I'm in Knoxville this weekend visiting my family and whenever we get together, food is high on the list of things we do. Whether it's getting everyone together to eat at a restaurant or at home, we always find time to spend over a plate of food. This trip, instead of cooking a big meal together, we baked bread. Specifically bagels, kaiser rolls and salt sticks.
Having New York roots, bagels are one of those foods for which there is only one true 'bagel'...a good NY deli bagel. Crusty, chewy and dense. Not like the ones you find in the freezer case at the stores or in the bread aisle which are usually light and fluffy. Blech.....
Finding a true NY style bagel is pretty hard to do in Tennessee and for that matter, not much in where I live in Alexandria has met my standards yet. But after reading several other fellow bloggers rave about the bagel recipe in The Bread Baker's Apprentice, I was curious enough to check it out. I got a copy of the book from the library (not hard to do since I work in one) and looked over the book. The first part of it is filled with basics of bread baking and I learned quite a few things. I also liked the look of the bagel recipe and about a dozen others so I went out and bought the book. That was a year ago. The poor book has been sitting on my cluttered bookshelves until just recently when I thinned out the collection.
Intrigued by my semolina bread, my brother and sister were interested in baking some bread this weekend when I came down to visit and I knew immediately that bagels would be on the list of breads to make. I also scanned a Kaiser roll recipe in the book and threw that one in the mix as well. My dad's favorite breakfast is fried egg on a kaiser roll and I wanted to see if I could re-create an authentic roll for him.
My brother and sister came by our mom's house yesterday around noon and we baked until close to 7:00. We had baked 8 salt sticks (which we also call snake sticks) and 8 kaiser rolls. We put together a starter for the kaiser recipe but decided to try another recipe my sister found that was for the salt sticks and kaisers, a two-fer! While on the small side, the taste was there. Next time instead of the dough being divided into 16, we'll divide it in 8 and just make salt sticks.
And we had two dozen bagels were sitting in the fridge awaiting a nice hot water bath the next morning before being popped in the oven. A sample bite of a salt stick and a kaiser left us pleased with our handiwork. We couldn't wait until breakfast. This morning we finished making the bagels and could hardly wait for them to cool before we tore into one, slathered it with butter and grunted our approval. These were NY bagels and they were damn good!
But we still had the starter in the fridge from the first Kaiser recipe. I decided to go ahead and make the rolls so we could compare the two recipes. I made them bigger as well so a whole fried egg can easily sit on the roll. They came out really nice and smell wonderful but we will wait til tomorrow morning to try them If I can wait that long.
As soon as I get home, I'll try to get the recipes posted as well.
Here are some more pictures of the bounty we baked:
Salt Sticks (aka Snake sticks)
Labels: bagels, breads, Knoxville, recipes