Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Hi! I made bagels. They were round, and had a hole in the middle. See?

Just like a bagel should be. And it wasn't even too difficult! I followed the recipe in Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. Sure, there were a couple specialty ingredients, such as malt powder

I got this stuff from my local beer brewing store.
and high gluten bread flour, such as King Arthur brand, but all in all, the recipe is pretty straightforward. 

These bagels have a pretty crusty crust, and a dense and chewy crumb. I recommend eating them.

The recipe takes 2 days. The first day is pretty involved, but you only need an hour or so on the second day. According to Reinhart, allowing the dough to ferment slowly overnight allows it to develop deeper flavors. to get maximum flavor, this recipe uses both a sponge and overnight fermentation. 

The quantities listed will make 12 standard sized bagels


  • 1 tsp instant yeast (none of that old fashioned active dry stuff)
  • 510g / 18oz / 4 cups high gluten bread flour (It is generally better to measure flour by weight or mass rather than volume, because flour density is very variable.)
  • 2.5cups water
  • 1/2 tsp instant yeast
  • 482g / 17oz / 3.75 cups high gluten bread flour
  • 2 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp malt powder
To Finish
  • 1 tbsp baking soda (although this quantity doesn't mean anything because Reinhart does not specify the amount of water to dilute it in...)
  • toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, rehydrated dried garlic/onion, cheese, salt, etc... 
    to rehydrate, just add water!
Method (slightly simplified from the original):

  1. Mix together the "sponge" ingredients, the dough should look like pancake batter.
  2. Let the sponge sit, covered, at room temperature for 2 hours (until it is foamy and bubbly and has doubled in size.)                                          
  3. bubbles!
  4. To the sponge add the "dough" ingredients. Stir well with a spoon or your hands to form a coarse, shaggy dough. 
  5. If you are kneading by hand, turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. If you have a stand mixer, have the machine knead the dough with the dough hook for 6 minutes.   Either way, the dough should be "satiny and pliable, but not sticky" (Reinhart).
  6. Divide the dough into 12 pieces (each about 128g / 4.5oz). Cover with a damp towel and allow to rest 20 minutes.
  7. To make the bagel shape, poke a hole into the center of a piece and shape the dough into an even bagel shape. The hole should be about 1 in in diameter. 
  8. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper, and place the raw bagels on it. Let the dough sit for 20 minutes, then put it in the fridge overnight or for up to 3 days. 
    transporting bagel dough
  9. The next day, preheat the oven to 500F and bring a wide pot of water to boil. Add the baking soda to the water.
  10. Take the bagels out of the fridge and drop a couple of them into the water (only as many as can fit comfortably on the surface of the water)
  11. Boil the bagels for one minute on each side. 
    boiled bagels
  12. Sprinkle the baking sheets with semolina or cornmeal and place the boiled bagels on it. Top the bagels with desired toppings (I like sesame+poppy+garlic.) Note: to prevent the garlic from burning, you need to soak it in a bit of hot water to rehydrate it before using.
  13. Bake the bagels for 5 minutes at 500F, rotate the pans and bake until golden, about another 5 minutes.
  14. Let the bagels cool for 15 minutes on a cooling rack. 
    Om nom nom
  15. Slice the bagel open, and spread with cream cheese! 
    No bagel is complete without cream cheese.
  16. Cheese on top is also good.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chocolate Cream Dacquoise

Hey ya'll, it's me again, and I have a Chocolate Cream Dacquoise to present to you: [hazelnut meringue, chocolate cream, whipped cream]x3 + [hazelnut meringue, whipped cream, caramelized hazelnuts].
 This dessert is a bit more complicated than my usual adventures, but it was christmas, which in my family means "time to eat lots of food", so I figured it would be a good time to try something fancy. Of course, as I was making it, I was convinced the meringues had burnt and that the pudding had curdled (it had, twice), but it turns out it is very difficult to make hazelnuts, cream, and chocolate taste bad.

Because this dessert is a pretty big undertaking, I'm too lazy to type up the recipe, so instead I'll entertain you with my research about dessert naming.

Dacquoise: a female inhabitant of the city of Dax, or a dessert made of layers of hazelnut or almond meringue filled with buttercream.

The red flag is Dax.
According to en.wikipedia.org, a marjolaine is a dacquoise with chocolate buttercream. However, fr.wikipedia.org makes no mention of marjolaine. In fact, searching for marjolaine in Google.fr only brings up marjoram, pictures of women named Marjolaine, and websites in English gushing about the supposedly French dessert of marjolaine. However, when I searched for "marjolaine dacquoise" in google.fr and insist on only pages in French, I do get a couple hits for French blogs making marjolaine.

Conclusions: Marjolaine is much more widely used to refer to a chocolate Dacquoise in English than in French. The small amount of usage in French is possibly due to feedback from English (French is currently borrowing a lot of words from English).

General gist of recipe (from Trish Deseine's I want Chocolate):

2 cups of hazelnuts
stirred into 12 beaten egg whites and 3/2 cups of sugar to make the meringue. This mixture is formed into 4 disks and baked for an hour at 275F.

For the chocolate cream, I beat 6 egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tbsp flour until pale and frothy. I heated up 3/2 cup cream and 3/2 cup milk until almost boiling, and poured it into the egg yolks.

The yolk-cream was put back in the pan and brought to a boil (this is where the curdling happened, whoops!). Once the cream thickened, I added 4oz dark chocolate and stirred well. I cooled the cream in the refrigerator.

Now the layering! Meringue, chocolate cream,

whipped cream, grated dark chocolate. 

I made some caramel, mixed in some roasted hazelnuts, and crumbled it all on top.

The chocolate cream is kind of oozing everywhere.