I was really excited when I saw this week's Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking with Julia assignment. I've made bagels at home once before, but used a different recipe. To see the recipe for these bagels, please visit this week's host blog, Heather's Bytes.
Dorie's cookbook promises that these bagels will be airy and cakey, not heavy and chewy. To be honest, I was having trouble imagining what the texture would be like, as just about every bagel I've ever had has been heavy and chewy.
I followed Dorie's recipe almost to the letter. The few differences: I used bread flour instead of high-gluten flour, and I reduced the boiling time to 60 seconds per side. I did include the optional teaspoon of ground black pepper. Although there was no distinct peppery taste to the bagels, they did leave a spicy aftertaste. It wasn't unpleasant, but it's not a taste I prefer in my bagels, so next time, I'll leave it out.
Other than that, I loved these bagels! They really were light and airy! I topped some of them with poppy seeds (The Mister's favorite), some with sesame seeds (The Mister's second-favorite), and left a few plain (my favorite).
Don't be afraid of the dough. When you cut and shape the bagels, don't be afraid to pull the dough taut to form a ball. Pinch it tightly so that the ball keeps its shape. Repeat once or twice to make the ball firm and tight (it took me two repetitions). This process forms gluten, which helps the bagel keep its shape.
Do pay close attention to the directions. I skipped over the instructions to reduce the oven temperature from 500 degrees to 450 degrees, and burned the first 5 bagels.
Don't forget to visit Tuesdays with Dorie to see blog posts by other participants. Links will be posted as comments on the blog entry.