doing things the victorian way

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bagels
 
Bagels
  • 240 ml water, room temperature
  • 3 g dry active yeast
  • .5 oz honey
  • .5 oz caster sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 17 oz bread flour, 1.5 oz reserved

1) In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add honey, sugar & salt, mixing briefly. Add bread flour, reserving 1.5 oz, until thoroughly combined. Add remaining flour only if sticky.

2) Knead dough briefly to insure ingredients are combined, 1 to 2 minutes. This particular dough needs little, if any, kneading. Dough will be firm to the point of slightly “tough,” non-sticky but not smooth as with doughs that are kneaded.

3) Place dough in bowl (do not grease), cover with cling film and set in refrigerator to rise for 7 to 12 hours (overnight). Allowing the dough to rise very slowly in a cold environment makes for a “chewy” dough, perfect for bagels.

4) Remove dough from fridge and let come to room temperature. Punch down and let rise in a warm spot, until dough doubles in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

5) Deflate dough and divide into six to eight pieces, depending on desired size. Between your palms, roll dough back and forth to form a rope. Length of rope is dependent on size of bagel you wish to achieve, though I usually roll mine out to five inches. If you have trouble rolling the dough out to achieve desired length, roll as much as possible and then let dough rest for ten minutes to let the gluten relax before trying again.

6) To form, overlap the ends of the ropes about 1/2 inch and rock the dough back and forth between your palms to seal. Try to achieve uniform thickness throughout your ring. The rings do not have to be perfect, just close to it, otherwise they won’t bake uniformly.

7) Set rings aside on floured surface to rise until slightly less than doubled in size.

Boiling Liquid
  • 1 to 1 1/2 gallon water
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into quarters

8) While dough rises for the last time, in a large pot on high heat, combine water and potato. Bring to a boil and allow to boil until potato becomes soft and water becomes slightly cloudy, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain, reserving water & discarding potato.

9) Preheat oven to 450°F.

9) When dough has sufficiently risen, bring potato water back to a boil. Once boiling, gently drop rings into water two to three at a time. Boiling is what creates the chewy, crisp crust on the bagel. The longer the dough is boiled, the chewier the crust. Boil one side of bagel for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes depending on desired crust. Carefully flip the bagel over in the water and boil other side.

10) With slotted spoon, carefully remove boiled dough and transfer to baking sheet (not greased). Dough will be puffed and slightly shiny.

11) Baked for 10 to 12 minutes, until dough begins to brown. Flip bagels over and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes, until bagels are a medium to dark brown and shiny. Carefully remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack.

12) Enjoy!


I call these the marriage proposal muffins because, the day after I made them for the first time (and Edgar had eaten half a dozen) he asked me again to be his wife. I should really take him up on that offer at some point, haha. Still, he says they’re the best muffins he’s ever had and they went directly on the weekly food-to-have-in-the-house “chore” list. Not only are they super tasty with or without butter but they’re also extremely healthy and versatile. Try them with nuts or wheat bran, any kind of dried fruit or even diced herbs.

My photography skills are, sadly, lacking.

My photography skills are, sadly, lacking.

 
Marriage Proposal Muffins
3/4 cup light brown sugar (1/2 for less sweetness)
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup carrots, grated
1/2 cup apples, grated
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup all-purpose or plain flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup milled flax
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Optional: nuts, chopped
 

1) Preheat oven to 375°F and grease muffin tin.

2) In a large bowl with a whisk or spoon, beat brown sugar, eggs, yogurt and vanilla extract until smooth. Fold in carrots, apples, golden raisins, dried cranberries, and oats.

3) In a large bowl, sift together white flour, wheat flour, milled flax, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

4) Gently fold dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly but carefully. I try to mix no more than 20 strokes as, otherwise, muffins will have trouble rising and will be chewy.

5) Spoon batter into greased muffin tins evenly and bake at 375°F for 12 to 15 minutes, until tops are darker brown. Carefully remove tin from oven and muffins from tin, letting rest on a wire rack until cool.


Bread is a staple in our home. Every culture on the planet has poverty food and said food usually includes a healthy filling of starch – be it rice, beans, potatoes, noodles or, in this case, bread. Below I’ve included two recipes – a basic bread recipe good for everything from jam & butter to sopping up gravy, and  a root vegetable bread that is just as versatile but far more nutritious. I’ve kept the steps of each recipe simple so that they can be made without any special equipment but both recipes can easily be translated for use with a stand mixer.

Basic Bread
  • 16oz Bread Flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 290ml milk, cold

Bread21) Combine bread flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, slowly add the cold milk to the flour mixture until a dough starts to form. Add only enough milk to produce a dense but pliable dough. Dough should be slightly sticky to the touch but not come off on your hands.

2) Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Because dough is dense and cold, it will take some elbow grease and around ten minutes. Just keep at it until you see a noticeable change, testing it with the windowpane test until desired results.

3) Place dough in a very lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film or dish towel and allow to rise, in a draft-free area, for 2  to 2 1/2 hours.

4) Punch down dough and knead lightly to release air bubbles. Form loaf in desired shape and let rise on a lightly floured surface for second time, approximately 45 minutes.

5) Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet and transfer loaves to sheet. Carefully but quickly, with a sharp knife, score desired pattern on dough.

6) For a crisper crust, as you preheat the oven, place cast iron or aluminum pan on bottom rack. When time to bake, slide sheet with dough onto middle rack, pour 3/4 cup water into cast iron or aluminum pan, & close oven door quickly. This will produce steam. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

7) When bread is a dark golden brown and sounds hollow when bottom of loaf is tapped, remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Root Vegetable Bread
  • 115g parsnip, steamed or boiled
  • 55g carrot, steamed or boiled
  • 1oz milled flax
  • 6oz whole wheat flour
  • 9oz bread flour
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 230ml milk, cold

1) Slice carrots and parsnips into small sections & steam or boil until soft. Drain or remove from pot. To remove excess moisture from vegetables, add dry pot to burner and add vegetables to pot. Let sit on low heat until vegetables stop steaming. With potato masher or the back of a spoon, mash into a paste.

2) Combine milled flax, whole wheat flour, bread flour, salt, & yeast. Add mashed vegetables until well-mixed. Stirring Bread3constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, slowly add the cold milk to the flour mixture until a dough starts to form. Add only enough milk to produce a soft dough.

3) Knead dough on a lightly floured surface. If dough is particularly sticky, add bread flour as you knead, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough passes the windowpane test, approximately six minutes.

4) Place dough in a very lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film or dish towel and allow to rise, in a draft-free area, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

5) Punch down dough and knead lightly to release air bubbles. Form loaf in desired shape and let rise on a floured surface for second time, approximately 45 minutes.

6) Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet and transfer loaves to sheet. Carefully but quickly, with a sharp knife, score desired pattern on dough.

7) For a crisper crust, as you preheat the oven, place cast iron or aluminum pan on bottom rack. When time to bake, slide sheet with dough onto middle rack, pour 3/4 cup water into cast iron or aluminum pan, & close oven door quickly. This will produce steam. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

8) When bread is a dark golden brown and sounds hollow when bottom of loaf is tapped, remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.