I did not have much time to complete this month’s Daring Bakers challenge having just come back from a grueling week of (cooking) boot camp. Flight cancellations also made matters worse by wasting an entire Saturday, a day I would have used to recover.
I have never made bread before except no-knead bread which happens to be a very wet dough and not, I suspect, your typical bread dough. I made half of the bagel recipe, the flour that was required was anywhere between 3-4 cups, which should potentially yield 7 bagels. The dough looked fine up to this point although I did not know how to tell when enough flour was added. The mixture ended up quite sticky and poofy. After the first rise, I had 6 oddly-shaped disks. No problem, I thought, just let them rise a second time and stick them in the simmering water. Well, when I picked them up, they uh… stuck to the parchment paper. I had to yank them out and reshape them; this action kind of deflated the dough. The first three turned out fine – flat, but quite together. The second batch of three morphed into a dough monster. They became gooey and expanded into each other… they almost had a mind of their own like The Blob. I had difficulty getting them out of the water, and as I laid them on the towel I knew I had casualties.
I ended up with three very flat bagels. I doubt if they even qualify as bagels. I did not have corn meal so I used flax seed meal. Despite their non-bagel-ness, they had very good flavor. They did end up very chewy the next day, so I guess they would qualify as teething bread for babies ;).
So what went wrong? Not enough flour, not enough rise and maybe not enough heat from my simmering water (especially for my second batch, I think the temperature dropped a lot after I put in the first batch). All of my bagels were floaters so that should say something about their constitution.
That said I wouldn’t mind trying this recipe again once I figure out what went wrong. I would really like to see what the other Daring Bakers ended up with and so should you (links are at the sidebar).