Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mindboggling bagels

"A study performed at the University of Maryland noted that laughter seems to cause the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels to relax or expand, increasing blood flow. Mental stress, on the other hand, causes the opposite effect: making vessels constrict, and thus reducing blood flow." (source: suite101)
Sure thing is that our bodies got a real work-out on that particular Wednesday when we started performing the June challenge, baking bagels from scratch. This challenge proved (proofed?) to be a source of both; a little stress and lots and lots of real belly laughs.

Remember this one is all about bagels. Daring Bakers bagels. In the process we discovered friendship, a Principle, the art of writing a good recipe, the art of reading a recipe and the art of working with bagel dough. I will take you through uncharted waters bubbling with mayhem malt syrup, raising hell and dough in a smallish kitchen crowded by two official Daring Bakers and two less official but nonetheless very dear and daring baker friends. Please meet: Tanna (at My Kitchen in Half Cups, Sue (at Sue Cooks Wild) and Monique (at no blog, not yet) and myself.





First things first: the recipe we had to follow (exact! as in: don't you dare stray/interprete...) used a huge amount of yeast, we frowned, protested, eyed each other, and decided to go ahead with it. Reading the recipe was another thing, there was a lot of white noise which made it hard to get to the core of the recipe (as in instructions: what to do when and how). Which caused a little bravado in the beginning and ended in some stress in getting the bagels ready for dinner. Yes, that's D i n n e r. I know you're not supposed to eat bagels for dinner but since we had lots of them and no time left to prepare dinner we could as well eat them, right? We, that is we adults, I rushed out at half time to get the kids some take-out fries and croquettes...

Second: how to make perfect bagels? I can safely tell you that we explored almost every known method including rope, snake, hole-punching and still had time and energy to invent some more. Mind, we were drinking tapwater at the time! Let me show you the bagel-dance, the bagel-twist, the Halo-bagel, the Helga-bagel, the on-the-floor-laughing-no-bagel-in-sight-bagel and where the-hell-did-that-bagel-go-bagel. Oh and yes, along the way we invented this wonderfull new name calling word: Flat bottomed bagel! To be used in instances like: get outta my way you flat bottomed bagel!

Third: Boil a Bagel... Well that was not easy! We had the occasional sinker, lots of floaters (yeast leaden bageloos?), shrinkers, puffers, wrinklers and combinations of aforementioned.

Fourth: the proof is in the pudding. Let's eat the darn things! We had plans, oh yes, we planned, of having a tapas oriented bagel-feast. (We were officially permitted to get crazy on the toppings.) You know, tapas-style identical bowls, elegantly laid out with salmon, avocado-pear salad, shrimps, eggs, lettuce, paté, tomatoes, hummus, sun dried tomato-olive spread, cream cheese..... Starring the perfect bagels in their midst. Got the mind-picture?

Now forget that and picture the largest plate in the house with all of the above splashed on it, wine, water and the paninimaker right there on the table. Impromptu served dinner. Our excuse: We were tired and famished!! And Monique didn't get to taste one of the bagels, she had to rush out to a meeting.... Shame on us!

Verdict: Bagels were so-so. I think I have to do this again. To really know what was going on. Maybe. Sounds like a good idea. But not for a while. In fact, I was planning to this weekend and do a side by side comparison, but it dawned on me (literally very early this morning) that this post was due today! Please hop over and read Tanna's story over here. Most of the pictures you see here are taken by the incredible talented Sue-chef. Thanks Sue!

You can find the recipe we had to follow: "Real Honest Jewish Purist Bagels", and a round-up of all the bagel posts at All Things Edible and Writing at the Kitchen Table, Freya and Jenny are the hosts of this month's challenge. Thanks gals!

32 comments:

  1. What a laugh-riot your kitchen must have been!! Perfect Daring Baker post and great job on getting all that laughing/bagel twirling in!

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  2. Oh my goodness, what fun you girls had! I love the bagel twirl ...in fact I loved the entire slide show.Great Job!

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  3. Can I quote you on all this?!
    Don't be allowing any of those flat bottom bagels in that kitchen, move'um out the way!
    Some of the bagels may have been a little bumpy, not flat bottomed BUT your post is toally spot on awesome!

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  4. hahahahahaaa! Sounds like you gals had so much fun! That's excellent! =)

    Just so-so, eh? Well I guess that's better than horrible, right? hehehe

    I look forward to seeing your second attempt!

    xoxo

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  5. Oh, I wish had been there, so close but far away! Make them again and you will see that you like them better!

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  6. Nothing like some bagel-bonding eh?! I'm going to make mine again too to see if I can get a more rounded bottom! Yours still look good!

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  7. Very funny - and those toppings sound fantastic!

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  8. How fun! I loved your post. You brought up so many things I didn't mention -- "the art of a well-written recipe" -- absolutely! And my mom and I didn't wait for dinner. We ate bagels all afternoon. They were delicious. Your bagels look terrific!

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  9. Oh I loved this post - hilarious - especially the 'bageloos'! Oh to be an onlooker of your adventures. Well done!

    And I don't think there are any rules against having bageloos for dinner!

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  10. Oh that must have been so much of fun. You girls look like you had a riot. Now that is really my kind of challenge. I loved the pictures and had an awesome laugh.Well done!!

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  11. Looks like you all had a blast, and got to eat bagels, so the afternoon was a huge success!
    Great work on the challenge!

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  12. That is so funny!!! I love it! You've just proved that the best part of baking is baking with friends and having fun!

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  13. Thanks gals! It is so much fun to see all these bagels popping up everywhere and I can't get enough of the stories of swelling, sinking, floating.
    Tanna did all of the kneading, and most of the pictures are Sue's credit. We all took part in the shaping and had a relaxing dinner afterwards. We managed to keep the wine under the cork almost till dinnertime!

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  14. I never thought I'd see the phrases tapas-style, bagels for dinner, and bagel dance all in a single post. Wonderful post!

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  15. At least ya'll had a blast! It's all about the laughter!

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  16. Oh my, the slide show was the best. You gals had a blast. I want to do the next challenge with others!!!

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  17. Hilarious post. Sounds like you guys had a great time!

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  18. This is really brilliant! I loved the slide show! What better way to do the challenge?

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  19. Too much fun! Glad you got to do these with Tanna and your friend. The hilarity shows through out the post and the bagels were surely the better for all that playfulness.

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  20. I came by just to see the bagels that looked like little old men and this post did not disappoint!

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  21. Looks like a pretty fun time! I think any bagel that tastes good is perfect, no matter what it looks like.

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  22. Sounds like you had a super fun time! Great job on your bagels.

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  23. Love the slideshow, and the bagel twirl was my favorite. Hee.

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  24. Looks like you had a blast! I loved the slideshow, the best part was the twirl, hehehe.

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  25. Karen,
    What a great post!! I was so happy to be there in your kitchen with my camera at the ready! Never have I laughed so much -- it's a wonder all of the pictures weren't blurred! Nice job! Hope this comment goes through.
    Sue

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  26. Okay... so for the July challenge, I think I'm going to fly to the Netherlands and join you ladies. You take having fun with bagels to a brand new level!

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  27. Leuk verhaal Karen! Ik hoef niet te vragen of jullie het gezellig hebben gehad :-)

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  28. Wow--that is so cool that you guys got together! Great bagels.

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  29. dat was met recht een bagel-feestje!
    Er is toch niets leukers dan met gelijkgestemden in de keuken te staan (en het daarna op te eten!)

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  30. Great bagels and so much fun! Thanks for sharing the pics.

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  31. I haven't had this much fun reading a blog post in a looooooong time! :) How wonderful it must have been to bake with good company like these. Thank you for sharing and making us feel like we were there too. :)

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  32. My bagels are flat and strange looking. They taste great, but I definitely couldn't give these away on a platter. They taste much better than they look.

    And I'm still trying to find a way to make them taller. Not so flat!

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