November 12th, 2008

spam sushi

The Bagel Experiment...

Today is part of a three-day experiment, to see if the fruit bagels with no toppings can be made on Thursday night rather than during my all-day baking on Friday. I figure that the higher sugar content of the fruit bagels may make them better able to last that extra 12 hours or so than the other bagels. This would allow me to spread my baking for Market (most importantly the Winter Market, where I hope to have twice the product available since it's a much longer event than the usual Farmer's Market, being 8am-3pm) over two days.

So today I bake a dozen fruit bagels that have no topping. A couple of them will be bagged and set aside. Tomorrow I'll bake the same flavor bagel, and a couple of them will be set aside. On Friday I'll have a taste test, to see if there is any noticeable difference between them. If there is, I'm stuck with only baking on Fridays.

Sometimes when people see my "FRESH BAGELS" signs, they assume that I was up all night baking them. Sometimes I do finish the last batch about 4 hours before leaving for market, but the simple truth is that when I start a batch of bagels at noon (for easy timekeeping), it rises until about 2pm, gets divided, boiled and baked and done by around 3pm, cooled and bagged around 4pm. And that's for a single dozen. If I'm doing 12 dozen, then I'm spending about 12 hours baking, and I mean constantly. While one batch is in the oven, I have to divide and shape the next batch, and do up the dough that goes into line behind 3 other containers of dough in different stages of rising. If I'm doing 16 dozen (the max I did all season), I'm literally starting the dough for 4 dozen bagels at about 6:30am and finishing sometime in the late evening, maybe 10pm to midnight.

So if I can do even 4 dozen bagels in the evening on Thursday, that will put me hours ahead of schedule. But they have to be as good as the other bagels I take to Market, or my customers will notice. Today begins the experiment, Friday will be the real test.
spam sushi

the world demands that I keep making bagels...

My sister gave me a call today, apparently a week before Winter Market there is a craft show where someone usually sells food but won't be there this time. So I got asked to bake bagels for her to sell. It's money, and I don't even have to attend.

Three of the dozen bagels I baked today are bagged as normal for market and set aside for the Friday taste test. I must say, fresh bagels for dinner are heavenly.

I'm also looking at switching from malt barley syrup to malt barley powder for the bagels. The dry ingredient would be easier to measure and store, and I think it would be cheaper per ounce. I'll probably ask the Merc to order me some and experiment with it around January.

I need another trip to Sam's Club, get one more 50 lb bag of flour and some cream cheese packets.