Adventures in Bagel Making

March 31, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

Adventures in Bagel Making 1
How does the phrase, “homemade bagels” make you feel? Do you want to rip open the nearest bag of bread flour and say, “Bring it on, baby”? Or do you want to run screaming to the nearest corner deli? If you answered, “yes” to the first question, this blog post is for you. If you answered, “yes” to the second question, read on so that you can laugh at us fools crying into our bagel baths while you contentedly munch on your perfect H & H sesame bagel.
What do you think of the above picture? Sure, their shape is more croissant-like than bagel-esque, but still, a handsome looking bagel, right? Nice crust, with a gorgeous golden shine and a pretty blanket of poppy seeds… until I took my first bite and the crust almost knifed open my gums. The insides were softer than I expected, so it was sort of like chomping down on an armor-plated marshmallow.
On to the good news. The bagel tasted great. The soft insides, sort of like creamy Wonderbread, grew on me, even though I’m accustomed to a firmer texture. And the bragging rights – well, you can keep on drawing on that well for a long time.

Adventures in Bagel Making 2
A few things I learned – don’t boil the bagels too long! Rose Levy Beranbaum, in her Bread Bible, suggests boiling from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and I boiled the bagels for 2 minutes, which may have resulted in the impenetrability of the crust. Also, don’t let the bagels come into contact with too much flour when you’re forming them if you’re using shaping method 1. As you can see in the photos, the perfect bagel rounds below degenerated in the bath and the ends pulled apart.
Adventures in Bagel Making 3
Levy’s bagels
Adapted from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Half recipe – 5 bagels

Make the sponge
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 liquid cup plus 2 tbsp water at room temp
1 1/2 cups King Arthur high-gluten flour, or bread flour
In mixing bowl place the yeast, water and flour. Whisk about 2 minutes until smooth; scrape down the sides. Cover with plastic wrap.
Combine and add ingredients for the flour mixture
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp King Arthur high-gluten flour, or bread flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 Tbsp malt powder or barley malt syrup
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
in medium bowl, whisk 1 cup, the yeast, malt, sugar, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle flour mixture over the sponge – don’t stir. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 1-4 hours. **For best flavor, let ferment overnight in the fridge**
Mix the dough
Mix at low speed (#2 on Kitchen aid mixer) for a minute, then up speed to medium (#4) for 10 minutes. If the bread doesn’t pull away from bowl, add 2 tbsp flour. The dough should be very elastic and should jump back when pressed. Knead more flour if the dough is tacky. More flour will make a heavier, chewier bagel.
Let dough rise
Place dough in greased bowl and let it rise at 75 degrees for 1-2 hours, or till doubled. Deflate the dough. Give envelope turn and set back in container. Let it rest at least 4 hours, or overnight for most flavor.
Shape dough
Transfer dough to an unfloured counter. Cut into 5 equal pieces. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Shaping method #1
Draw up the sides of the dough into a ball.
Make a hole with index into center of the dough.
Stretch the hole to a 2 1/2 inch hole.
Shaping method #2
Roll the dough into 12-inch rope.
Make ring by overlapping the ends by 2 inches.
Press down and rolling the dough.
** Don’t flour the counter when shaping bagels using rolling method or bagels will not be sticky enough to seal the ends**
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees 30 min before baking. Have the over shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone before preheating.
Boil the Bagels
Water Bath
2 Tbps molasses
1 tsp baking soda
Bring large pot of water to boil. Stir in molasses and baking soda. Transfer the bagels one a t a time without crowding. If they are slightly underrisen, they may sink first but will rise to the surface. Boil for 30 seconds to 2 minutes on each side. Longer time will make a thicker crust. Remove the boiled bagels and place them on a parchment or on unfloured towel to drain.
Glaze bagels
two large eggs
1 tsp cold water
Whisk together egg whites and cold water. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and brush each bagel with glaze. Brush with a second coat of glaze and sprinkle toppings of your choice over the bagels.
Bake the Bagels
If using baking sheet, place directly on hot oven stone. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower the temp to 450, and bake for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and let them remain for 5 minutes. Then open the door and leave the bagels in the oven for five minutes.
Cool bagels
Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Bagels keep well at room temperature for a day in a paper bag.

Categories: Recipes

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