Bagels! These little round rolls may just be everyone’s favorite breakfast bread. You may be surprised that I marked this recipe for making bagels as easy, since there seems to be endless discussion about the “perfect” bagel and the “proper” way to make them. Well, this recipe, and the one that I am developing, are truly very easy to make. The only difficult or dangerous part is the boiling, other than that, they would be an excellent bread for beginners and children to make. The boiling isn’t difficult, but you will have to be careful that no one gets scalded or burned; boiling water is dangerous!
I just made a double batch of bagels using Peter Reinhart’s recipe from “Bread Bakers Apprentice,” a very good traditional recipe from a great book. However, I didn’t like the way the first half of the bagels turned out, so I modified the handling and baking of the second half to use Julia Child’s recipe. This hybrid worked very well. These are the pictures with a little bit of commentary. I’ll post the full posting later. In fairness to Peter Reinhart, you’ll notice that the changes I made to his recipe are fairly minor; just making something that is already very good a little better.
Our local bagel shop uses General Mills All Trumps, a very high protein, high-gluten flour. I’ve used All Trumps flour and it is truly a great flour if you need a raise-the-roof powerful flour, but the smallest package is 50 pounds. I don’t have storage for 50 pounds of flour, especially in the summertime, so I used King Arthur Bread Flour instead. Surprise! King Arthur Bread Flour and this recipe make a splendid bagel! There are other bread flours and high-gluten flours in the stores; give them a try and see how they work for you.
|Dry Yeast||1 tsp||5 ml|
|Malt||2 tsp||10 ml||Or honey or brown sugar, 1 Tblsp, 15 ml|
|See malt discussion here.|
|Dry Yeast||1/2 tsp||2 1/2 ml|
|Salt||2 3/4 tsp||14 ml|
One tablespoon or 15 ml of baking soda for the boiling water.
Peter Reinhart ‘s directions are
1. Make the sponge in a large mixing bowl. This will make a thick batter. Let it develop for 2 hours or until the mixure is bubbly and foamy.
2. Make the dough in the same bowl, adding the yeast, stirring in, and then adding the rest of the ingredients.
3. Knead for at least 10 minutes. The dough should be very stiff, stiffer than a French bread dough.
4. Divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce / 125 gram pieces and form them into rolls. cover with a towel and let them rest for 20 minutes.
5. Shape into rings and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the bagels.
6. Mist lightly with spray oil and slip the baking sheets into plastic bags or cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest on the counter for 20 minutes.
7. Give one of the bagels a “float test.” Drop a bagel in a pot of water. It should float to the top within 10 seconds.
8. If the bagel passes the test, dry the test bagel carefully and return it to the pan. Cover the pan and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
9. If the bagel doesn’t rise to the top, dry the bagel and replace it on the pan. Cover the pan and let the bagels rise for another 10 or 20 minutes and test again. Keep testing until the bagel passes the test, then put the tray in the refrigerator as above.
10. The following day, heat the oven to 500F / 260C. Use two racks in the oven.
11. Set a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon / 15 ml of baking soda to the water.
12. Have another, smaller, pot of water boiling. This is to replenish the main pot when it gets low.
13. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
14. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator. Drop a few into the boiling water and let them boil for 1 minute on the first side, then turn them over and let them boil for 1 minute on the other side. You may extend the time to 2 minutes on each side for chewy bagels.
15. Top the bagels with any toppings you want to add — sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt, etc.
16. Place the bagels on the baking sheets and place the sheets in the oven.
17. Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate and switch the baking sheets in the oven. Then turn the heat to 450F / 230C.
18. Bake for another 5 minutes, or until the bagels are a golden brown.
My observations and adjustments to Peter Reinhart’s recipe.
These are some changes I either made or intend to make. They are taken from Julia Child’s bagel recipe.
1. My bagels turned out a bit too fluffy. I think it would be better to refrigerate the whole dough overnight after fermenting until the dough doubles.
2. I don’t spray with the oil.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide and shape the dough just before boiling
4. The upper end of the boiling time, 2 minutes on each side, seems to work well.
5. I didn’t turn the heat down during the baking period.
6. I found that my bagels took quite a bit longer to bake than 5 minutes on each side. I used 20 minutes total time.
7. At the end of the 20 minutes, I turned the oven off and left the bagels in the cooling oven for 5 minutes.
8. I then opened the door and left the bagels in the oven for 5 minutes more.
The Pictures of Making Bagels
The sponge all mixed. It develops for two hours. I looked at this and immediately changed containers. It’s a good thing I did, too. If I hadn’t, I would have had glop all over the counter and floor.
The sponge all fermented. This is twice the size of the original bowl.
Adding the malt and the rest of the yeast to the sponge. I sprinkled them on top of the sponge.
>Since this is a double batch, I decided to use the fountain method. Here’s the main portion of the flour with part of the sponge added. For a single batch, you can use a mixer.
After mixing for a minute.
I’ve just added another portion of sponge.
I’ve just mixed the second portion into the flour. You can still see streaks of malt.
I’ve just added the final portion of the sponge.
Adding the salt to the mix.
Now the work begins. Folding and mixing the dough.
Still mixing and folding.
The dough is pretty well mixed, now to knead it. First, cut the dough in half.
Knead one half for 2 minutes.
Switch halves and knead the other half.
The two halves after 2 minutes kneading each.
Stack the two halves one on top of the other, not side by each.
We cut the stack half in two. Each half contains some of each of the original halves. Neat, eh.
>The two halves have been kneaded for 2 minutes each and are now stacked.
The stack cut half in two, ready to knead some more.
Here’s the finished dough. It has been kneaded in the mixer for a total of 6 minutes for each part. I then rolled it around a bit to see if it was kneaded. It was.
I divided the dough into 25 pieces of about 4 1/4 ounces each.
One piece rolled out.
A piece wrapped around my hand. The ends are inside and being squeezed even as we speak.
An inside view of the process.
Here’s one pan of finished bagels. Not bad, eh.
All the bagels shaped and on the parchment paper.
Under cover and resting for a few minutes.
The float test. Sort of like dunking a witch, but backwards. If the bagel floats, it’s done. Come to think of it, if a witch floated, she was done, too.
The instructions said to pat it dry. Obviously, they didn’t mean use paper towels.
So I skipped a few steps. Did you really want to see bagels rising in the refrigerator. Here they are after I’ve boiled a few. That’s my trusty wok.
Here’s the first batch done. The small pot has boiling water. I refill the wok with boiling water from time to time.
See, I told you. Using boiling water not only fills up the wok, but it cuts the heating time between batches.
Done. I lost 6 to the yoga studio. The light ones are from the first batch, the original Reinhart recipe.
The bagels. The darker ones are from the modified recipe, the addition being Julia Child’s method.
A close up of the darker ones.
The crumb of a bagel. This is a little too soft for my taste, but they tasted great.
Same bagel, different light.