As you might imagine from my many posts with the subject of fabric shopping, I'm completely addicted to fabric. I subscribe to several fabric store blogs (Alewive's Girl, Sew Mama Sew, Hawthorne Threads, Pink Chalk Studio) and even a blog dedicated to fabric (True Up) that torture me with their posts about new fabric arrivals. My budget along with the guilt of having more fabric than finished projects helps keep me somewhat in control, but I wouldn't mind being able to indulge my addiction a bit more.
How do you support your hobby addictions? I used to support mine by baking bagels.
It all started when I brought a few loaves of homemade French bread to work to sell to my friends. Then I decided to bring in a few bagels as well. People went pretty crazy for them. It was very flattering, but I also saw a business opportunity - if even a very small one. I started selling them by the half dozen to my friends and co-workers. I did that for well over a year, but I recently "retired".
I only baked one time a week - Thursday mornings. I usually measured out all my flour, cleaned the kitchen and did any other prep work I possibly could the night before. Often my oldest son helped (for a small fee, of course). Then I would wake up at 3:00 AM to start baking. A friend would pick up the bagels at 7:00 AM to deliver them. Wednesday nights were always stressful worrying about making sure I had all the ingredients because I couldn't exactly run out to the store at 3:00 AM in the middle of baking bagels. Thursday mornings were always stressful worrying about not waking up and disappointing all my customers. I had the process pretty much down to a science where I wasn't wasting a single minute - the mixer was always going, the water was always boiling, the oven was always baking - but there was also some stress that I wouldn't finish baking in time for the pickup.
Long story short, I decided that with a more-than-full-time job and 4 active kids, I already had plenty of stress in my life, so I made one last giant batch of bagels and quit. I never made very much money at it, but I always had a bit of money in my bagel account to buy fabric and other sewing supplies completely guilt-free.
The whole point of this story is that I figured I'd either better get back to baking bagels or find another way to make some fun money, so, for now, I've got a handful of things in my previously neglected Etsy shop.
I may still go back to bagels, but at least I won't eat these finished products. I'll let you know how it goes. And if you're interested in baking your own bagels, it's really not that hard. Here's how I make them:
4 1/2 C King Arthur Flour (I've used both bread flour and all purpose - they seem to come out great either way)
1 T Instant Yeast (I use the SAF instant yeast that comes in a vacuum packed bag - like coffee - it's a much better deal than the individual packets - but only if you're going to bake bread more than once.)
1 T sugar
2 t salt
1 T vegetable oil
2 t molasses
1 1/2 C warm water
In the bowl of your kitchen-aid (I'm way to lazy to knead by hand), mix the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt with a fork. Add the vegetable oil, molasses, and water. Mix on low speed for about a minute then turn the speed up one notch and mix for about 6 more minutes. You'll probably need to add more water - try to do that early on in the mixing process. You want it wet enough, so you have one big blob of dough, but dry enough that it doesn't stick to the bottom of your mixer bowl.
After you're done mixing the dough, shape it into a nice rectangle-ish shape and put it on a bed of flour on your counter. Cover it with a towel and wait 15 minutes.
While you're waiting fill up a good sized pot (like the one you'd use to cook a big batch of pasta) with water. Add about a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of molasses. Just leave that to sit on your stovetop for a few minutes.
When your 15 minutes is up, divide your dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll them into snakes like you would have done with Play-Dough when you were a kid. Wrap the snake into a cirle overlapping the ends. Pinch that together in about 6 places, flip the bagel over and pinch some more. Do that for all 8 pieces and let them sit in the flour bed, covered with a towel for 15 more minutes.
While you're waiting, turn the burner with your water, salt, molasses mix on high and preheat the oven to 450 F. After your 15 minutes is up, plop about 3 or 4 of your bagels into the boiling water. Don't overcrowd them or you could end up with oval-shaped bagels. Let them boil for 1 minute then flip them over and let them boil for one more minute. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and place them on a kitchen towel while you boil the rest of the bagels.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper (you can bake them directly on the pan, too - it just makes clean up easier) then dust it with cornmeal. Put each bagel on the cookie sheet. If you're going to use toppings like poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc. go ahead and put those on. They should stick nicely since the bagels are still damp from their boiling water bath. One of my favorite toppings is a generous heap of shredded cheddar.
Bake the bagels for about 8 minutes. Turn the cookie sheet around and bake for about 8 minutes more. Cool on a cooling rack as long as you can stand it before you slather one with butter and chow down.
Variation: Cranberry Walnut Multigrain
The night before soak 3T oatmeal, 3 T polenta (coarse corn meal), and 2T wheat bran in 1/4 C water. The next day when making the bagels, reduce flour to 4 1/4 C and mix multigrain mixture along with 1/2 C chopped walnuts in with the dry ingredients. With about 1 minute left of mixing, add in 1 C dried cranberries.