Today I will be babbling about bagels. Again.
For several months a new business was awaited which promised bagels but when they opened, in spite of a window full of bagels, they would not sell a plain bagel and they didn’t have any butter (even though this is in Brittany). It turns out they only have a limited number and prefer to sell them garnished (better profit). It was probably another case of “if looks could kill” on my part. I need to get rid of any animosity I may still harbour.
I do know how to make bagels. It’s just nice sometimes to instantly satisfy a hankering with one single bagel. Now I will have to be disciplined and put some in the freezer.
Once again, the proof is in the chew and these come out way ahead. However their belly buttons seem to have disappeared.
I don’t know why but I have had croissant on the brain for a couple of weeks now.
The best pastry shop near our yoga class is closed for vacation.
A bakery in a nearby town that makes excellent croissants was sold out.
The ones we bought at a bakery in a shopping center were not good (my opinion and personal taste).
So the only thing left to do was make some myself.
I used the recipe from “Le Larousse du Pain” by Eric Kayser.
We think they turned out good albeit rather small. But one can eat two, two can eat five,…
I was trying out the recipe from Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery but did not follow it exactly.
It called for a white starter but I used my regular whole wheat one. Then I apparently got flustered and reconstituted it with white flour. This left me with not enough white to complete the bagels so I used some whole wheat to finish them. The recipe called for powdered milk which I don’t have, so I put some milk in place of part of the starter. I used our small handheld mixer with dough hooks but that is not the same as a professional one like they probably used at the bakery so I could not do the flour precisely as they said. I added some to the work surface and for forming the breads in spite of them saying not to do that. I added an egg glaze to hold the seeds.
In the book, the bagel connoisseur says “it’s in the chew” and I agree. These bagels definitely win for the chew. They may be the best I have ever made in spite of somewhat losing their holes.
I saw a fast food place that wasn’t open but had their menu posted outside. It consisted mainly of bagel sandwiches, about 6 different ones. All had cream cheese except one which had double cream cheese. Bagels and cream cheese, yes, but cream cheese and pastrami? That doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe it isn’t kosher?
Bagels in France are not very easy to come by. The ones I have had (other than my own) have been industrial facsimiles.
Le besoin de bagels is building.
J’ai le béguin pour les bagels.
I guess I will start baking soon. I have a two day recipe to try out.
Tomorrow will be the last day of fasting for this year’s Ramadan so I wanted to make some pastries for Sunday which will be the celebration after the effort, although I must say, there has been an aspect of that each evening this month even when eating fairly plain salads. I decided to bake today since I will be out painting tomorrow and Sunday. I got right to it after breakfast so as not to be too hungry while doing it. It’s hard to bake while fasting as I automatically tend to lick my fingers, bowls and any other tidbits prone to escape. I set the trays aside and saved the crumbs until this evening. I mixed odds and ends together instead of eating them and made some kind of cookie.
Meanwhile my husband has been gently breaking in our new bread oven, building small fires over several days’ time. Today he brought it up to a temperature suitable for baking and I thought what a shame to waste that warmth. I had some left-over filling from this morning so I made half a recipe of pie crust and baked small pies, then of course, the “little something” with what was left. During the day I was asking myself, would it be good to eat a few pastries tonight even though they are meant for the eïd which is Sunday or not? I hadn’t really made up my mind but I had no compunction about enjoying these “extra” ones made out of leftovers.
There is a passage in The Revelation of Arès where our Creator uses an oven as an image.
“The Fire rises inside the (red-hot) iron, pierces the sole; (it) lifts (from) the Core (all the way) to the head of the brother. The Marrow runs along (the) iron (to) the brother’s cool head. The cool head speaks (clearly), (but) the hot head is (like) nine heads.”
Perhaps with the physical example of this oven, I will incorporate these Words better into my life. I see there is heat in the center, at the heart, a force linked to our Creator, but it is not something that makes one run off hot-headed, just as the heat of the oven is barely perceptible outside of it, yet the food is gently metamorphosed. So I work towards transforming myself, building a soul.
I have been seeing recipes for a pastry called chebbakia. The form intrigues me but I’m not in the mood for something so sweet, fried, since I am mentally preparing to fast. I wonder if they come out like a kind of doughnut. But like I said, nothing that rich for me right now, still that form…. So I tried it out with my regular bread dough.
I should have put an egg glaze or something to give them a bit of colour. The hardest part was taking a photo with my left hand—the button is on the wrong side of the camera.
Soon the fasting for Ramadan will begin. As I watch what goes in my mouth, may I also watch what comes out of it.
If you want to see how chebbakia are made:
Pursuing my interest in learning Arabic, I have been watching lessons on Youtube, posted by a very nice couple named Maha and Luca. Maha is the teacher who speaks Arabic and Hebrew as her maternal languages and has learned several others. Luca is her husband and has been playing the role of student. Recently they did two videos on making Arabic bread which inspired me to imitate it with my own dough. It turned out good!
I don’t have the nifty oven they show so I had to improvise and my first idea didn’t get off the ground so I further improvised, but the proof is that they were all eaten in short time. I wanted to use the bottom heat (that worked) and then the top heat with the grill function of the oven, but it wouldn’t light, so I just finished them in the regular oven. This called “mannaquiche”; that is my own phonetic spelling.
Here are links to the videos which inspired this experiment: