Warning: You might not want to attempt this at home… Then again, why not?
You see, I really don’t know the first thing about making bagels. But lack of experience should never hinder one from setting one’s sights on the impossible – or questionable undertakings. At least, in theory.
Which is why it made perfect sense to me to ask Toni if I could try out my experiment in bagel-making at his…ummmm… pizzeria. Really, why not? Well, it turns out (duh) that pizza dough is not quite the best substitute for bread dough. In other words, you might want to stick to pizza dough for making pizzas and.. well, you get the point. But I wasn’t going to be put off by such banalities. So when I arrived at the pizzeria this morning with a small packet of my dried ‘secret ingredient,’ Toni kicked his staff into high gear. Putu, who was folding napkins, was delegated with the task of providing us with nourishment: a late-brunch of pasta and sorbet; while Sony was sent out to start up the pizza oven (a little earlier than usual), then to help me prepare the dough, roll and shape the bagels, and then slide them into the oven.
Toni and I dug into our respective pasta dishes with gusto, while intermittently glancing over at the oven. It was clear that Sony was out of his element; an Indonesian trained to cook Italian food was now being thrown into the deep end – asked (with no prior experience of bread-making) to whip up a batch of strange-looking bagels. What we (tamu) won’t throw at them.. and how they will (usually, gladly) acquiesce…There was much to- and fro-ing: A befuddled Sony tentatively withdrew the only-slightly hardened but still-doughy rounds out of the fire, walked over to us, displaying the strange-looking nuggets to us with a face that belied his puzzlement. Toni cut one of the bagels in half, then sent Sony back to the oven, with instructions in Indonesian that I barely understood.
By the time Toni and I had spooned up the last of our (two each, mamma mia!) dishes of pasta, Sony was more bravely heading back towards us, a hint of a smile spreading across his face as if to say… ahh, I think I know what you’re getting at.
Alas, the nuggets were uber-hard, the dough (as mentioned above) had proven itself inadequate and the fire too fiery for the project at hand. And yet, I could almost sense that Toni was intrigued… A seed had been planted, as much in his head as mine.
I left the pizzeria, not only satiated from the final sorbet send-off, but with the hope and belief that, if I could just get the dough done right, mix in that secret ingredient (and a few others), there’s a very teeny tiny chance that I just might be onto something…Stay tuned. The Secret Ingredient(s) & Bali Bagel Lab Project, Phase II, returns this summer…