Saturday, 1 September 2012

Bashing out bagels

Having finally mastered bread, I got a bit lazy and sat on my laurels enjoying loafs and rolls and not bothering to branch out for a bit. Until, that is, the Great British Bake Off graced our screens for the third series and I was abruptly snapped out of my reverie and reminded that there's a whole world of bread-related goods out there. One of the contestants is actually trying to make this whole world of breads it seems - Brendan to win!

Suitably chastised, I took some inspiration from episode 2 and had a bash at bagels. I didn't use their recipe, as I wanted to start off with some plainer varieties than the ones shared on the Bake Off website. Instead, I found this BBC Good Food recipe which is really straight forward and gave me splendid results (if I do say so myself).

You'll need to be vaguely familiar with bread making, and confident in your kneading technique as you need a rise from the dough to get the right texture. But if you are a relative novice  it's still worth giving them a go. What's the worst that can happen (seriously - if you mess these up I want to see pictures).

I prepared the dough, whacked it in the airing cupboard while I went to the gym for an hour then came back, shaped, steamed and baked them in about 40 minutes.

Plugging for plain bagels with fennel seeds sprinkled on the top, as well as some cinnamon and raisin ones I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture. The shape was definitely a bit 'rustic' but I reckon that's the best way (or you might as well get them from the shop...).

Having mastered bagels I now feel I can rightfully claim myself as a 'proper' east ender. If you don't know why, watch the 'short history of bagels' bit 45 minutes into episode 2.

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