Tag Archives: life

It really should be said that bagels are not the most photogenic of baked goods – at any stage. They go from looking like pancake batter to a bowl of psoriasis, from dry looking monster slugs to shiny boiled bread. It is only in their last moments that they lay in beautiful full baked and browned glory, transforming from yeasty pimpled teenager to sleek bronzed beach babe.

Hence, there is a distinct lack of bagel photos here. But fear not what is lacking in pictures is made up for in the extensive directions below! I would seriously recommend trying your hand at these – they were simple, easy, and though a little bit of a time suck they really are worth it. I would couch my encouragement in one simple suggestion: pace thyself.

I made the mistake of starting these late on Monday night, my baking day, and what I was thinking I will never know. Jared came home to me meticulously weighing dough on the only scale I could find (a vintage postage scale) and attempting to look up “the windowpane test” (bah humbug – never found it in time, and mine worked fine) on a flour covered Mac. I was up this morning at 5:30am trying to finish 1/2 a batch to photograph and have ready for Wednesday’s post. That smile you see in the following photos? Pure, caffeine induced delirium.

These bagels however were well worth it – crisp, delicious crusts, just enough of the homemade yeasty scent, crisp sesame seeds and a whole lot of delirious love. I’m going to freeze 1/2 and watch J, (who begrudgingly got out of bed as I leapt up and down on it this morning yelling “Look at my bagels, bitch!”) eat the rest.

{This Recipe is adapted from the Peter Reinhart Bagel Recipe.  Any changes are noted.}

Sponge
1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups unbleached  bread flour (or high gluten flour)
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

Dough
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 1/4 cups bread flour* (or high gluten flour)(originally called for 3 3/4, but I bailed after the first 1/4, my dough was perfect)
2 3/4 teaspoons salt

(This recipe also calls for 1 tbsp of malt syrup or 2 tbsp of malt powder. Given that I already have an allergy to wheat, adding any further guarantee of watching the Bachelor from the comfort of our washroom seemed unnecessary. From what I can tell, there isn’t much missing here as the bagels tasted phenomenal. Phenomenally dangerous.)

To Be Fancy: Sesame Seeds, Poppy seeds

To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour into a large mixing bowl.  Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop. (Mine never collapsed, and I put it near a warm oven and it took about an hour and a half to reach the desired consistency.)

Once the sponge is ready, add the additional yeast and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt (and malt if you choose to use it). I sifted the flour and salt together because I’m a bit retentive about distribution. Thanks Mom!

At this point the recipe instructs you to stir with a dough hook, however being too poor for a Kitchen Aid and unaware of any pirates for hire, I used my hands. Stir with hands until the ingredients for a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough. (As mentioned, I only used 1/4 cup of that.)

Knead the dough until firm, approximately 10 minutes. The recipe says that it “should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough” however, I have no idea what that means, so I went with the other directions, that it should be “pliable and smooth” and “satiny but not tacky”. I tested this by running it across my face and thinking about sleeping on a slip. Science!

There should be no dry flour – all ingredients should be mixed in and nothing should be flaky or chunky. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 71 degrees F. (See the link. I had no idea what this meant at the time, I just kept kneading the dough until it felt like a nice pillow…) If the dough seems to0 dry and rippy, add a few drops of water and continue kneading, add flour if it’s too tacky.

Divide the dough into balls – I weighed mine to 65 grams each, and they were the perfect size later. Put these on a cookie sheet and cover them with a warm damp tea towel and let them rest for about 20 minutes. When this is done, take each ball and roll it into a sluggy worm shape, about the 2/3 the thickness of (shocking) a bagel. Put one end of the slug in your palm, stretch it around the back of your hand and place it on top of the other end piece. Roll your hand back and forth on the counter to seal the bagel together. Put these on a pan lined with parchment paper and lightly oiled, cover with plastic wrap, let sit for 20 minutes.

Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

In order to see if the bagels are ready to be “retarded” (I know, awesome.) do the “float test”. In a bowl of room temp water, drop one of the bagels and wait for it to float. If it floats within 10 seconds, you’re good to put them in the fridge (just pat off the wet bagel and put it in too), and if it doesn’t wait another 10 minutes, and try again. Once they float – put the trays in the fridge immediately.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop your bagels gently one by one into the boiling water, and boil for one minute on each side. (I boiled my bagels in batches of five in a really large pot, and this was a really manageable batch to deal with). The longer you boil your bagels, the chewier they are going to be. I got mesmerized by an A-Team trailer, so one batch boiled for at least three minutes. Whoops! Still delicious.

When the bagels are boiled, put them back on the parchment on the baking pan. Put the bagels in the oven for five minutes, then rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for another five minutes. (I took them out at five minutes, lightly brushed the tops with an egg wash and sprinkled sesame seeds on top before replacing for the remaining time.) I didn’t actually bake these for five minutes – more like 13-15 minutes total, and judged entirely by the color of the bagels.

Take them out.. let them cool.. enjoy!

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There are so many puns with Maine in them.

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{life}

Hella yes, we are in Maine. I just spent 5.12$ on a six pack of miller high life and 9.25$ on a pint of fried clams. Things are so good, that I kind of feel like that fine lady up there in her strapless, backless, wireless bra adhered with glue – free, slightly delirious and not at all worried about the camel-toe possibilities of high waisted shorts. Life is good ladies, life is good. xo

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Tuesday Inspiration – Slimane

Hedi Slimane‘s photos of the polloi at Coachella do not make me want to work today. They make me want to get a tattoo and underexpose all my photos. Perhaps forgo aging, bras and clothing altogether as well.

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It Was A Bingo Card. Shame.

Seriously lovers and lovettes, if you took Elizabeth Taylor off her medication and gave her a lot of gin and some stilts… that would have been my day. Not all White Diamonds and violet eyes, but up and down and up and down until I was all Malice in Wonderland.

I’m still not over my cold, so I had the delightful task of removing my hair, piece by drool hardened piece, off of my pillow this morning. See, yesterday I didn’t get that quite in time and ripped a big howling chunk out after I’d been mouth breathing all night, which doesn’t exactly start my day out..well. So today, after successfully extricating myself from a 300 count trap of alopecia, you’d think things would be looking up. Instead, I step out into the -35 weather to attend my classes, which include, but aren’t limited to, a god-forsaken French 112 class held by a woman trying (I can only imagine) to give a lifelong artistic impression of a sausage. Or, alternately, really really likes super tight pale pink sweater dresses.

After said excersise in meat rendering, I went to buy my biology text book. For 130$. But joy of joys, there is a sign! A student, a poor student, is circumventing the entire biblio-mob, and selling their text book! For 50$! So I promptly call her, meet her, and buy it…only to discover after she had mysteriously dissapeared that she was only a capo of said mob, and had given me the wrong edition. To wit, I tracked her down and killed her. Just joking. I tracked her down and got my 50$ back. And bought a doughnut and a mechanical pen.

And realized I lost my beautiful brown leather gloves that I’d gotten for Christmas.

*sigh*

However, I did catch a bus without having to wait in the cold for long, which is always nice. I had a little bit of money left on my Starbucks gift card so I bought the incredible “Apple Chai”, which allowed me to use my very last ten dollars at the grocery store! Yay! Pot pies for everyone because they were only a DOLLAR. Which means that after I stocked up on dinner for the next week I had enough for a scratch ticket, because I am turning into a 65 year old woman.

A 65 year old woman that walks on stilts and drinks gin. Call me Liz.

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With the exception of my sanity?

via ffffound.com

via ffffound.com

Alright my lovelies, it’s time for bed. So sorry for the sporadic posting today, things are so insane here in our little world. I’m a little bit overwhelmed by school right now, I’ve got an autoethnography due on Thursday (don’t ask.. sociology is my accidental red-headed step child of a minor), a paper on Hume’s conception and skepticism of external objects on Tuesday and another on Balibar and Althusser the next Thursday. Though on the upside, on that paper that kept me up for days and actually sobbing on the phone to JL (Locke/Riley/voluntary consent) was returned today and I did far better than I thought I would, in fact I did really well. Oh, and I’m trying to successfully juggle work, friendships and this guy that lives in my house.. or.. whats his name.. *sigh*

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Fun-less.

I have to say, coming to work can just suck all the fun out of my day. It’s not that I have a bad job (I’ve been sitting here reading Althusser and surfing for 4 hours now) but I just think that sometimes I would rather be at home. I suppose there I wouldn’t get to hear Mr. L’s wonderful quips as he wheels by (recently : “Blondie, I remember when I used to think I was a hippie cowboy and smoked Marlboro’s. They were 23 cents a pack in the Bahamas back in the day.” and “I’m a little sponge! You can teach me anything.” – I will add I was neither smoking, nor learning anything more productive than yes, I can put two mini Wunderbars in my mouth at once) or answer the phone and tell somebody for the umpteenth time that no matter how much I wish for excitements sake it was, this is not that kind of Rehab hospital. None of those things would ever happen at home. BUT, I could be reading Althusser, wrapped in the quilt J’s mom made me, drinking Sweet Orange Tea and not eating Wunderbars. Which makes it sort of a toss up I suppose.

However, being forced to be productive is not a terrible thing. In the interest of at least looking smart if anyone should choose to peruse my internet history (and they were blind to my Walmart / theSuperficial surfing) I look smart today – I’ve been checking grad schools for application deadlines. I don’t really care (too much) where I go, I just want to keep learning, and apparently this is the best way to go about it. *laugh*  I have to say, it’s a little bit daunting. I was nervous when I started applying for my BA (granted, I applied for one school, got in, and called it a day) but this is worse. I’m not stupid by any stretch of the imagination, but I only really decided that I wanted to pursue an academic career.. well, halfway into this degree. Forget the fact I only declared my actual major a year ago. Where did the four years go? And why the hell didn’t I do better in my french class? Really, these are the questions I’m asking myself.

Sometimes I think I might be better off like Mr. L, pondering the price of Marlboros and pretending I drive a race car.

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The Last

 

I’ve been thinking a lot today about the temporary nature of.. well, everything. I suppose it started with the idea to buy a Polariod (and thereby committing to spending endless hours on eBay with relative futility attempting to purchase film) and the strange idea that when it is gone.. it is gone. There will be a point where somebody on this earth will take the very last Polaroid. Of course, yes, this is qualified by the assumption (and I’m pulling for Save Polariod as much as anyone else) that nobody will pick up patents and contracts and start making it again.  I’m thinking that this may be an interesting project, a good website to set up. I want to know, that when it comes down to the last photo in the last pack, what do you think is important to take a picture of? When the temporary, easy, fast and accessible has given way to lasting, precious and protected, is it still easy and fast?

This has been extending to me (not the fast and easy, I assure you) and my body. I love my body, with all of its combinations of dissecting scars and anomolies and missing parts and working parts and failing parts – but it too is creeping inevitably to the end. The collagen in my cheeks, the muscles in my legs, my hearing, my sight; they too move towards a point where they will last see, kiss, walk, listen and lift me. But in a strange way, my camera and my body cross purposes and intents – it becomes not the last that is important, but the previous, the worth of my frame and memories every minute prior to the last that makes the last nothing but an end.

So a picture, a Polariod of my body, crosses axis. It is a moment in time where both decline, with inverse worth to everything prior. Here’s hoping that that is my one good photo.

xoxo.

(photos courtesy of the amazing Kotama Bouabane and their project, Melting Words.)

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