I've been meaning to post about bagels for awhile now, since the first time John made bagels, but it slipped. Now maybe this will prompt him to get on the ball and make more. He's been doing a lot of bread baking since we moved up here, and for the most part it's been awesome. (He might argue but this is my blog so I get to praise his breads all day long if I want.) We'd been buying a local brand of bagels called Bagels Forever, which are about $1.30 for a four pack at Jenny St. Market, that have no preservatives. They probably the best bagels I've bought, but they're not the best bagels I've had. No, that honor belongs to these:
Well, those and all the other ones John's made. This was his first batch so they were a little asymmetrical, but it's possible I could take some of the blame, as I helped poke holes in them and twirl them. I didn't know anything about how bagels are made, so it was fun watching the raw dough boil. Why yes, that is my $8 wok from Ikea! (Actually, it's my second, and it's going much quicker than the first, but to be fair, I've used it a helluva lot more than the first. If you don't have a wok I highly recommend getting one. I use mine 3-4 times a week and, at $8, I don't mind when someone forgets and uses metal on it and scratches the nonstick coating. Ok, I do, a little.) When I made crackers in January I topped them with a variety of seasonings -- poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic powder, fennel seeds -- and what I didn't use I saved for John. He used egg white for the glue and had enough for eight of the bagels, then left the other four plain. Both kinds were delicious.
The second batch turned out beautiful, possibly because I didn't touch them. They looked just like bagels you'd buy at the store but tasted so much better. We toasted them then slathered them with cream cheese. We ate them with hummus. We ate them with cream cheese, tomatoes and fresh-ground pepper. We ate them as sandwiches. We fought over who got the last one. I won since I'd been keeping track of how many we each had eaten. (That might sound strange, or even obsessive, but we had been eating them for breakfast daily, then he had one for a snack when I didn't, so it was an easy call.) I guess if John had started to tear up I might have shared it with him, but luckily he didn't, and I didn't have to share.
I'll leave you with a picture of the greatest bagel sandwich in history: egg, tomato, spicy brown mustard, cheese. Too bad I didn't take a picture of its only contender, one that had kale. Yes, kale. It makes a nice substitute for lettuce.
Sweet Potato Challah
2 months ago