Monday, April 28, 2008

The Sweet Flavors

I consider my Cinnamon Raisin to be pretty good, but I want more sweets to balance the savory bagels.  Yesterday I did up my first two test batches (lucky for me, I figured out how to do the recipes so that my test batch is only 3 bagels, rather than 6 or 12) of Orange Cranberry and Blueberry Vanilla.  They were OK, but not enough sweet to complement the fruits.  The next batch will increase the sweetness with a little added sugar (doesn't take much for bagels, maybe a tablespoon or two per pound of flour), and I'll confirm that the vanilla does something to help the Blueberry Bagels, if it does nothing for the flavor, then it doesn't need to be in there.

Sales were good at the market, and I have started seeing some regulars.  A couple go for multiple bagels, and an increasing number seem to be coming for their bagel breakfast. The sales of cream cheese packets is also increasing, although I sell them for my cost I use it as a gage for on-site eating as opposed to takehome purchases.  

I'm also eyeing a bigger boil pot, mostly so I can boil more bagels at once for faster production, but with the added bonus of making an even bigger giant bagel.  Because the picture of me holding the giant bagels is really funny.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Expanding Flavors

Besides wearing my overalls at the Farmer's Market today (much to my wife's chagrin),  I introduced a new flavor, Basil& Chives.  They sold quickly and got the approval of my friend's child, who has the biggest brown eyes seen outside of a cartoon.  

The market is picking up and the weather is improving.  And I need to remember sunscreen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ka'Kat Results

The results were interesting, but not really that good.  The spice gives the dough a slightly bitter aftertaste, otherwise nothing special.  The look of the sesame rings is pretty cool but really reduces the amount of bread I can cook at once.  

I may use some of the methodology to do some tasty pretzel rings in the future, for now I'm calling it interesting, but probably not what ka'kat's are supposed to taste like.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ka'Kat, Arabian Sweet Bread Ring

I'm on a research quest.  After seeing a picture of a bread ring covered in sesame seeds taken in a middle eastern market, I searched out what kind of bread it was. After a few false leads I found ka'kat, a bread made with spice mahleb in it.  So I found the spice at our local Mediterranean Market, ground it and am waiting on the first rise.  

Most dough is pretty much the same. The difference are in the flavor ingredients and how you treat the dough. This one gets divided, rolled into ropes and made into rings.  Then covered in sesame seeds.  I'm looking forward to seeing if the spice really makes it taste different, and if the flavor lasts for more than 12 hours.  For the market, the flavor really needs to stay around for a day or two, since I have to bake the night before.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bagel Pizza

Bagel pizza is great for a snack or a quick dinner.  Just take a plain or savory flavored bagel and slice it in half, put on the toppings, and pop into the toaster oven until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Here is a little Pizza 101, which works for bagels or for regular pizzas.  When you apply sauce and toppings, less is more.  If you pile on toppings and cheese, it'll congeal into a solid layer that slides off with the first bite.  

Instead, for a half bagel use just enough sauce to cover the bagel in a thin layer.  Spread on any veggie toppings sparsely on the sauce and under the cheese.  Spread cheese evenly over the bagel, but not in a solid layer.  You should still see sauce when you are done putting on the cheese.  Meat generally goes on the very top, and should be precooked.

Pizza sauce is easy to make.  Here is my quick and easy pizza sauce recipe.

1 can tomato sauce, 8 oz
1 Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon onion flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Just stir it together and use.  

Toaster ovens vary, so keep an eye on your bagel pizza the first couple times you make them to prevent burning and possible fire (I think we all have set something on fire in the oven, mine was garlic bread.)

Baker Daddy in the (Local) News!

The Lawrence-Journal World, our local paper, sent out a photographer to record those of us crazy enough to attend the opening day of Farmer's Market, even with the temp in the low 40's and the occasional snow flurries.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Opening Day at Farmer's Market

Today was the opening day at the Lawrence Farmer's Market. The weather was very cold, low 40's average. My sister was insane enough to work the stall with me, for the low cost of some leftover bagels.

I took a smaller inventory since it was cold, opening day, and few stalls open this early in the evening. 2 dozen plain bagels, a dozen sesame seed bagels, half dozen each Asiago cheese and poppyseed bagels, 2 giant bagels and 4 loaves of artisan bread. Everything except for 7 plain bagels sold. For an opening weekend, I'm very satisfied.

Next weekend I'll include some cinnamon raisin and garlic onion bagels, and some rye artisan loaves.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth and got a bagel or three. In the near future I'll have some new bagel flavors to rotate in, and in addition to cream cheese I'll have some packets of Nutella available for purchase so the bagels can be eaten on site.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Oh joy, another round of editing labels. You'd think that typing in a few ingredients, attaching the graphic and hitting print would be easy. It is, but somehow I keep doing something slightly off, either a slight misspelling or saving under the wrong name.

I think I have it done, 10 labels for bread and bagels. Only 3 days until the opening of the Downtown Lawrence Farmer's Market, and the weather is possibly going to be cold and wet. Joy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

To Glaze or Not To Glaze

I've figured out that for bagels, an egg wash is really only needed if you want something to stick to the top. It makes the crust slightly shiny and a touch darker, but otherwise is not required.

What does this do besides make me redo my ingredient label? It means that more of my bagels are vegan, and it reduces the cost of production a touch. If there was another way to stick on the toppings without egg I'd probably do that too. The only other option I know of is a milk wash, which also goes against the vegan thing.

Edit-After doing up a batch of bagels, one boiled in sugar water, one boiled in regular water, and one glazed normally with egg, and topping them with sesame seeds, I have confirmed that if I want stuff stuck to the top I need to use the eggs. The vegans will have to be happy with untopped bagels.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Working Logo

Among the many fun things to do before opening day is to make ingredient labels for everything. Lucky for me the Avery website has an online label maker, where you input all the text and even a logo and it saves it as a pdf. I found an online logo generator, and created this working logo for the labels.

Tomorrow I get more flour, and a folding card table.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Giant Bagels

While playing around with the bagel dough, i realized that it's easy to make giant bagels. I just take the same amount of dough that would make 6 bagels and make a real big one. They work great for big sandwiches, sharing, etc. I do them because I like showing off.

I gave one of these bagels to my friend, who took it to work. Now I'm making 5 giant bagels to order for them. I was planning on making a couple of giant bagels for the Lawrence Farmer's Market, just to see how they sell. I'm starting to think that they may be more popular than I originally thought. It will be interesting to see.

I have three thought related to baking these 5 giant bagels. One, it is not easy to flip them over during the boil because they take up most of the width of a typical 6 qt pan. Two, I can't fit two giant bagels on a sheet pan, but I can probably fit 2-3 regular bagels along side them, so I won't be wasting baking space in the future. Three, I forgot the raisins I need to finish the last batch of bagels.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bagels at the Lawrence Farmer's Market

I've been baking for several years, and recently I started making bagels. One goal that I pursued was to bake and sell at the Lawrence Farmer's Market, but exactly what I'd sell was undecided.

With a typical home oven, I can make about 4 loaves of artisan bread at a time. Then while baking 3 dozen bagels for a weekend trip (feed people, they will love you) it occurred to me that bagels was something that I had not seen out there.

So, several hundred bagels later I have several flavors and a good methodology. I also discovered how to make giant bagels easily, and have plenty of experimentation to expand my recipe base.

I'll also do some of my artisan loaves, those are just too darned good to not include. I got the call from the Market Coordinator on Monday, so by Saturday I should have the paperwork, and be preparing for my first weekend at market. I must dig out the sunshade my parents gave me last year, find a sun hat and remember some sunblock.