All posts filed under: Baking

Peter Reinhart’s bagels

I’ve always loved bagels. Chewy, tasty, slightly crispy – they’re the whole package. But I’ve recently upped my bagel ante. Gone are the days when all I’d do is wax lyrical about the different ways to top a bagel – of which, incidentally, there are so very many more than the four I mentioned here back in the day. You see, I’ve now baked bagels. And I can’t go back. They’re too good, and they’re so easy to make. In fact, I think it’s safe to say I’m now forever ruined for supermarket simalcrums. I have baker extraordinaire Peter Reinhart to thank for this particularly wonderful new addition to my life. Not being a native New Yorker, or living near enough London’s Brick Lane, believe me when I say that I did not know bagels could taste like this. Baking these came about as part of the recent bread-baking kick I’ve been on. And, let me tell you, a little bit – and I do mean a “little” bit – of effort here goes a …

bread baking

More often than not nowadays, there is a smudge of flour somewhere on my person. Usually it’s on the cuffs on my favourite baggy blue cardigan. Sometimes it’s on my face. I’ve gone out with it splashed down my front, like a walking Rorschach test, and with handprints on my butt from where I’ve hastily brushed off the snowy white dust before dashing off a few lines on my laptop, or darting to the oven to check on whatever is currently making my kitchen smell like heaven. You see, I’ve been baking a lot of bread. I’ve made bagels and wheaten bread. Challah and cornbread. And one of my happiest achievements to date – sourdough. Sourdough is a tricksome beast. The first time I tried, it was completely off. More like a dense wholemeal loaf than the chewy, crispy, airated bread I was aiming for. All was not lost, however; the brown doorstop made a pretty decent bread salad (once liberally doused in olive oil and introduced to the grill). The problem – I surmised, …