Freezing rain moved in last night. It's falling as I write this. Here's the view of the mountains from my office window this morning:
In case it isn't obvious, our windows are glazed over with ice on that side of the house.
It was just as well that I got a second batch of bagels started yesterday. They take two days to make because they require "retarding" in the refrigerator over night. The long "retard" gives the flavor time to develop. I won't go through the entire process of making bagels this time around since I've already been through that in a previous blog post. This time around I had my proofing box back from repair, and the "sponge" got a much better rise than last time. It increased another 1/3 in volume from before, and the thoroughly-mixed and kneaded dough was much drier and more velvety than my last batch. They were also more elastic. Here's how they looked when I took them out of the refrigerator this morning.
The elasticity meant that the center holes closed up a little overnight, and that's just fine. Also, this time around I remembered to add baking soda to the boiling water. This alkalizes the water, which leads to better caramelizing and better browning when they are baked. It also made the water so foamy, it was a little hard to find the bagels once they were added.
When they were finished boiling they looked like this. I made them half onion,
and half plain.
When they came out of the oven, they looked like this.
Fortunately, I only had to wait 15 minutes to taste one. I used that time to get the schmears out of the refrigerator and open them up. Last time I mentioned the schmears, someone asked what they were. For those of you unfamiliar with schmear, it's simply a whipped cream cheese with some flavorings added. Mike wanted onion & chive and garden veggie. I'm also partial to the strawberry schmear.
When it was time, I sliced mine down the middle and used half and half on the schmears. Oh. My. Goodness. These were delicious. They had much better flavor, texture, and overall yumminess than my first batch, although those were good too. This could definitely get to be a habit.
So...let's see...we're kind of food focused here right now. Ice storms will do that to you. What else is going on?
Well, I made the next Solstice Challenge block. The name of this block is Tidy Rows. Mine is made to remind me to start my tomato seeds.
We need the weather just a tad warmer than it is right now because I need to use the outdoor faucet to get the soil loaded into the red Solo cups. All the outdoor faucets are turned off right now. Hopefully, the weather will warm up over the weekend so I can get the seeds started.
Also, I'm off to a pretty good start on the next Bag Lady, Charlotte.
And that reminds me to remind you that today is the last day to link up your Ernestine for a chance to win a magnetic needle threader. The party is going on right here. You don't need to finish your block, and you don't need a blog to link up. Just click on that link back there for all the information.
So...you know all those blog posts where I say I'm going to do a little housework? Well, don't believe it. Who has time for housework? Today, I'm afraid I need to catch up a little, although I'm hoping to get a couple of blocks made too. We're supposed to pick up our new camper tomorrow, but the weather is going to have to warm up some and melt those icy roads. The forecast looks promising, but these things have a way of deciding for themselves. Fingers crossed.