NY Style Sun-Dried Tomato Bagels, Gluten Free

by Jenn on June 9, 2010

in Flops,Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains,Vegetarian

Bagels, Gluten Free

Yes, you read the title right.  Bagels.  Gluten free bagels.  Until last week the idea had crossed my mind a few times, and all I could picture are those kinds that come frozen in a bag that you have to microwave to defrost at which point they become a bit mushy for my taste.  My husband likes them.  He misses not having those frozen bagels available to buy.  But that’s because it’s been SO long since he’s had a truly good bagel.  I’m talking about one you can make a sandwich out of, sink your teeth into and let your tongue dance on the sweet and soft flavors as they cross over each part of your mouth – the kind where you lick your lips fast as you can after taking a bite because it would be a high crime to allow any crumb to fall to the merciless floor, wasted.

Unlike my husband, I spent a summer in NYC once, on Manhattan.  It was seriously one of my favorite summers in college.  I lived for all the picnics and concerts with my friends in Central Park – especially the jazz!  Some of the best jazz music I’ve ever heard has been in Central Park.  And while my kitchen skills were pretty atrocious back then, it was in NYC that I first was awakened to a world of new and exciting foods.  That summer was probably one of the most formative times for finding myself, and finding my love of food.

My roommate and I had this little teeny kitchen (maybe smaller than what I currently have, which certainly says something) – and neither one of us had a clue about how to cook anything.  But we did – maybe half of what we made was really edible, but we were poor so we ate our failed experiments anyways.  And then there were times when our meal attempts were so awful that even we couldn’t stomach them – ha yes, being a good cook takes practice!  And neither of us had had any.  On those days, sometimes we’d give up on dinner and the next morning head down a few blocks to one of our favorite little shops to get a latte before work – but by far our favorite breakfast out was from this particular bagel stand just 2 blocks away.

You had to be a bit smart about ordering bagels from this guy though.  Have you ever seen the Seinfeld episode about ordering soup?  This guy ran his bagel business in about the same way.  And forget about ordering more than one bagel per person – meaning that one of us couldn’t just run out to get them and bring them back to the apt.

“I’d like to order two plain bagels please with cream cheese.”

“No, you only get one bagel.”

“But I’m buying one for a friend too, I’d like two bagels please.”

“One.”

“Two please.”

“One!  I have other paying customers besides you, you know.  What are they going to do when they come to my stand and I tell them that YOU are the reason I have no bagels to sell to them?!  You can buy ONE bagel.  Now go!”

Well, he did have the absolute best bagels around, so I followed his rules so I could keep coming back to buy my one bagel, and the subsequent trips my roommate and I always decided to go together, so that way we could justify buying two bagels.

Since moving to Suisse, bagels have been one thing I’ve really been missing.  And my husband didn’t really know it, but he’s been missing a good bagel for a lot longer than that.  So when Maggie of She Let Them Eat Cake posted a guest post on Amy’s blog last week with a gluten free bagel recipe, I just had to make it.  In fact, I went and made it the very next night.  There was just one problem – it didn’t work.  The bagels halfway dissolved in the poaching, and were so crumbly after baking that it was near impossible to slice them.

I was disappointed, but I wasn’t giving up.  I’ve learned enough through several trials and errors now to start to be able to think critically about my actions in the kitchen when it comes to gluten free baking.  I suspected the problem was due to my gluten free flour mix, which I made myself, and which did not include any binding agent.  This was not a deliberate choice on my part, but merely due to lack of finding any to buy.  However, we had heard a rumor of a certain natural foods store a couple towns over that might carry some, and so this weekend went to check it out.  And there it was, the ever elusive guar gum!!  I was so excited – not having this stuff has meant the needless failure of more than one bread attempt on my part since moving to Suisse.

This weekend I repeated the recipe – I made the bagels bigger this time, and made sure to include the guar gum.  What a difference that made!  They didn’t dissolve in the water, they baked beautifully, they sliced beautifully.  So moral of this story – when it comes to gluten free breads, a binding gum is critical to their success. Don’t believe me?  I took pics of them side by side – the bagel made with guar gum is on the right – which one looks more like a success to you?

Bagels, Gluten Free

Some things you just cannot make do without.  A gum like guar gum is one of those things in gluten free baking.  The end result was perfect.  They were thick, dense, chewy – the kind to make a sandwich out of that is a meal.  The kind that brought me back memories of awesome tasting bagels in NYC.  The kind that Ryan hasn’t been able to eat in years.  You can bet that we will be making these again.

Also submitted to – Friday Foodie Fix
Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays
Also submitted to – Gluten Free Wednesdays

Bagels, Gluten Free