Today I was ready to blog about three different recipes that I wish I had tried to make this week. As a baby blogger, I’ve been spending an incredible amount of time lately on the mechanics of blogging, being inspired by the beautiful blogs of others, and trying to figure out silly things like widgets. This is all very anti-Heather, because, as some of you know, I don’t sit well. But this new little hobby of mine is forcing me to be still. And for extremely long periods of time. It’s also requiring me to learn something that is not just outside my comfort zone but outside of the orbit of my comfort zone. The Husband and I have a running joke that all I have to do is walk past a computer and it will go to blue screen. It’s a gift.
If I were to write my original post, it would have sounded something like this.
I love to dream, I love to imagine, so let’s make-believe that I tried to bake this week. We’re making believe for three reasons:
Reason #1: It’s been quite toasty in Nashville this summer. You know it’s been hot when the weatherman declares an 85-degree day to be a break in the heat, and we yell a collective “Woo Hoo!” and venture out of our air-conditioned homes. This is no weather for cooking. We’ve been enjoying cold salads, smoothies, and an occasional grilled meal, but the oven has been off.
Reason #2: I love to bake, but I need to keep things simple. I’m usually pretty good at following a recipe, but as soon as I start venturing off on my own things get a little scary around here. (Remember my Zucchini Bread, the Gooey Version?) I’m learning, I’m improving, and I’m so thankful for the tutorials that my fellow bloggers have posted to guide me through the intimidating process of gluten-free baking. This week, I’ve stumbled upon three fantastic recipes that I’m dying to try, but I’m just not sure that I have the courage yet. I’ve only recently started to bake by mixing flours instead of using my standard gluten-free mixes such as Pamela’s or Bob’s Red Mill. So reading through gluten-free baking recipes that involve multiple steps, and especially steps that include letting dough rise, I’m very hesitant to even give it a shot. So we are pretending that I made Gluten-Free Girl’s Hamburger Rolls. They were divine. Let’s also pretend that I made Jenn’s NY Style Sun-Dried Tomato Bagels. The crunchy crust and soft insides instantly transported me to the Big Apple. And finally, we enjoyed Tara’s Honey-Apricot Galette drizzled with Honeyed Mascarpone. There will be golden tastes of pure joy like this in Heaven.
Reason #3: Triathlon training has been quite intense, and baked goods and peak athletic performance just don’t seem to mix well.
But we can pretend.
Well, I stopped pretending because:
1. We do have air-conditioning, and since I have almost become a southerner after living in Nashville for 12 years, 85 degrees out actually feels pretty nice.
2. My plans for the day changed, and suddenly I had a little extra time on my hands. That time gave me some courage and a craving for something adventurous.
3. We have an early training run tomorrow, and HEY, don’t gluteny people eat bagels before running?
I had three great options. Which one should I chose?
Sadly, all of the apricots at the grocery store were bruised and dancing with fruitflies today, so the galette was out. We’ve eaten an incredible number of burgers lately, both beef and veggie, so the burger buns will have wait ’til another time. And since we’re leaving for New York City in a few days, bagels quickly rose to the top of the list.
I am stunned. I am truly amazed. Scoop my jaw up off the floor, because I actually made my own bagels today! The house smells like a New York deli, and that Husband better hurry up and get home soon, because I’ve already eaten half of my first bagel. We’re having bagels for dinner tonight!
I’m not even going to try to tell you how to make these bagels. You’ll need to go to Jenn Cusine – a gluten free cooking blog for the exact recipe and such detailed directions that even I can look like an expert baker. But I will tell you a little about my process and the modifications I made as I went through my roller coaster of ups and downs.
I mixed flours, but I couldn’t find amaranth or corn flour anywhere, so I used quinoa flour instead. Surely that would kill the whole thing, right? But I continued on, kneading and hoping, adding an extra egg, more olive oil, and water when the dough was so crumbly that I thought it was all going in the trashcan.
Then there was the turning point of maybe this will actually work as my crumbly mess started to form a manageable ball of dough. I proudly placed my beautiful ball of dough on the hot porch to rise and covered it with a warm, damp towel.
After an hour, the dough had definitely not risen to “twice the size”. I’m not even sure that it rose at all. So I tried placing it in the hot garage for another 20 minutes. Still no rising. So down the roller coaster tracks I flew assuming that I’d just made dough for pretty hockey pucks, the gf baker’s nightmare. And then there was the fear of poaching.
I’ve never ever in my life put bread dough in boiling water, but as they boiled they started to release the aroma of my pre-gluten-free days.
I brushed them with Coconut Milk and placed them on a tray covered with parchment paper. They already looked delicious.
But the best moment was pulling them out of the oven to flip them.
They looked and smelled absolutely beautiful, and a smell like that had to be followed by incredible taste. I wasn’t worried about that. But I had no idea if they were done inside. (Again, I reference the Zucchini Bread.) So I baked them a little longer and let them cool on the rack just long enough for the final test. Slicing. Would they fall apart? Would they be gooey in the middle?
Take a look. Absolute bagel perfection.
Hurry home, Husband!
Bagel sandwiches await!