Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bagels again, but with a twist (plus graham crackers)

Weeks ago (which shows again how behind I am), one of my friends came over for what turned into a 2 day cooking marathon.  Why we chose the weekend it was over 100 degrees, I really don't know.  My kitchen was like a sauna.  On the second day of cooking, I had to take 3 showers to cool myself off.  But we did have some really delicious results!  The main point of this cooking adventure was to show Sarah how to make homemade bagels.   We made a lot - one dozen for each of us.  Most were the typical bagels I've made before - plain with some toppings.  And then we decided to experiment a little.  We made some with fresh blueberries pushed into the middle, and some with cinnamon sugar and raisins.  The blueberries exploded in those!  But they still tasted really good.  I wish I had taken pictures.  Next time I'll have to try with dried blueberries.
I really don't remember if I mentioned this any of the other times I posted about bagels, but I kept on noticing these shiny, hard brown pebbles forming while kneading the dough.  It almost looked like the color of yeast, and since I didn't have it happen the first time I made it, without yeast, I figured it probably was that.  This time when I made the bagels, Sarah and I were making our own batches side by side.  And I did an experiment - with mine, I added the yeast in the order it said on the recipe, which was somewhere in the middle.  And in hers, I had her add it at the very end.  I had the pebbles - she didn't.  So I'm thinking that when the yeast is added before you mix everything up, it won't distribute itself in the dough.  It's a good thing I was using a sourdough starter, since I picked out all of the pebbles, essentially all of my yeast.
I decided randomly that I wanted to make homemade graham crackers.  Well it wasn't a random decision, I'd been thinking about making it for a while, it was just a random addition to everything else we were making.  It turned out pretty well, and I would definitely make them again - but not when it's 100 degrees in my kitchen!  The dough was really sticky, and I wasn't able to roll them as thin as I was supposed to, so they were a little too thick = chewy.  The flavor was amazing though.  I stuck half of the dough in the freezer, and I have to admit that I ate ALL of it.  Raw.  I will be retrying this once the weather is cooler.  That way my kitchen won't be a sauna, plus I can make some homemade marshmallows and get some s'more action happening.
I only made one change in the recipe - I didn't have dark brown sugar so I used light brown, and replaced some of the honey with molasses to give it a richer flavor.

Recipe: Homemade Graham Crackers (from Smitten Kitchen)
2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, diced and frozen
1/3 cup honey
5 tbsp milk
2 tbsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon sugar

Mix the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a stand-up mixer with the paddle on low speed.  Add the butter and mix on low, until the mixture is like coarse meal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla.  Add to the flour mixture and mix on low until everything barely comes together (and is VERY sticky).  Pour onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap up and freeze for at least 2 hours.  (More if it's a hot day.)
Divide the dough in half and put one half back in the freezer.  Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into strips or shapes (see Smitten Kitchen for better instructions), and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.  Chill in the fridge or freezer until firm, and repeat with the second half of the dough.
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake cookies for 15-25 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
They all smooshed together!

1 comment:

j. said...

Geez - is there anything you can't make?