While we were on our trip to Montreal, we tried the bagels. Montreal Bagels as sweeter and, in my opinion, lighter and less chewy than their New York cousins. I found that I prefer them, though I don’t know of anyplace in Cincinnati that sells them.
Fortunately, I can bake.
All the recipes call for malt powder or malt extract. This is not the same thing as malted milk–a stop by UDF won’t help me. It turns out, this was harder to come by than I thought. Most of the grocery stores I went to didn’t have it–even Whole Foods.
There were a few times I came across whole grain barley flour–malt is germinated barley, and what I wanted is sometimes listed as “malted barley flour.” I thought about trying the whole grain barley flour, but decided to hold out for the right stuff. Bagels of any style are a lot of work. Beyond the basic kneading, rising, and baking of any other bread, each bagel has to be shaped. Prior to baking, bagels are boiled. I didn’t want to waste the effort on an uncertain substitution. Also, if the bagels didn’t taste right, I didn’t want to have to wonder if it was the recipe, the process, or the ingredients. I felt I had to continue my search.
(I know some folks think simply baking bread is a lot of effort. Like most things in life, it comes down to practice. Once you make bread regularly (I do it about once a week), you develop a routine, and it starts to become “easy,” if if only to yourself. Plus, home made bread is so good.)
I was about to give up and order it through Amazon, but it was $12 for a pound and a half, and I would have to pay shipping on top of that. My wife said to hold off until we made a run to Jungle Jim’s, to see if they would have any. We made it there after a stop at Hueston Woods. They did have it–a pound and a half like Amazon, but not as much, I didn’t have to pay shipping, and it provided an excuse to go to Jungle Jim’s.
I figured I might have to try a variety of recipes to find just the right one. I started by going to the Red Star Yeast Pinterest board, and found a recipe to start with. As with most baking, it starts with blooming the yeast in water with sugar, then adding the rest of the ingredients. This included the malt powder. How much did I need?
Yep–one tablespoon. I suppose I’ll have enough for a while unless I industrialize my bagel-making. I kneaded the dough, let it go through the first rise, and shaped them into bagels. Most bagel recipes suggest rolling the dough into a snake, then forming an “O.” My process previously had been to simply form a ball of dough and punch a hole–the times I tried that, the connection was lost, and I would up with a “u.” However, my skills at shaping dough are much better. I did it the way the recipe called for, and like the results better.
This recipe is definitely a keeper, though I may try others to see if improvements can be made.