It’s been sixteen years since my celiac-disease diagnosis meant no more gluten in my life. Decent gluten-free food was an oxymoron back then, but it’s gotten better, and most restaurants can accommodate my diet today.
But no one, yes no one, has made a gluten-free bagel that remotely resembles what used to be my breakfast staple. Believe me, I’ve tried them all.
So imagine my delight when America’s Test Kitchen’s How Can It Be Gluten-free, Volume II claimed that after endless experimenting their cooks had developed a recipe for like-real bagels.
Last Friday was a gloomy day, good for a kitchen challenge. We had amassed the fifteen ingredients that our new recipe called for, including psyllium husks, oat flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, molasses, etc.
Peter and I were a team in the kitchen—he was captain, and I followed his orders. We used every conceivable bowl, pot, cookie sheet, measuring cup and utensil in the house. All kitchen surfaces were covered with flour.
It was not pretty. For the first time in forty-seven years, I wondered if our marriage could survive. We did everything right—measuring the flour on a scale, boiling the bagels one at a time and turning them over in the boiling water after five seconds, carefully arranging them on two layers of cookie sheets over oiled parchment paper. And that was only part of the drill.
When our six bagels finally went into the oven, we agreed that this wasn’t meant for a home kitchen, and even if they turned out to be divine, we’d never make them again.
I managed not to try one until Saturday morning. Lo and behold, they were chewy and dense. I felt like I was eating something that wasn’t just air. I can’t remember real bagels all that well, but I was mightily impressed.
Will we do it again? No way.