When I was overseas, I would have given anything to eat a bagel with cream cheese. But it never crossed my mind that I might actually be able to make my own from scratch. Besides the ominous bagel stores in the US that made me feel like I’d have to have an industrial sized oven to even try to come close, I had also read somewhere that it required a step of boiling them. Between those factors and a yeast-based dough, it was enough to scare me off and wait until I came back to the US every two years to get one.
But now I’ve slowly discovered that making things from scratch, even yeast breads, isn’t as hard as it sounds. I’ve attempted pizza dough, and with practice it has become so simple that I don’t even consult the recipe anymore. But still, the idea of bagels seemed a bit overwhelming. That is, until I looked at this recipe from Tammysrecipes.com. It had pretty good reviews and a simple-enough process to encourage me to at least write it down on a “maybe we’ll try this soon” list.
The result? Well, they look like real bagels. They actually have a crunchy exterior like bagels, and the inside is soft . . . maybe a bit too tender, so I think I’ll try another batch soon and boil them for a longer period of time to make them chewier. I also think that the next time I make these, I’ll make a double batch to make it more worth my time and freeze the extras.
Making things from scratch isn’t always easy, and sometimes I know that my “hourly rate” is pretty low for some of the things I make. But for me the payback is the excitement on Eli’s face when he awakes from his nap to see that I’ve baked something, the fun of having him help me knead the dough, or the anticipation of Michael walking in on a tray of fresh-baked bagels after a long day at work.
Note: the only changes I made to the recipe were to 1) add baking soda to the water I boiled bagels in (1 TBSP) and 2) bake them at 450 for 20 minutes. I think the next time I make these I will probably just go for 15 minutes since they got a little to close to burning.