BBA #3 BAGELS, BABY, BAGELS

Wow, ok. Where to start? Several weeks ago when I signed up to do this crazy challenge I skimmed through the first few recipes to see what we would be baking in the next few weeks. The recipe started off nice and easy with Anadama bread, which for me, was the first time I shaped loafs and baked them in loaf pans. New, cool, and turns out – pretty easy. Week number two was a new challenge because while I had shaped and baked batards and boules in the past, I had never incorporated fancy designs or added fruits or nuts or anything else that would be odd to knead in. Turns out that was do-able, and fun also. BUT, week three had me scared for a whole ‘nother reason. You had to BOIL the bagel dough! I could not imagine how it would be that the dough wouldn’t just become waterlogged, fall apart and disintegrate into the pot. I needed guidance stat.

So in the few weeks I had before the bagels were due, I read every post that my fellow Challenge Bakers wrote about bagels. Again and again. Some had amazing success and some had some minor issues. Those that had problems were so helpful. I could learn from their trial and error, and I did. It was with equal parts amazement and relief when I opened the oven to pull out the bagels that I could see that I had done it! It was a great feeling! So with out further a-do. The bagels……

 First the Usual Suspects:

Unbleached bread flour, non-diastatic malt powder, vital wheat gluten, water, yeast, and salt

Unbleached bread flour, non-diastatic malt powder, vital wheat gluten, water, yeast, and salt

Day 1 – we need to make a sponge first, so take water, yeast and flour and mix until the consistency of muffin batter. I also added a small amount of vital wheat gluten to my bread flour. The recipe calls for high-gluten bread flour and since I had just purchased 25lbs of bread flour from King Arthur, I decided to just add about 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten to each cup of flour I used. This was to ensure that my dough would have a high enough protein content for a nice chewy bagel.

Flour, yeast, water, and vital wheat gluten

Flour, yeast, water, and vital wheat gluten

DSC00465

Gluten strands

Gluten strands

I let the sponge hang out on the counter for a couple of hours. It had started to bubble and had about doubled in size. At this point, I added my bubbling sponge to the rest of the flour/wheat gluten, salt, yeast, and malt powder – except yeah, I somehow forgot to add the malt powder…the single ingredient that makes a bagel taste like a bagel. I hadn’t realized this yet, so I mixed the ingredients and let the KA start mixin’ away.

Could not have done it without my Kitchen Aid

Could not have done it without my Kitchen Aid

I was nervous about burning up the Kitchen Aid since there were reports of a few bagel bakers who had overheated their machines because the bagel dough was so stiff. I started it on the lowest setting and watched it like a hawk. Even though I have the Pro 600 I didn’t want to take any chances.

Hand kneading is the only way I can really tell if the dough is right.

Hand kneading is the only way I can really tell if the dough is right.

After about 10 minutes of mixing I could tell it was pretty close, so I took the dough out of the mixer and kneaded by hand for about 5 minutes just so I could make sure that the dough was the right consistancy.

I tried the window pane test:

The window pane test

The window pane test

I had window pane happening! This picture is brought to you with help from my wonderful photographer/boyfriend, Andrew. He went to put the camera away and i turned back to my counter and to my horror realized that the bag of non-diastatic malt powder was UNOPENED!! What! No, say its not so….ruin, total ruin.

Did I toss the whole batch and start over? Skip it? This is why my bagels were going to fail and I had been so careful, sigh.

After a minute of hemming and hawing I decided to try and just mix in the malt to the dough a little at a time. It stuck to the counter and clumped in the dough. Not good. I sprinkled a few drops of water and mixed some more, repeat about three times and finally – finally I could tell it was incorporated. I couldn’t see any clumps left and the dough felt right again despite the added water. I decided to just move forward with my fingers crossed and see what would happen.

Pre-shaping into rolls

Pre-shaping into rolls

I split the dough into 4.5 oz chunks – or as close as possible and pre-shaped them into balls and them let them rest for about 20 minutes. This rest time alows the gluten strands to unwind a little bit and soften so I can shape them into bagels. If there was no rest period, the dough would be very elastic and want to shirink back to its previous state.

After 20 minutes passed, I started rolling the dough into a long rope, wrapped it around my hand and then secured the ends with a little water. Repeat 12 more times.

rollingthe wrap technique

securing with waterta da

After 20 minutes you take a bagel and drop it in a bowl of lukewarm water. If it floats it is ready to go into the fridge for the night.

It floats - ready to be put to bed

It floats - ready to be put to bed

I covered them with oiled plastic wrap and stored them in the fridgerator overnight. This overnight step is one of the special things that Peter Reinhart adds in his reciepe. Putting the dough in a cold place overnight allows the enzymes to break down the flour and develops additional flavor in the dough.

DSC00497

The next morning, I took the bagels out of the fridge and prepared a big pot of water to boil. I added a couple tablespoons of malt poweder and baking soda to the water which should allow my bagels to develop a nice browning in the oven and that bagel shop shine. I dropped in the bagels three at a time in the boiling water and let them cook each side about a minute and a half.

DSC00499

Into the boiling water with baking soda and malt powder

 After they were boiled, I placed them back on the parchment covered trays to be topped.

strainer

I used a strainer to fish the cooked bagels from the pot

 I used several bagel toppings – just what I had on hand really. I used parmasan cheese, flaky salt, cinnamin sugar, seseme seeds, and cheddar cheese.

Toppings buffet

Toppings Buffet

Bagels get their toppings

 Next up the oven: I baked them in a 500 degree oven for about ten minutes total. I turned the tray after 5 minutes to make sure they were browning evenly.

500 degree oven for 10 minutes

500 degree oven for 10 minutes

When they were ready to be pulled out of the oven, I carefully placed them on a cooling rack and did a second round of the boiling, topping, baking routine for the second half of the batch.

DSC00514

Pipping Hot

DSC00517

Cooling down

At this point I was really excited!!! They were still puffy and yummy looking – I had made bagels! The last step, and true test, was how did they taste.

But- before we get to the taste – lets take a look at these beautiful bagel babies.

Basket o' Bagels

Basket o' Bagels

Cheddar Bagel

Cheddar Bagel

Parmisan Cheese Bagel

Parmisan Cheese Bagel

Plain jane bagel

Plain jane bagel

Flaky Sea Salt

Flaky Sea Salt

My favorite - Cinnamin Sugar

My favorite - Cinnamin Sugar

And finally the taste test:

The Ends

I will absolutely make these again!

Next up in the Bread Baker’s Challenge: Brioche

Advertisements

5 responses to this post.

  1. What great photos! Your bagels look so nice and puffy. 🙂
    Great job and nice baking along with you.
    Susie

    Reply

  2. Oh man, those bagels are awesome. Loved how they puffed up. Plus, that Cheddar bagel!

    Reply

  3. They are perfect. This has been my favorite recipe so far!! Darn it – I need a cheddar (jalapeno) bagel now! Probably wont be as good as yours!! happy baking….

    Reply

  4. Loved your bagel buffet. And I have to say i admire your courage to just mix in that malt powder at such a late stage. Looks like it all came out ok!

    Reply

  5. Oh yum. I’m drooling right now!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: