bagels. a perfect, indulgent, food-themed sunday. tomorrow i’ll do chores, really.
* baking in an oven without a thermostat has its challenges; the fact that cornmeal smokes (and subsequently sets off the smoke detector) at 500 degrees has made it a handy bellwether.