Sunday, March 7, 2010

Making Bagels, and Exploding Pyrex

All in a day's work, right?

I came across this article about making bagels from scratch. This prospect excited me. A lot. Bagels, if you buy the real kind, are darn expensive. Once or twice a year, we buy a dozen from a local bakery and it costs about $15. (Hence the reason it's only once or twice a year.) But to make them from scratch at home? Totally worth giving it a try.

So the recipe is for cinnamon raisin bagels. Bigger One is cut off of all things sticky - including dried fruit and raisins - due to ongoing dental work, so I opted for just plain whole-wheat. I used Golden Buffalo whole wheat flour for all of the flour, not using any white flour. I also didn't put sugar in the boiling water, since we try to avoid sugar when it's not necessary.

The result? Well, they really were plain bagels. They were good, "The best bagels in the whole world," according to Chloe. But they were lacking something. I'm going to try honey in the dough next time, and probably will add the sugar to the water. My hope is to get the basics down and then be able to make a couple dozen bagels each month. It seemed like a daunting task, all this rising and boiling and such, but it really wasn't so bad. The worst part was waiting the two hours for the dough to rise.

Well, and the exploding Pyrex part. Yeah, did you know Pyrex explodes? Neither did I.

The recipe I used called for a broiler pan with water in the oven with the baking bagels. I do the same for my regular bread recipe, except I've always used a Pyrex casserole dish for that purpose. I put my glass dish of water in, put the baking stone in, and turned on the oven. When I opened the oven to slide the bagels in, the Pyrex dish shattered. Searing hot water and millions of shards of glass all over the bottom of the oven. It was a mess - and it was scary. Glass casserole dishes make a lot of noise whilst they shatter. Poor Cora - who was, thankfully, across the room at the time - cried for twenty minutes just because it scared her.

I looked up Pyrex - I thought it could withstand heat up to 900 degrees or something. According to an article I found called Pyrex Panic, this isn't unheard of. So be careful with your glass bakeware, and keep your kids away from the oven when you're using it!

So mid-bagel making, I had to shut off the oven and carefully use tongs to remove the majority of the glass from the oven. (Thanks to a very smart friend, I vacuumed out the rest of the shards with the shop vac.)

The verdict - making bagels is not nearly as complicated as I feared it would be. Unless there happens to be an exploding glass dish in your oven.


Anonymous said...

We nearly had one of those this morning-- turned the wrong burner on underneath a pyrex pie plate that was sitting on the stove.
Last year we had a burner that didn't get turned off entirely and it exploded a giant cake pan all over the kitchen. Thankfully, none of us was in there at the time.
I'm going to keep an eye out for stainless bakeware at the thrift shops :-)

Alan said...

We make bagels almost once a week. (Since we have started making them our bagel consumption has increased to about 4 a day...) We use the recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. It takes a little longer than 5 minutes for the bagels, but no more than 20 minutes actual working time. You can see the process here Keep trying it's worth it!

Julie said...

Alan - thanks for the encouragement, and for the link! I'll definitely give it another go, and I'm sure they'll get better each time as I tweak it for our preferences.

'Life' - eek! Glad no one was hurt. Scary stuff, that Pyrex is.

Wendy said...

scary about the pyrex! I bet those bagels looked gorgeous though! I love the way home made bagels look.