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Monday, December 5, 2011

too loud too loud

I'm making a half white/half wheat batch of the sourdough today. I'm interested to see how the wheat flour affects the texture.

On Friday my sister Aleece came over and we made the bagels from the "Breads and Spreads" chapter in Tipsy's book. Would you like to see?
We are not professionals.

I'm not sure how to explain these bagels, but I will attempt. When I first cut one open, I saw that the crumb is looser than the bagels I'm used to. It looked more dinner-rollish than bagelish. We tasted them, trying to compare them to the bagels in our memories, and they tasted different. It's hard to be objective about something like taste, but here's what I thought, and Aleece agrees.

They do not taste like the bagels I know. They're chewy like bagels, but the taste is not the same. I chewed and thought, "What is different about these? What does a normal bagel taste like?"

Let's see if you guys agree with me in my description of a typical bagel.
Dense
Dry
Bland
Requires toasting to be halfway enjoyable
Feels like lead in the stomach once eaten

Do I have that about right? An acquaintance used to bring Einstein bagels over to the apartment of a thing I was dating in college, and they were, to a one, awful. They were all the stuff I said above. I've had many, many grocery store bagels (fresh and frozen) and bakery bagels over the years (to be fair, none from a respectable bagel purveyor), and I do not like the bagel.

Tipsy's bagels were different from ordinary bagels in that they were soft and moist and flavorful and could be eaten straight and not suffer. Add some butter and you've got a delightful snack. They are also lighter than bagels. So they were delicious, and vastly preferable to every bagel I've eaten before, because the ways in which they are different are ways that make me hate other bagels, and the way in which they are the same (chewiness) is the only characteristic worth retaining. But the question is: are dryness and density required attributes of an authentic bagel? Because if they are, these are not bagels. If they are not, these are the only bagels worth eating.

So I'm torn. I liked these bagels a lot, but I am ignorant of proper bagel composition, and maybe I don't appreciate real bagels. Are they real or not? Is a bagel by definition a gross thing? If not; if this recipe in Tipsy's book is what bagels are really supposed to taste like, then it's just one more reason to be irked at the food industry for selling us mediocre garbage, and one more reason to be irked at ourselves for paying for the privilege of eating the mediocre garbage.

4 comments:

Amy said...

I think bagels are only good fresh and warm - that is why they always taste bad (if they are a day old or more) and yours taste good. So get mad girl. Get really mad! Food industry. Pshhh. What is your schedule like? I would love for you to come over!

Eric said...

I don't know what is wrong with the bagels you have bought in the past. The ones in MN and the bagels I buy here in Japan are always dense, yes, but moist, and very enjoyable, even un-toasted.

Maybe I just got lucky every time...

tipsybaker said...

My mom used to take me to the House of Bagels on Geary in San Francisco when I was a kid and we would always try to time it for when the bagels were hot. They were great and chewy and substantial -- a bread that could almost substitute for a meal. A lot of bagels out there are really bad and dense and bland -- I can't BELIEVE how bad supermarket bagels are. But a good bagel is a wonderful thing.

Layne said...

Will you bagel eaters please make a list for me of good bagel places? I am beginning to think I was born unlucky, bagel-wise.