One of the easiest, but impressive, bread making tasks you can take on is the world of bagels. Bagels taste like normal bread. It’s the texture. There’s a real texture thing going on with bagels.
How do you get the texture? If you’re already thinking about making bagels, you probably know. You boil them! Bagels are boiled.
The water has a little bit of sugar. In fact, the best bagels often use malt syrup to add a malty taste. I use brown sugar. Just a little.
A kitchen tool people don’t think about when baking is an electric skillet. We use ours for pancakes, bacon (if not roasting), camping, and breads that need boiling.
The skillet provides a great measure of control both for boiling and for simmering. I set it to about 200F for a simmer and 250 for boiling. Leave some room for raising the temp – if the water drops in temp, it gives you some spurs.
Water boils at 212F or 100C, and it won’t heat up above that. If you keep your skillet over that temp, it will always add some heat. Which is nice.
The boiling of bagels – remember those? – is what gives it the thinnish, chewy exterior. After boiling the surface is also wet – which is great for adding some seeds or chunks of crunchy salt. Sesame seeds are my favorite.
I also like salt.
I also also like swiss cheese – but only with green olive cream cheese spread.
If you are feeling very for it, you can also learn how to make your own cream cheese! I am happy to buy this at the store. Why would you make your own cream cheese?
(I will likely do it some day).
Bagels also have the classic bread twist of being cooked after being cooked. It’s nice to split them in half and toast them. There are folks who act like this is a crazy proposition, and to them I say, you guys are kind of being jerks! Let me eat my bagel how I want!
Bagel pontification ends with some sorrow. My stomach won’t let me eat lox. Something about the processing gives me gastritis, and it is very painful. So, I only eat lox once a year.
It’s painful, but delicious.