I’ve written before how much I love making bread, so I was excited to see that the Bread Ahead Bakery in London is doing daily tutorials on Instagram on different baked goods. I was intrigued to see bagels popped up on the schedule – my husband loves them, I am indifferent, but they require a few techniques I’ve never tried before. I gathered my ingredients together, ready to join in.
It was great fun to join in with 1000+ other people, and really interesting to follow the baker’s instructions. At some points, he was rushing through the techniques, but the camerawoman would ask him simple questions to clarify, so it was never too out of reach and was great for bagel beginners like myself.
One of the hardest bits I found was that you had to poach the bagels in order for them to get their texture and their shine on top. I didn’t have a pan big enough so I had to do it in batches, meaning not all of the bagels were in for the same amount of time. I realised before they went in the oven that my bagels were incredibly firm and heavy: I’ve never made them before, but I was fairly certain this wasn’t a good sign.
I’m currently without kitchen scales, so I guessed a lot of the weights for the flour and water, but also couldn’t get all the bagels the same weight either. I also had wholemeal bread flour, instead of the white bread flour required – you can see where this is going can’t you? It’s fair to say my bagels did not turn out how they were meant to.
Although they looked ok, the bagels were heavy, close-textured, and firm – nothing like the soft, delicious looking bagels in the tutorial! So I ended up with paperweights instead of breakfast bagels, but never mind, it was fun to be making them along with other people. The Bread Ahead schedule for the next week is online, so I might join in with another one, and hope for more success.