When I woke up at 5 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, I wondered if it was a bad omen for the day. Trying to think positively, I figured I could be super-productive. Bread-making was on my list today. I always have the best intentions about homemade bread but it seems that I never make it unless I am completely out so I’ve deliberately left bread off my list for the last 2 shopping trips. Being in dire circumstances, I was pressed into making bread today, bad karma or not.
I feel quite domestic when I bake and in all my enthusiasm, I often mix in all the flour without paying attention to the texture of the dough. So after dumping in all 6 cups of flour, I realized that my dough was a little too stiff. I figured my Bosch was equal to the task of softening it out so I let it go to work, figuring I’d take a quick shower and be back to check on it’s progress. Just before bounding up the stairs, I turned it up to high speed, assuming that would help with the dough stretching. 30 minutes later (I, of all people, should know that I am simply not capable of taking a 10 minute shower) I found my dough at approximately 150 degrees and thicker than the proverbial molasses in January. Undeterred, I dumped it into my greased bowl, covered it and set the timer for rising time. Since I needed to make a trip to the store, I decided to “hurry” and dry my hair, return my library book, and go to Walmart, all in 90 minutes. (Note: drive time alone to the library and Walmart is approximately 45 minutes). While I was out I decided to make our truck payment which further delayed my return. When I arrived home 2.5 hours later, the dough had risen but not doubled. My faith that it would eventually turned out had waned but I punched it down to see if it would rise again. After another 30 minutes it became apparent that I’d killed any yeast this dough had working for it. Ever-resourceful, I decided that bagels might be in order instead. Mind you I’ve never made bagels but I figure they need a “stiff” dough and upon consulting my cookbook my assumptions were confirmed. Never mind that the other recipe is completely different from the bread recipe I just botched. I’m pretty sure Einstein’s will be calling me any day now…I did learn a few valuable tips for bagel making…
1. Just like most things made from dough, bagels increase in size as they boil AND bake so you should not start them at full size unless you want mammoth bagels (see above).
2. It is important to completely seal the two ends that you attach to make the circle-otherwise you have half a bagel (see above).
3. There must be some secret to the fancy cornmeal that professionals use…it just made the bottoms of my bagels stay firmly adhered to the pan (see above mangled center bagel).
4. Even if your bagels look horrible they can still be edible with some butter and jam.
And since I didn’t buy any bread while I was at Walmart, it was back to square one with the dough. Hopefully we’ll get bread this time.