I must admit that I have the worst luck with yeast. Previous attempts to bake with it have led to rock-like embarrassments that are beyond inedible, and I will go years in between yeast-baking attempts in order to avoid such failures. I always remember watching my dad make the most delicious breads and muffins (my dad is quite the amazing foodie, I will share more tales of him at a later time) and feeling so excited when I was able to help with even a little bit of the kneading. Eventually my dad would allow me to measure out ingredients, and I felt such honor (and a smidge of pressure) to be assisting him.
damn you, yeast.
I would usually call my dad after each failed yeast project, trying to figure out what had gone wrong ("Was the water too hot? Was the yeast expired? Did you measure it correctly?"), but couldn't seem to self-correct whatever combination of errors I was guilty of. Dad once even mailed an old bread machine across the country so that I could easily make bread, but I managed to not only not make bread, I actually broke the bread machine in my first attempt to use it. Was the bread-making gene skipping a generation?
But it's been just over a year since my last yeast experiment (a failed pretzel variety) and I was itching to jump back in and yeast up the kitchen again. Call me a baking masochist, but I wanted to try my hands at bagels. I had thought about making them off and on for years, and convinced C to buy three packets of yeast during our last food shop. And boy, am I glad he gave in.
Allow me to introduce you to my delicious, edible bagels. That's right, I tamed the Yeast Beast. How did I do it? I'm not entirely positive, but I'm about to call my dad and brag about my yummy, yeasty, bagels. I'm hoping these weren't a one-time fluke and that I'll be able to make them again, because they're awesome, and I might even be feeling cocky enough to try making some flavored bagels on my second go round.
I even made a yummy garlic tofu spread while the dough was sitting, in honor of the amazing spread we used to enjoy at Bentley's. I could have eaten that spread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I threw the following in the food processor: 2 giant cloves of garlic, a handful of cashews, 1/4 of an onion, silken tofu, dried thyme, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and lemon juice, and blended until smooth-ish. Mine isn't as chunky as what we would have at Bentley's (maybe use firm tofu next time?) but it is de-lish, and I am considering eating it with a spoon.