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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Successful Bagels

My previous three attempts at bagels have been somewhat less than satisfying. The first was alright, but needed some tweaking. The second was much too dry and dense, and a little bit undercooked. The third was an absolute disaster due to overcompensating and adding way too much more water, then leaving them to rise for almost a week in the fridge because my oven was broken.

So I've finally returned to conquer them, and this time I succeeded!

You'll have to endure my many enthusiastic pictures. I was so happy how they were turning out!

Here's how the sponge should look pre-rising:

Here's how it looks after rising; That's the extra yeast, salt, gluten, and honey being added in:

After the first addition of flour:

There's all the extra flour being added in . Ready for kneading!

The dough ended up being JUST RIGHT without adding extra flour or water. It was definitely stiff but pliable, and was just soft enough without being so sticky that it stuck to my hands or the counter as I kneaded it.

Dividing into 8 (almost equal) pieces

And shape them into smooth little rolls of dough. I can't even tell you how pleased I was with how smooth the rolls were

Here they are shaped into bagels and getting ready to go into the fridge for the night. This is a classic picture of my kitchen right before bedtime: blueish light coming in the window and piles of clean dishes that I finally got around to washing...

Float-testing one of the bagels before putting them in the fridge. Sorry my kitchen is so horribly dark.

Here's a pot with baking soda and molasses that I'll boil the bagels in

This is my boiling station. Paper towels for patting bagels dry, a pile of corn meal, and that is totally not the utensil I used for getting bagels out of the water. I have no idea why it's there.

Bagels a-boilin'

And the snow that I can't believe is falling from the sky as I'm doing this. Mid-April? Really?

Post-boiling, pre-baking:

Post-baking. The cornmeal kind of attacked a couple of them. Oops.



Yum Yum Yum.

And finally, the recipe I ended up with:

Yield: 6 large, 8 medium-sized or 12 mini bagels
Time: Day one: 3 hours 35 minutes (only 45 minutes total active time).
Day two: 1 hour total, mostly active (or at least a hovering sort of active)

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup gluten
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp gluten
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar

In Boiling Water
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tbsp molasses
Cornmeal for the bottoms

Day one 
  1. Make sponge. It should look like pancake batter
  2. Let rise for about 2 hours
    1. It should be foamy and bubbly, doubled in size, and should collapse when the bowl is tapped on the counter
  3. Add the rest of the dough ingredients to the sponge. Add the AP flour last, and only as needed to stiffen the dough (I did use all of it, and didn't need to add more for kneading).
  4. Knead on the counter for a solid 10 minutes.
    1. It should be stiff, but pliable and smooth.
    2. There should be no raw flour 
  5. Divide dough and shape into rolls.
  6. Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes
  7. Spray baking sheet
  8. Shape bagels and place on sheet, about 2 inches apart
  9. Mist with oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap
  10. Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes, or until they pass the float test
  11. Refrigerate Overnight
Day Two
  1. Preheat oven to 500 F
  2. Boil a large pot of water with the baking soda and molasses
  3. Sprinkle cornmeal on baking sheet as bagels are boiling or have a pile of it on a plate to plop the wet bagels into when they come out of the pot
  4. Boil bagels for about 1-2 minutes per side (the longer the chewier)
  5. Remove with a slotted spoon or skimmer, pat dry with a paper towel, and coat the bottom with cornmeal if you haven't put it on the pan.
  6. Once they're all done, bake for 5 minutes (I did six and should have done about eight)
  7. Rotate the pan (and switch shelves if using more than one pan)
  8. Decrease oven temperature to 450 F
  9. Bake 5-10 minutes (I did 10).
  10. Let cool on a wire rack

1 comment:

  1. hooooorayy!!! you were so brave to keep trying
    i served cheeseburgers on bagels tonight for dinner because we were out of bread and they were just regular bagels not even from the deli. brent still dubbed me a gourmet chef but they would have been much better with your lovely homemade bagels.
    question... sponge? i read that in a recipe yesterday and was so confused. it was a recipe for a yeast coffee cake type thing so i thought maybe they were calling it a sponge cake but then there was also separate ingredients for the topping and the dough. but i think after reading your post i get the idea. weird name though.
    ps i tried making ketchup today because we were all out. gaahh!! i had seen a recipe before using tomato paste, vinegar, sugar and salt so i tried it and maybe i got the proportions wrong but it was nasty!