Sunday, January 1


I love bagels and have been wanting to make my own for a while. In keeping with my resolution to try to bake more bread, I went for it yesterday! I tried it with some heartier flours and as a result, I think I should have been more patient with the rising time {winter day + denser flours} and done a bit more research as to how the dough is supposed to feel after kneading. I let them start their rising without getting the dough to a supple stretchiness. Adding a bit more water during the kneading process would have fixed this easily, but I wasn't sure how the dough was supposed to compare to the feeling of pizza dough that I'm used to. I'm thinking it should feel as supple as pizza dough because mine were still pretty dense after rising, which then affected how well they baked.

Homemade Bagels
Adapted from Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart and BGSK
Makes 6-8 bagels

You can find barley malt syrup at a specialty foods store or Whole Foods.

For the dough:
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup, honey, or rice syrup
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt, or 2 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3 ½ cups (16oz) unbleached bread flour (or other flour by weight. I did about 4oz rye and 8oz bread flour and 4oz whole wheat flour

For the poaching liquid:
1 ½ tablespoons barley malt syrup, honey, or rice syrup
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt, or 1 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt

Stir the malt syrup, yeast, and salt into 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water. Place the flour into a mixing bowl and pour in the malt syrup mixture. Use a large, sturdy spoon and stir for about 3 minutes, until well blended. The dough should form a stiff, coarse ball, and the flour should be fully hydrated; if it isn’t, stir in a little more water. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Transfer to a very lightly floured work surface and knead. The dough should be stiff yet supple, with a satiny, barely tacky feel. If the dough seems too soft or overly tacky, mix or knead in a little more flour.
I did this all in a stand mixer with the dough hook, about 8 minutes.

Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes. Patience is key.

Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper, then misting it with spray oil or lightly coating it with oil. Divide the dough into 6 to 8 equal pieces.

Form each piece into a loose ball by rolling it on a clean, dry work surface with a cupped hand. Holding the dough with both thumbs in the hole, rotate the dough with your hands, gradually stretching it to create a hole about 2 inches in diameter.

Place each shaped bagel on the prepared sheet pan, then mist with spray oil or brush with a light coating of oil. Cover the entire pan with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes

Fill a pot with 2 to 3 quarts of water, making sure the water is at least 4 inches deep. Cover, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain at a simmer. Stir in the malt syrup, baking soda, and salt.

Gently lower each bagel into the simmering poaching liquid, adding as many as will comfortably fit in the pot. They should all float to the surface within 15 seconds. After 1 minute, use a spoon to turn each bagel over. Poach for another 30 to 60 seconds, then use the spoon to transfer it back to the pan. 

Transfer the pan of bagels to the oven, then lower the oven heat to 450°F.

Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and check the underside of the bagels.  Bake for another 8 to 12 minutes, until the bagels are a golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. 

Image belongs to Smitten Kitchen who has a similar albeit more complicated version of Peter R's bagels. There was no way I was going to attempt bagels for the first time with all that business. Too daunting to attempt. This was simple and I was quite happy with the result and what I learned. I plan to keep working on them and will keep you posted.

By the way, this is helpful baking advice. ... because I freeze butter too and yet am also an impulsive baker.

1 comment:

  1. Erin, I'm so impressed that you tackled this! In all my years of baking, even baking bread, I've never tried bagels! I'm so proud of you just for accepting the challenge. I'm also proud of you for sharing where you could have done better. You go, Girl! I'm proud of you!!!