I’m not much of a baker.  I usually have more fun with cooking when I can leave out or substitute half the ingredients and still have it taste fine.  Baking is such an exact science, plus there’s all that kneading, resting, rolling, blah, blah, blah.  Some people find baking a relaxing activity.  I usually find it boring.

However.  I love my carbs.  And when all the steps turn out right and the little yeasts manage to survive and do their thing, and you don’t end up completely covered in flour, you can’t beat fresh bread straight out of the oven.

Today I decided to try making bagels from scratch.  This particular recipe is bread machine-friendly (it also gives optional instructions for kneading by hand), so half the work is done for you.  The bagels are boiled to create a soft center, then baked to develop a crusty exterior.  Mine turned out beautifully, with only about 45 minutes of active work after the dough finished in the bread maker.  The most difficult part was shaping the dough into smooth rings–my bagels ended up a little “rustic” looking–but I think if you keep the dough covered with a clean towel whenever it’s resting, it will be less likely to dry out.  Next time I’ll have to experiment with adding different flavors as well.

Now my house smells like fresh bagels, my tummy is happy, and my husband is already asking for another batch.  I guess sometimes baking is worth it.