Wednesday, June 3, 2009

BBA Challenge #3 - Bagels

This week's formula was for bagels.

I'll admit that the thought of making bagels was a little intimidating at first. Maybe it was the 40 pages in the book that were dedicated to this bread. Or maybe it was just 8 pages. I can't remember. But I guess I thought that if the reading about the bagels was that daunting, then the making of the bagels was going to be a nightmare.

I was wrong.

I didn't take any pictures of the sponge that needed to ferment for two hours before starting on the dough. You have all seen enough fermenting dough around here recently. Oh, and I forgot also.

Once the sponge was nice and bubbly and had gotten nice and tall in my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl, I began making the dough itself. Many had warned that the Kitchen Aid wouldn't handle the bagel dough, but I used it for a while anyways, at least to mix the ingredients together and get it to the point where I had added most of the flour.

Mr. Reinhart suggests a few difficult to find ingredients in his formula such as high gluten flour and malt powder or malt syrup. I tried to find these items, but alas, my local Central Market was out of high gluten flour. Drat. So rather than make that 20 minute drive for just the malt powder, I figured I'd be find just using some brown sugar and regular bread flour.

This dough is very stiff and requires a bit of kneading. But it came together finally and I got about as close as I ever do with the window "pain" test.

Next I was to divide the dough in to certain weight increments. Well, I still don't have a scale, so I had to eyeball it. The recipe says that it makes 12 large or 24 small bagels. I decided to do half large and half small which actually turned out to be 6 large and 12 small.

After dividing, I was supposed to roll the pieces of dough into little balls. I have no idea if I did this right or not, but I did the best I could.

The rolled balls were to "rest" for 20 minutes and mine puffed up pretty well.

Then came the shaping of the actual bagels. There are two methods and I chose the poke my thumb through the middle method.

I covered and let rest for another 20 minutes. Now it was time to see if they would float.

Oh PLEASE let these things float. Please please please!


Once bouyancy was determined, they were covered and went into the fridge overnight.

I found it interesting the next morning when I took them out of the refrigerator that the one bagel that I had used in the test float was now flat. See that one in the top left corner. Flat as a pancake. Well, maybe not THAT flat, but flat nonetheless.

The first step of cooking is boiling. 1 minute on each side.

What is the purpose of the baking soda in the water? Does anyone know? I didn't catch the reason in the book anywhere.

I don't know about your bagels, but mine came out kind of bumpy.

Well, anyways, if you're going to top your bagels, do so right out of the water. I tried some sunflower seeds with the first batch because I had them on hand.

Then you bake at 500 F for only about 10 minutes. They came out beautifully golden brown.

But I got a big thumbs down on the sunflower seeds from the family.

So the next ones I did plain.

Overall Impressions:

Making these homemade bagels was not nearly as fussy as I thought it was going to be.

My family really enjoyed the fresh out of the oven crisp crust and chewy crumb.

Would I make them again? Yes.


Michelle said...

OH MY! Your bagels turned out so nice and fat! I'd love one now please!

Paula - bell'alimento said...

Donna your bagels look delicious. I loved how these homemade bagels tasted & can't wait to make them again :) I agree, I was really nervous about making them & they were much easier than I thought. Brioche on the other hand... LOL

Robin Shreeves said...

I'm glad I just read your post because my sponge is working right now and I didn't buy the special flour or the malt powder/syrup. I'll be using regular bread flour and brown sugar like you did. So it's heartening to know that your turned out well.

Nice job on the bagels and thanks for making me feel a little less hesitant now.

Cindy said...

Your bagels are beautiful. The baking soda changes the PH balance of the water and contributes to a shinier and more golden brown crust.

Tammy @ Greek GRITS said...


Now what would be even better is if you could make them like the cinnamon crunch bagel at Panera bread! :-)

susies1955 said...

Loved reading through your post. :) Great looking bagels. YUM.
Nice baking along with you,

peteeatemall said...

They look great! Want one now! Happy baking!

Kinda Sassy Courtney said...

In the fine town of Montreal (and nearby Ottawa) they like to boil the bagels in water with maple syrup to give it a sweet tasting gloss.... deeeeeelish!