Monday, May 25, 2009

it's bagel week here at OPK!

so, we're on week 3 of the challenge. and because the bread is disappearing so fast, i'm forced to start on sunday, and slave into the wee hours of the night. or not. mostly, i just really really wanted bagels this morning for breakfast.

and let me tell you, these were worth every minute of lost sleep.

peter reinhart created a really lovely recipe, the bagels are glorious. soft, chewy, a crisp crust (although not as crisp as some may like, mine have a thin, crispy crust) and that fantastic flavor that only high gluten flour and malt syrup can give. they smelled like pretzels while i was boiling them. i've had a bagel disaster before, using the artisan bread in 5 minutes a day method. but i'm chalking that up to a: high altitude issues, and 2: my inexperience with bagel dough.

i was initially concerned, since the bagels floated in the first water test without sinking. like, in 1 second, they were floating. i was concerned that it meant they would be gooey, falling apart when i boiled them for real. but, a night in fridge to retard, and these bagels were ready for anything.

i know i'm gushing, but i am a bagel fanatic. i spent a month in nyc some years ago, and one of the things i loved dearly was the morning bagel runs. i never thought i would get something quite as good as a fresh bagel. but i'm a convert. and i will most definitely be making these again.

i didn't want to order high gluten flour, so i just bought some vital wheat gluten, mixed 1 tsp for every 1C of bread flour, and called it done. and i think it worked pretty well. kneading the dough was a serious workout, since i wanted to do it by hand. even though the KA is perfectly capable of kneading the dough just fine, i'm finding that it's easier for me to get a feel for the dough, and what it needs if i knead by hand. malt syrup was sourced at the local earth fare, and i heard you could get it cheaper via a brew your own beer place. too bad i forgot about that fact while i was shopping.

so, one of these days, i'll get back to photographing our meals... until then, enjoy drooling at the pics of my awesome bagels. and since it made 13, and i don't think i can eat all of them myself, amanda, michelle, and lori, i have some for you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

week 2 challenge - christopsomos bread

week 2 began on sunday, and i was anxious to get the new loaf made. i've been lucky enough to locate the recipes online, so as of right now, i still don't own the book. very soon though. gotta pay the rent first!

the bread was a quick throw together, since i already had a starter bubbling away in the fridge. it fit the criteria, and i used it, and if it wasn't supposed to work, i don't think it would have. the bread made the house smell so good while baking, and the taste? fantastic. i sliced off a piece (or three) before it was cooled off, and shared with our toddler. who kept asking for more bread.

the bread in a nutshell? soft, moist inside, crispy crust (the bread was done about 10 minutes before the recipe's stated time, and i didn't get it out quite in time),spicy and studded with golden raisins, and craisins. sweet and tart, and now i'm regretting making it into 2 loaves and giving one to the neighbors. oh well! i can always make it again, and i probably will.

when i rolled it into the loaf shape, the rolled dough was a little long for the loaf pan... once i folded the ends under, and let it rise again, it became somewhat misshapen. but it was so good, who cares.

more info on the challenge can be found at while the google group is closed, you can still join in, via facebook and twitter. look up bba challenge, or #bba to find us.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

anadama bread and other things

well, i've jumped on a proverbial bandwagon. i joined a challenge online. and not just any challenge, but baking through the bread bakers apprentice by peter reinhart. every week, we're going to be doing a new recipe, and we're baking through the book in order. interestingly, i still need to get my hands on a copy of this book, but soon enough. soon enough.

so, the bread. i wasn't prepared for the crunch of it. it's slightly sweeter than i expected, but not quite a dessert bread. i used a jar of sorghum syrup i got up in the mountains last time i was in the hills, and it ended up being quite good. zoƫ and i have both enjoyed our slices of it, mine with nutella, her's with butter. once you get beyond the fact that it seems like you're eating a bowl of uncooked grits (which is an exaggeration) it's great bread. certainly not something i would have made otherwise, but something i'm enjoying.

i noticed it didn't rise quite as much as i had wanted. next time, i'm not going to assume it will rise during baking. one loaf ended up being a bit shorter and squattier than the other. what i really need to do is get my other loaf pans out, as these aren't really working so well for me.

i don't know about re-posting the recipe, but i will link to another blog who has. because i'm a scaredy cat like that. :)