Skip to main content

What you've made there is bread

The words of Mr Paul Hollywood ring in my ears as I write this post, as he said to a Great British Bake Off Contestant in 'Bagel Week' - 'what you've made there is bread'.

In the second edition of the Great Portuguese Bake Off, my friend and I decided to have a go at Bagels.   We took a recipe from Dan Lepard,  but I do have to say Mr Lepard is a little short on the descriptions of how and what your dough should look like to make it a good recipe.

So, half blind from the lack of descriptive text we started the test.  Old school vs New school.  I used traditional strong white flour, slow acting yeast and a lot of hand kneading and my friend used, ready to bake bread mix and a Kenwood and substituted the tablespoon of vinegar for bicarb of soda.

OLD SCHOOL

It started well, things often do.   Our dough looked similar.  Nice and firm although my friends was a bit sticky following the Kenwood.   We left them to rise.  Mine doubled in size in an hour or so, but my friends were a little sorry for themselves so they got put in the sun to help them along.

FEELING QUITE PROUD
ADDING HOLE NOT AS EASY AS IT SOUNDS
It came to the boiling of the bagel dough.  It turns out, this is quite important, as it stops your bagel becoming bread by stopping any rising in the oven,  Mr Lepard does not explain that, instead he says to boil your bagel for 30 to 60 seconds....which is quite a big difference in dough world. 
BOILING RAW DOUGH IS JUST ODD

AFTER BOIL AND READY FOR THE OVEN
I was thrilled, mine looked shiny, risen and started to fluff up in the oven as they went golden brown.


STILL PROUD

 My friend had a different experience, following the sunshine the dough had risen well, but as soon as you stick a finger in to make the bagel hole the dough seemed to shrink.  Boiling them gave them too much brown colour (from the sugar in the boiling water) and in the oven the outside cooked too quickly making them very brown and underdone inside.

Despite the lovely looking display, the bagels were not quite bagels.  Mine had not been boiled long or hard enough so rose in the oven making a bread like bagel, nice but without the chew needed for bagels.  My friend's bagels went brown on the inside (white flour was used), they had a stronger malty quality and had almost 'shrunk' in the oven.

The shrinking was the over proving in the sunshine, the brown insides is anyone's guess....we don't know what caused this at all - the bread mix/the bicarb or the second  hand boiling water boiling to hard to give too much colour throughout.....I have not been able to find a reason for this online.

I suppose it does not really matter, sitting outside in the afternoon sun with a bagel smothered in cream cheese and a chilled glass or two (or five) of white wine, it seemed less important to have a perfect bagel but more important to have a good friend and a fun day of bake off!

Next time - Eclairs!!

Watch the GBB bagel episode here.

Mr Lepard has updated his recipe from his book and a new version is online http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2007/sep/15/recipes.foodanddrink1

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Building our Barrel Vault Wood Fired Oven

This is a short description of my barrel vault build that I have done here in Central Portugal.
The final internal size is a 1m squared floor with a arch height of 50cm.
I hope you enjoy and get some ideas from it. I wish to thank ukwoodfiredovenforum for their advice and support.

• 1: First I dug out a hole in the flower bed, on top of the stone wall, where the oven was to be built


• 2: Set up a form to pour in the concrete base


• 3: Pour the concrete base, which was about 5-6 inches deep


• 4: On top of the base I cast 4-5 inches of LECA (light weight expanded clay balls) mixed with cement to hold it's form


• 5: Then I cast a 2-3 inch heat retaining base, to add to the thermal mass, using calcium aluminate cement with large grain sand, as a flat base for the hearth bricks to sit on


• 6-8: I then dry laid the hearth bricks on a dry bed of fine sand and clay mixture, with the surround/edge bricks cemented in place to give support to the coming vault




• 9-10: Here I cut the bricks for the bac…

Repeat until fade

When you write a blog about your life you soon realise that life is fairly repetitive! I mean, apart from those big moments that naturally happen throughout the course of 12 months (the fire in June last year for example) life pretty much just gets on with itself.
That makes for a boring blog....I mean you don't want to hear (again) that I miss central heating, that Christmas came and I made a wreath, that Spring is once again on its way.  But that got me thinking, life is pretty repetitive and during the winter, I think life here in the middle of the hills of Portugal can be very boring, especially during the winter.
- get up - walk the dog - eat breakfast - work - walk the dog - eat dinner - walk the dog - bed -  repeat until fade
It doesn't help that when the rain comes, it sticks around. In March it rained for three weeks non-stop. The dog was wet, the house was wet, clothes were wet....it just didn't stop.  Don't get me wrong, Portugal was in desperate need of the…

oh what a lovely bougainvillea

It was something I wanted to grow, a plant which would cover the wall, give shade, give colour and really stamp the fact we lived abroad.Bougainvillea.
We have the other Mediterranean type of plants growing; we have olives in abundance, we have the grapes thriving, we have the figs establishing, but alas no bougainvillea.I looked up how to grow it and it says:Bougainvillea thrives in full sun. “At least 5 hours a day of direct sunlight is the minimal light required for good bloom. More hours of direct sun are better. Less than 5 hours and the plant may not bloom very well.”
5 hours of sun ‘check’, good light ‘check’, south facing ‘check’….but alas the Med we are not!This little peak of Central Portugal has cold air in winter (snow even), a vigorous breeze at dusk and is prone to a late frost.Our courtyard is just too exposed to the elements, there is no little ‘nook’ for a bougainvillea, there is no wall for it to climb up.So, after a courageous start in the greenhouse, our little bouga…