Saturday, February 11, 2012

Bagels, a Work in Progress

For the last three days, I’ve been messing around with bagels. Don’t ask me why, but now I feel like the bagels are laughing at me. I come from the land of the bagel and one of my son’s friends comes from a long line of award winning baglers, but I live in Miami, the land of the cottony Cuban bread. Once in a while a new bagel shop opens and claims to have the formula for the best New York or even Brooklyn bagel, but….

Some people really believe that the difference is the New York water. If I believed that, then I’d believe that you really can taste the nuances of “designer” salts. Yes, water does taste different in New York, but I have yet to be convinced that bagels know the difference.
New York bagels could be better because of the huge investment in equipment, but, if that were the absolute difference, I would give up right now--all I have is a residential variety electric oven. 

Sometimes I think that trying to produce the perfect bagel is as dumb a pursuit as making my own couscous out of semolina flour, grinding my own flour, or buying casings from a butcher supply house and stuffing my own sausages. I really do have a flour grinder and sausage stuffer, both of which fit on my very old but virtually unchanged Kitchen Aid mixer.

No, I haven’t been able to cure this week’s obsession, so I’ve made too many bagels. The first batch looked flattened out, like the ones the bagel stores pass off as lower in calories. The second batch was so bad that I threw them out. This batch is almost perfect.

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