Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stalker Series Part VI - Creepy Stalking...BAGELS!

I need you to know that I really debated on stalking this kid versus just making the darn oatmeal cookies that just looked so freaking delicious that I almost started it at midnight.  I mean, creepy is it to stalk a kid who is almost young enough to be your son...assuming you had a baby when you were a [very, VERY young] teenager. 

Probably no more creepy than me leaving a comment on his blog that said, "If I were still in High School, I'd follow you all around campus in hopes of getting some cookies." Not that I would do that [at least not that I admit]. That would be crazy.

So, here was my dilemma.  I really want to stalk the kid but my better sense and judgment said, "Don't do it, Jen.  They may throw your @$$ in the can and how awkward would that be to explain to your family, friends, boss, and pastor why you were in jail??"  But then I thought, what if he didn't KNOW i was stalking him and just made up MENTAL conversations with him? That wouldn't really cross any boundaries, right??  I battled the crazies in my head and realized that it was even creepier that way.

So screw it.  I'm just going to stalk him the old fashioned way.  [I can hear the conversations now..."folks, I thought you should know that there's this old bag who's old enough to be my mom...well, she's stalking me right now..."] Only, no thanks to a post, I saw on his blog, I'm now stalking him for his bagels.

I love me the bagel.  [Not the bagelheads in Japan because that's even creepier than  stalking a teenager].  I mean the good old fashioned New York Style Bagel.  I saw Kamran's bagel photos and nearly took a bite out of my monitor.  Join me in my adventures in trying to interpret this recipe since I only understood half of it.

Step 1: Pouring in the sugar and yeast in ½ cup of the warm water.  Warm water? Ummm...i can stick my finger in the that warm?? Is it too warm if I can only do it for 5 seconds? I let it sit for five minutes...ok, 7 minutes because I forgot about it [as usual]. I stir the mixture until it dissolves.  Crap.  This is murky.  I can't see if it's all dissolved. screw it, what's the worst that can happen??

Step 2: Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture. I add the remaining water as another 1/2 cup as not instructed.  Oh man.  WHY didn't i do it a little at a time??  This is sticky, goopey mess.

Step 3: I'm supposed to flour the countertop.  At what point is it too much flour??  Oh probably doesn't matter since my dough is still a sticky mess.  I knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic - or rather until my arms are about to fall off.  I mean, HOW DO THESE PEOPLE KNEAD THE DOUGH FOR SO LONG??  "Try to work in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough" the instructions said. Secretly, I'm hoping for firm and stiff arms instead.

Step 4: I brush the bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat - did I just remove the lightly brushed oil on the bowl when i turned the dough to coat? Does it matter?  Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let rise. During that hour, I did nothing productive.  Kamran, I'm sure, made 4 types of cookies, 3 tarts, 2 cakes, and roasted a partridge in a pear tree during that time*. 

Step 5: I punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.  Geez.  I hope I punched it down enough.  I'm not one for oppression or keeping anything down.

Step 6: I eyeball and attempt to cut 8 equal pieces of my very fluffy, puffy dough.   Unfortunately, my depth perception hasn't been the same since my faulty lasik surgery so they come out in varying sizes. I saw the picture of Kamran's hand shaping the equal [precisely measured] ball.  Ummm...I had to use 2 hands to shape it.  I hope to God he just has inordinately large hands and it isn't because I really messed something up.  His photos on his blog show a perfect ball.  Mine looked like it was massacred by Edward Scissorhands. 

Step 7: I poke holes into the bagels.  Unevenly, of course. 

Step 8: I generously allow 15 minutes for my bagels to rest instead of the 10 minutes per the instructions...and not because I forgot about them [again]. Riiiight. 

Step 9: Time to boil the bagels. Hmmm...what exactly does he mean when he says that they'll float to the top after a few seconds? Mine never sank. Were they supposed to?? Crap. I've got a bad feeling about this.

Step 10: I'm still perplexed as to why my bagels are so freaking huge and puffy.  WTH?? I don't even bother with the sesame topping because my bagels look more like balloons than bagels.  It would roll right off.

Step 12: aaahhh...20 minutes to surf the net while the bagels bake.  AND I actually remembered to set my timer. [score 10 points!]

Step 13: Too bad it only needed 17 minutes to brown.  *SIGH* [minus 15 points.]

Step 14: I toast one and had it with the best elderberry jam EVER.

Ok, so it came out puffier than I would've liked.  It's my first try. I'm most definitely trying this again! Thanks for the encouragement, Kamran! [and for not calling the cops on me - special thanks for THAT!]

Please note: i've never baked with yeast before.  I was traumatized in high school chem by a disastrous lab assignment involving yeast and never really got over it.  Some people are afraid of public speaking - me, it's yeast.

* I'm still trying to get over the fact that this 17 year old has produced this amazing blog, does his homework, takes AP courses, and bakes like a maniac. When I was in high school, my favorite past times included trying to see how long I could go without opening a textbook, getting my homework done DURING class, and picking lint out of my belly button.  Those were good times.


  1. For the love of God, Jen. Please post some recipes that have less than 5 steps. Mmmmm. Your bagels look nummy. - tosh

  2. says the girl who whips up a batch of pate a choux when she's got a hankering for cream puffs. :)

  3. Wow! Thanks so much for the mention, stalker ;)

    I am just kidding! Please, you don't even cross a line... You are welcome to stalk me all you want. Just don't harass me, now... That's worse than stalking. LOL

    P.S. for step 6... I actually do have pretty big hands, so it wasn't you... Lucky that the bagels were medium sized and not large, they would have prob. been a softball in your hands, and a baseball in mine.... hehe

    Also, the reason why your dough may have been all puffy was because you didn't extend the hole for the bagel enough. My sister actually tried making a batch and that was her problem.. because the dough is elastic-y, it should be fine to stretch it out a lot, and it'll go straight to a bagel shape, when you place it on your cookie sheet...

    Also, I would never land you a place in prison or jail! You are too kind to be there... And I wouldn't want you to meet Bubba's sister!... hehe

    Great post! You did a great job! :)

  4. Phew! I've been waiting for the cops to come knocking on my door! :)
    Are you KIDDING ME?? My friendships are based on harassment! You can ask any of my friends, they'll tell you!
    Ok, i'm going to try it again this weekend with your suggestion. I really want this to look like a bagel...instead of a puffy dough ball with a hole in it! :)

  5. Ooo - These bagels look great! I really need to try making my own one day soon =D.


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