“Hand Made Baking”   By Kamran Siddiqi

I ran across Kamran’s gorgeous baking book last Sunday while searching through my stash of unread, (gasp!), cookbooks, while looking for a perfect New York bagel recipe. This book really delivered! Not only did it have amazing recipes, but Kamran has easy to follow photos that detail the process, very helpful for my purposes. There around 55 recipes for pies, cakes, cookies, I admit to trying the brownies already, but that’s another day’s story.

My brother, feeling understandably annoyed at the high price of bagels in our rural town in Northern California, posted on FaceBook that his choices were somewhat limited, so I blindly rushed to look good in his eyes by making not one, but five different varieties to tempt him.

This was a labor of love not well thought out. Bagels take time.  Not a lot of time, but more than the 2 hours I had set aside for this project. Of course if I’d only stuck with the one variety…but as you know, that’s not how I roll.

The book has so many glorious photos of drool-worthy classic desserts that I had to really focus, must. find. bagel. recipe… Ooohh, such lovely sugar coated pretzels! How does he make apples & lemons look so bright & shiny? Homemade Animal Crackers? I could make those… ok, screeching halt, found the bagel recipe.

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Brother dearest had requested 3 basic types but I added a few, the lineup was Blueberry, Onion Poppyseed, Cheese, Sesame, & Garlic. I proceeded to make 3 batches of dough, deciding that the Blueberry & Cheese varieties needed their own batches so that the dough itself could be infused with berries & cheese.

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Starting with the Blueberry, I swiftly added slightly frozen, flour covered berries to my dough, figuring that they would not squish as much that way. Wrong! Berries have their own minds & soon I was kneading a soft batch of gooey purple dough. In hindsight, adding more flour would have made more sense but I clearly wasn’t thinking. These wrinkly little misshapen babies would have to do. After this dough rose they were still the softest of the bagels, which I will remember next time & correct my measurements.

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Next came the cheese, same process but thankfully a much drier dough, cheese is my personal fave so I probably ate more sharp cheddar than went into the dough!

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Copying the simple, yet detailed instructions from the picture above,  I quickly rolled up a million little balls. Halfway through I tried Kamran’s technique of rolling using the C method in photo 3, which was revolutionary, creating perfectly round, tight little orbs, I felt very professional at this point. After making 50 of these I started thinking about bakers & carpal tunnel syndrome though!

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The best part was wiggling my finger into the center of the freshly made doughy balls and stretching them into rings, they weren’t perfect but it was tons of fun!

I won’t bore you with the part where I schlepped bagels across the kitchen 4 at a time to the pot of boiling water, dripping water everywhere, this portion of the program is best left hidden. Suffice it to say that one really needs a flat slotted spoon, and MANY cookie sheets or pieces of parchment paper. This process took a bit of time as there were 5 dozen of the little buggers.

After they came out of their water bath I topped them with cheese, sesame seeds, rehydrated onion pieces and poppyseeds, but left the blueberry ones plain. They all baked happily in a 425 degree oven for about 25 minutes until they were nice and golden.

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All in all it was a super fun project, which took half the day, but would have been around 2 hours had there only been 1 batch, the book was extremely helpful and has so many other wonderful recipes that I’m thinking of trying some this weekend!

Check out Kamran’s blog at sophisticatedgourmet.com.  He is a self taught baker, hailing from New York City with an international family background. This has contributed to his amazing breadth of experience with foods from all over the world, he may focus on baked goods here but I imagine we will see much of his cooking in the future as this boy is truly talented! The book was published by Chronicle Books in 2014, HC,  208 pages, full color photos.

To purchase “Hand Made Baking”, by Kamran Siddiqi  click here:

“Hand Made Baking” on Amazon

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