January 2021

Here we are in January, barely in January, not finished yet with Christmas Food and where are we? Back in Lockdown!

Onwards and Upwards, have a plan, morning walk at sunrise, come rain or shine ( more like rain), have a soak in the sauna,( make sure it switched on before said walk) breakfast, cafe latte, crossword, shower wash and dress ( PJ’s and sweat pants not allowed) . Well that brings us up to well, maybe 11 am. What to do for the rest of the day? Our one allowed exercise has been done, what else! We seem to have accumulated jigsaws and their accoutrements ( thanks kids) all of extreme difficulty. That will keep himself busy for a while.

Cleaning, sorting and sorting 50 years of photos, is another job that has been beckoning for a long while! When you have moved as often as we have, ( 17 for us more like 25 for me) a clear out is always done, so we don’t have an abyss or an overstuffed attic or vault or dungeon, but there are things that have been kept for sorting at a later stage, like the boxes of photos! IT HAS TO BE DONE!

Himself has cleaned the silver and myself the crystal and now what?

I decided to make Bagels. Never done it before, no that is a lie, tried about 20 years ago in Texas but not since. This time around, I happen to to have fresh yeast courtesy of the wonderful Watts Farm. I bought it with my first foray into Watts Farm shopping. It came in little packs, but then I got sidetracked and yeast went into the freezer and yes fresh yeast freezes well! For whatever reason I am not much of a dab hand with dried yeast, but fresh is a piece of cake.

I must admit to cheating here, as I bought during Lockdown #1 a small bread machine though I have only ever used it for the kneading/ rising process ( is this being lazy or what ), but nonetheless the kneading is perfect except when I forget about it and it has risen so much that it is like the day of the triffids and spilling upwards and out of the machine! Mental note to myself, Listen for the Beep !

Bagel making is not difficult jut a tad time consuming but the end result worth while. To make 8 bagels you will need

  • 1 cube fresh yeast ( it comes in cubes of about 42 grms) or 6 grms active dried yeast
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 300 mls warm ( not hot) water
  • 450 grms strong flour ( sometimes labels Bread Flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

  • Mix the sugar with the yeast and about 120 mls of the water. It will mix into a smooth creamy coloured liquid.
  • Then either mix this with the flour by hand or in a machine if using one ( follow instructions)
  • By hand, knead the dough for about 10 minutes , ( this is why I use the machine, it does it all for you). Again by hand place the dough into an oiled bowl , cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.
  • When the dough has risen, knock it back, this means basically deflating it and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
  • Dived into 8 equal amounts, I weighed each bit, and roll each bit around on a floured counter top to form a ball.
  • Push a finger through the center of each dough ball so that it forms a ring, using the palm of your hand press on the dough ball to flatten somewhat.
  • Place on either a greased baking tray or on a non stick one and again cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for another 10 minutes! ( dough likes to have a little nap in between each handling !)
  • Heat the oven to 220C fan/220C non fan/gas7
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and drop in the bagels, as many as will fit without being overcrowded. They will float to the surface, flip over and leave for a minute. If you like chewy bagels leave for 2 minutes.
  • Remove bagels from water with a slotted spoon and place back on the baking sheet, glaze with an egg wash.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes multilingual golden brown.
  • Cool on a wire rack. When cool store in a bread bin, or as with all breads, they freeze well!

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