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Bagel Recipes & Tips


mamster
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I've been making the Bread Bakers Apprentice version quite a lot lately. I've made plain and cinnamon raisin. I've got high-gluten flour from Smart & Final, and it definitely makes a difference. The big thing I found is that the malt makes a difference in flavor. It's subtle, but without it the bagels just don't quite taste right.

I've been trying to experiment with how length of boiling affects things, but I lose track of which are which when I put them in the oven. Right now I've been boiling 2 minutes per side, and that seems to get good results, not quite as shiny as think they should be.

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Yesterday and this morning I made another batch of bagels using basically the CI recipe that I made last time.

I did make a few changes. They call for 2 teaspoons salt and I found they tasted a bit too salty so I used 1 1/2 teaspoons. I blended 1 1/2 tablespooons dried onion into the dough because I found that just dipping them into the onion flakes didn't permeate them with onion flavor. Also added 3 tablespoons water to compensate for the dry onion.

I added 2 tablespoons of wheat gluten to bread flour since I don't have high gluten flour available in this rural community. Just can't bring myself to pay more in shipping charges than for the product if I mail order.

I also added the baking soda that many recipes call for to the boiling water although they don't call in CI. My water is extremely alkaline.

Instead of forming a rope to shape them I punch through the dough ball with the handle of a wooden spoon then shape them into rings.

They rested in the fridge for almost 18 hours.

This morning I boiled and baked them off.

gallery_31806_1392_15135.jpg

My findings: The flavor is better, in my opinion, with the lesser amount of salt and the added onion. 1 1/2 tablespoons additional water would probably have been enough. The texture is good but I would like them to be a bit more brown.

The dry onions brown much faster than the bagel so next time I will rehydrate them as suggested in BWJ.

Edited by BarbaraY (log)
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The closest I have come to making bagels was being told I was overqualified to work in a bagel shop :raz:

But I have read in many places that the thing people are really missing from the crust of a modern bagel is a little bit of Lime in the water...like the lime used for making Masa or parched corn....

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In 'How to be a Domestic Goddess', Nigella Lawson has a recipe for bagels which is adapted from George Grenstein's "Secrets of a Jewish Baker". I have had great success with this. One of the things she suggests is to add malt syrup to the poaching liquid to give the bagels their "sweet and shiny crust".

Regarding texture, I found an interesting point in Claudia Roden's "The Book of Jewish Food". When looking for tips to "improve" her bagels, she found that most people use egg in their dough to give it a lighter texture. So if you want a traditional chewy bagel, make sure not to include any egg. And for the glaze on top, Claudia Roden uses egg white.

Enjoy making your bagels. I don't make them often, but get a real kick out of the poaching stage. There's something magical about it.

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But I have read in many places that the thing people are really missing from the crust of a modern bagel is a little bit of Lime in the water...like the lime used for making Masa or parched corn....

I know I have heard of this somewhere but haven't seen it mentioned in any of the modern sources.

Will check my Mexican market next time I go. I don't remember seeing any lime or cal last time I was there but perhaps they can tell me where to find it.

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Wow!!! Those bagels look great -- but, hey, I need to taste them to be sure they deserve a real thumbs up. ;-)

I just finished a couple of sour dough loaves. I wound up combining tips from the eGullet thread plus what I quickly read from a library copy of the Bread Baker's Apprentice. They're cooling (the bread, not the apprentices) right now, so I haven't tasted yet.

Sidecar Ron

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Hi there,

I too like chewy bagels like you get here in Montreal. this recipe is really great and you can actually just skip the 30 min proof-- a tip I got from another Montreal egulleter to keep them chewy. These come together really quickly too. Be sure to give these a shot. I had tried several recipes and really like his one the best.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 3 months later...

i know a baking stone would help, but is there any other equipment I need to dive into this area? I have a regular plain gas oven that I use for baking. Would there be any noticable difference in baking in a convection electric oven?

I also know that a certain level of humidity can be obtained via spray bottles, or having a small pan on the bottom deck and pour some water there during the baking process.

my wife and I plan on someday having our own bakery/bread/breakfast cafe thingy. I might as well get some practice. lol

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You can make bagels better than you can get at 99% of the shops selling bagels. Other than a stone, no special equipment needed. Just make sure to use a recipe that calls for boiling the bagels before baking. (There's an excellent recipe, along with for lots of other good bread items, in Secrets of a Jewish Baker.)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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You can make bagels better than you can get at 99% of the shops selling bagels.

I second this. With the right recipe, your bagels might be better than anything you've ever had from a store/bakery. Then again, this might be a different story for people who live in places like New York.

But still, try it, it'll be good. Just find a good recipe. In my opinion, in addition to finding a recipe that calls for boiling the bagels first, as mentioned by rlibkind, there are two other necessities:

1) Using a good high gluten bread flour like King Arthur

2) Finding a recipe that includes malt syrup

Sincerely,

Alan

Edited by A Patric (log)
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As pointed out, all you need at home for bread is a stone. I never use convection, although I'm sure some people do. For artisanal breads, you'll never quite achieve the same crust as a bakery, but you'll still get a good loaf. Just make sure you properly preheat your stone. I usually turn my oven on to 500 degrees at least 1 1/2 hours before I plan on baking my bread as stones take a long time to come up to temperature.

Everyone has a different way of dealing with humidity, but my personal view is loss of heat is one of the biggest enemies to a home bread baker. So instead of pouring water into a pan or misting, I put ice cubes into a cast iron pan set beneath my stone immediately after I've peeled my bread into the oven. It takes a little bit for the cubes to melt and gives (what I feel) is just enough humidity for the crust. (It also avoids the inevitable splatter of water that comes from pouring water into a burning hot pan.) That way I don't have to open my oven door to mist at 30 second intervals and lose heat from the oven. I'm sure others are just as happy with the way they do it, so it's really a matter of finding what works best for you. Experiment and let your own experience guide you.

As for bagels...I don't make them terribly often, but I completely concur regarding finding a recipe with malt.

Edited by WhiteTruffleGirl (log)
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Just find a good recipe.  In my opinion, in addition to finding a recipe that calls for boiling the bagels first, as mentioned by rlibkind, there are two other necessities: 

1) Using a good high gluten bread flour like King Arthur

2) Finding a recipe that includes malt syrup

Secrets of a Jewish Baker recipe calls for malt syrup and bread (high gluten) flour. It also has an excellent bialy recipe.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Secrets of a Jewish Baker recipe calls for malt syrup and bread (high gluten) flour. It also has an excellent bialy recipe.

There is a difference between bread flour and high gluten flour. I have made bagels with bread flour (both Pillsbury and King Arthur) and they weren't nearly as good as the bagels I made with King Arthur high gluten flour (aka Sir Lancelot). So look for a flour labeled high-gluten rather than just bread flour for the best chewy bagels.

I use the recipe out of Bread Baker's Apprentice.

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I add my agreement to the above advice. For bagels, be sure to use as high a protein flour as you can get. Knead longer than the recipe calls for because you need to develop the gluten. I agree also with the need for malt syrup. Boil the bagels before baking. Bake on a stone (I actually use nonglazed floor quarry tiles bought from Home Depot) preheated to 500 F for at least an hour (the stones take longer to heat than the thermostat in the oven). Convection or nonconvection doesn't matter that much if you only use 1 layer. Same advice goes for bread (except don't boil first). After preheating the stones and just before adding the dough, I toss 3/4 cup water directly on the stones, which creates a $#^% of a lot of steam. Immediately slide on the dough, then toss another 1/2 cup water on the stones (but not on the dough). I think this provides sufficient steam for the first few minutes (which is all that's needed).

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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  • 1 year later...

I made my very first bagels last night. I used the recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. They're very, very chewy. Tough chewy. I feel like I'm going to pull out a tooth whenever I try to gnaw off a chunk.

They were OK last night, fresh out of the oven, but now, 12-ish hours later, they're not quite as good.

From what I've read, I probably boiled them too long (true, as I was trying to make pita bread at the same time so I was often distracted). I think I may also have baked them for too long.

Any other hints for making chewy yet edible bagels?

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I use the Bread Baker's Apprentice recipe, but modified to use sourdough starter instead of a sponge. I'm finding that they're ending up a little too light and fluffy (bready) rather than chewy. I think I need to make the dough stiffer or let them rise less or not boil as long. Boiling makes them poof up, and when they hit the oven, they really go nuts and rise like crazy. So, prasantrin, how about I send you my bagels and you send me yours? Hehe.

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I've been using the recipe out of an old Sunset Hors d'oeuvres cookbook for about 20 years.  I have tried a couple of other recipes but always come back to this one.

Ann

Good to know. I've been thinking of trying that recipe. I've tried the BBA recipe and it turned out okay. I tried the Montreal bagel recipe from Alford & Duguid's Home Baking. They use honey for boiling which is sweet when they first come out of the oven but disappears the next day. Liking it the best so far but still looking for the perfect bagel. I know the local fave here in town boils his with malt syrup.

Pamela Wilkinson

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Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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  • 5 months later...

I made bagels yesterday and although the taste and texture were fine, they were a bit on the heavy side. I am not an experienced baker so am not sure how to adjust what I did to lighten the dough a little. I used a KitchenAid to knead and left it going for about 10 minutes on a medium/low setting. After leaving the dough to rise for an hour on the dough setting of my oven (40 degrees C) the dough had a punch and then another quick knead before shaping, boiling and baking in the oven.

Does anyone have any advice on what I might do differently. Did I over- or under-knead, leave it rising too long to for too little time or was the temperature wrong? Or might the problem be with my ingredients? I used 1kg bread flour, 500ml water, a little oil, yeast and a bit of salt and sugar.

Or can anyone point me to where on the forum this may have already been covered?

Thanks

Rachel

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My bagel recipe has been very dependable during the past 15 years:

1 Tbsp dried yeast

1 tsp sugar

2 cups lukewarm water

3 Tbsps oil

3 Tbsps sugar

1 Tbsps table salt

4-5 cups flour

4 quarts water boiled with 2 Tbsps honey

Deflate the dough after its proofed, let rest 15 minutes, covered. Roll into 10- by 12-inch rectangle, cut into 12 strips.Shape the rings and place them on baking sheet. Let stand 20 minutes. Cook 7 minutes in boiling water, turning once. Glaze them with egg wash, sprinkle with coarse salt or poppy seeds. Bake at 375°F 20+ minutes until done.

Edited by Redsugar (log)

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I have difficulty imagining a bagel that's too dense. The problem with most bagels today is that they are too light. They are also too big. My ideal would be smallish (no more than four inches diameter) and chewy, dense not puffy.

You make me think that maybe my bagels were in fact not bad at all and it's my expectations that might have been skewed by the supermarket bagels that I bought in London which was where we lived until recently. I'll be making them again soon anyway.

Thanks for the recipe, Redsugar....much appreciated.

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