Pinch me, I must be dreaming.
I mean, bagels aren't made at home. They're made at the eponymous bagel shop. Usually they're big and doughy, and after eating one, you feel like you ate your pillow.
Peter Reinhart's bagels from The Bread Baker's Apprentice do not fall in this category. You make them in your own kitchen, no magic or special equipment needed. Nor do you feel like you swallowed a rock.
I know it sounds like science fiction, but it's true.
I made these the day after we lost Allie, and I made them because I thought it would give me something to occupy myself with, something I had looked forward to doing. See, it was the bagels I saw on some of my favorite blogs that made me consider doing something as crazy as buying a book about bread and making the recipes.
I tried to screw up. I was quasi-successful the first time, except I threw in the towel when I realized I had under-hydrated the soaker, tried mixing more water into the dough, and quickly saw it wasn't going to work. The dough went in the trash and I started again.
Even the second time, my brain wasn't completely engaged and I mixed the yeast in with the flour, salt etc. to add to the soaker. I put the soaker in the fridge while we ate a late lunch, but rescued it after a half an hour and proceeded with the recipe, even though the soaker was chilled. I then rested the portioned dough in the barely warm oven for over an hour, enough for the little balls of dough to swell up considerably, making it hard to peel them off the parchment for shaping. I used the rope method, not the hole punch after seeing so many comments about flat bagels when using the hole punching method. But they floated immediately, and off to the fridge to sleep they went.
While drinking my coffee the next morning, I brought a pot of water to a boil, tossed in the baking soda, and boiled the little darlings a few at a time. They looked pathetically scrawny, and I worried that they wouldn't turn out.
After baking, they looked like this:
But I still worried. What if they weren't fully baked?? 10 minutes in the oven doesn't seem like enough time. I needn't have worried. When I cut into one, this is what I saw:
Toasted and spread with butter, it was divine.
I wish I thought to take a beauty shot, but I was too intent on eating it while it was hot. I knew you'd understand.