About bagels -- tools of the trade

Yield: 1 servings

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For BREAD MACHINE bagel making, you will need measuring cups, measuring spoons, a rolling pin, plastic wrap, nonstick vegetable spray, a bread board, a 4 to 6 quart soup pot for boiling the bagels, a tea towel for draining them, a slotted spatula, a couple of baking sheets (preferably double aluminum or Teflon-coated) and a pastry brush. A bagel cutter is optional, depending on how you shape the bagels.

To make bagels by hand, with a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook, or with a food processor, you'll need the equipment required for the bread machine preparation, plus bowls, rubber spatulas and mixing spoons. Bagel dough needs to be relatively stiff, and mechanical tools make quick work of an otherwise tedious process.

OTHER USEFUL EQUIPMENT:

An instant reading oven or baker's thermometer for checking water temperature is handy, but optional. A food scale is useful for weighing dough if you're trying to maintain a consistent size and weight for the bagels. A ruler for marking off lengths of dough or circle sizes on your keneading board wil also help achieve consistent sizes.

Get a good serrated knife for cutting bagles easily. (Remember always to cut with the blade away from your fingers!) There are many special bagel holders. There are lucite and wooden holders with slits on both sides that allegedly wedge the bagel in so you don't have to hold it.

The slits guide the knife blade through the middle. For example, the "Bagel Biter" is a plastic holder with a blade mounted within. Place the bagel in the holder, pull the handle over the base and push down so the blade cuts the bagel. The "Bagel Trap" holds the bagel tight with a spring arm so you can slice it into 2, 3 or 4 slices. There are also special bagle toasters with wider slots than a conventional toaster.

The easiest baking pan available to most home cooks is an aluminum cookie sheet or flat nonstick Teflon-coated sheet pan. A baking stone made of unglazed tile and sold in housewares shops as a pizza stone provides dry, intense direct heat that helps give bagels a crisp crust. Ordiinary unglazed quarry tiles sold in tile shops are an inexpensive alternative. Tiles should be slightly less than ½" thick; if they are too thick, they will take too long to heat up, and if they're too thin, they'll break from the heat.

Some commercial bakeries bake their bagels on wooden boards for the first 2 or 3 minutes, which gives them an overall even baking and nice crisp crust. These are lengths of 2x4's, available at any lumber yard, long enough to fit in your oven and hold 4 to 6 bagels. They may be covered on top eith a length of burlap, stapled on, but that's not essential.

The Best Bagels Are Made At Home by Dona Z. Meilach

ISBN 1-55867-131-5

From: Carolyn Shaw Date: 12 May 96

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