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New bagel-maker question

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maxamilliankolbe's picture
maxamilliankolbe

New bagel-maker question

I’m a new bagel-maker and I’m using the following recipe from Inside the Jewish Bakery:

5 cups High-gluten flour*

1½ cups+ 1 Tbs Warm Water (105°F/40°C_)

1 Tbs Malt powder, malt syrup,* or honey

1 tsp Table salt

½ tsp Instant yeast*

2 Tbs Poppy seed, sesame seed* and/or kosher salt for topping

2 Tbs Malt syrup*, honey or sugar for boiling

 

First, I didn’t use high gluten flour.  Instead I added about 3 tbsp of wheat gluten to my bread flour to try to approximate high gluten flour in a pinch.  I’m using a Bosch Universal Plus and I mix the dry ingredients first and add the water slowly until a dough forms and knead from there.  I’ve been kneading for well over 20 minutes and I can’t seem to get my dough to where I think it should be (or perhaps that is the problem.)  My dough is starting to look “satiny” but the recipe says that it is done when the dough stretches when I pull a piece from it.  Should I be looking for a window pane in this type of dough?  It seems no matter how much I knead it, it just seems to tear.  I don’t think I’ve over kneaded it and my dough didn’t overheat.

 

Any help is appreciated!

TastefulLee's picture
TastefulLee

...the bagel dough I make, using Peter Reinhart's incredibly easy, forgiving and delicious recipe from Aritsan Bread Every Day, is ready for bulk fermentation when it a fairly stiff, supple mass that is slightly tacky but not sticky at all.

I hope you have wonderful success with the batch you're working on right now...I strongly suggest as a novice you try Reinhart's ABED bagel recipe --it's ruined my family for store-bought bagels forever! Here's the link I use - http://theredspoonblog.com/2011/05/30/bagels-from-a-genius/

 

Good luck and enjoy! Lisa

TastefulLee's picture
TastefulLee

...I've never made bagels with anything but King Arthur Bread Flour - Sir Lancelot, their high gluten flour, is unavailable in my area and much too expensive online. Again, this recipe of Reinhart's from ABED is flexible, forgiving (and believe me I have goofed a time or two at least) and incredibly full of flavor with great crust and crumb -- give it  a try if you like!

maxamilliankolbe's picture
maxamilliankolbe

SUCCESS!!  Thank you for the recommendation!  I made these bagels and they were AMAZING!  They aren't quite as dense as the NY bagels I'm used to, but it wasn't a bad thing.  The crusts were perfectly chewy and golden and blistered, my, were they blistered!

I decided the problem was that I didn't have enough water in my dough, and I was WAY off.  Probably at least 1/4 of a cup off.  Maybe the wheat gluten I added required additional water?  I used KA bread flour this time instead of Harvest something or other from ConAgra.  I get that at Costco, and it is rather mediocre.  I also think that my flour was a bit old. 

I am going to try the other recipe again, but this time only with the good stuff.  Amazing how going cheap on the main ingredients can cause a major flop - who would have guessed?  ;-)

TastefulLee's picture
TastefulLee

...that your bagels were such a hit! I know how good it feels to make those beautifully risen, golden brown, blistery bagels-the aroma is intoxicating and there's absolutely nothing like that first bite fresh from the oven.

Although I am far from an authority, my understanding is that bagels need a high gluten flour mixed into a good, stiff dough to withstand the boil before the bake. Maybe I misunderstood, maybe this is an old wive's tale, but whatever - the recipe is working consistently for me, so I say if it ain't broke...:)From my (admittedly limited and not at ALL advanced) experience, it was about getting to know the feel of the dough when it's right for bulk fermentation, for me at least. My fondness for this recipe lies not only in the stellar results, but the fact that I've added too much flour, too little flour, too much water, had proofing temperature issues, etc., at various times along my journey and was still able to produce a bagel that was delicious and (fairly) consistent with what I describe as very little difficulty. My opinion is that Peter Reinhart spent a great deal of time and energy focused on developing a recipe that is clearly designed to produce success for the novice home baker, and that makes a big difference IMHO.

If you've really got the 'bagel bug' and want to pursue that additional density you are missing, I suggest you invest in some of King Arthur's Sir Lancelot flour-it's a high -gluten formula which is supposedly perfect for bagels (in fact, Reinhart suggests high gluten flour in the book). As I mentioned earlier it's not available by retail in my area, but I know you can get it through King Arthur's website or even Amazon.com.

Good luck with your original recipe. It will be interesting to learn how the two compare, so please post your results. Happy Baking!

P.S. Just curious - did you need to rest the shaped, fermented bagels at room temperature before they passed the 'float test'? I overproofed the first two batches I made before discovering that mine are ready to go straight from the fridge, although the recipe calls for a 60-90 minute room temp rest prior to boiling. It would be interesting to learn of your experience.

maxamilliankolbe's picture
maxamilliankolbe

Despite not being made with high gluten flour, I kept my water to a bare simmer and found that it did not deflate my bagels much at all!  They were still full and thick and felt like real bagel when I bit into it.  I've made bagels in the past with BOILING water, and that was a mistake!  The bagels deflated and were good, but very flat.  I will look into the high gluten flour option.  There are a couple restaurants in Omaha where I might be able to buy some.  Once I make the other recipe, I'll let you know what I come up with.

I took the bagels right out of the fridge and the passed the float test immediately.  I did plop them immediately into the simmering water. I, too am wondering what the difference might be if I let them rest for another hour on the counter.

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

I just made the bagels from ITJB yesterday on my brand new Bosch Universal.  In the past, I had complained of difficulty mixing the very dry dough in that recipe and received comments that the recipe has an unusually low percentage of water, so I increased it to 374 gm water from the 355 gm in the book.  That made it just about 55% hydration.  I saw a big difference.  Not only was the new mixer able to handle it (before I used the food processor and then my K/Aid Pro 6 with the spiral hook), but I hardly had to hand knead when it was done.  I mixed it at speed 3 for about 7 or 8 minutes.  I used warm water (maybe 90 dF), and that seemed fine.   I didn't "windowpane" it, but it felt fine to my hands, satiny, very supple, slightly tacky.   It is now shaped (the shaping was much easier than at 52% hydration) and resting in the fridge.  I'm going to take it out momentarily and boil, chill in ice water, and then bake. 

I think you put too much VWG in your dough; Nancy Silverton's recommendation for upping the gluten for bread flour is 1 tsp per cup; 1 1/2 tsp for whole grain flour.  I have done that in the past (I have used Harvest King, same as Gold Medal I believe, with success with the VWG added); this time I used 80% All Trumps, which I got from Stan Ginsberg's NY Bakers (currently running low), and 20% Gold Medal unbleached bread flour with 1 tsp VWG. I'll know more about the crumb and the "chew" later on.  All that being said, I will try the Reinhart recipe (I think it has a poolish-?) later on.  Many ways to bake a bagel, but I too like that chewy classic NY water bagel.  BTW, I read that it's a good idea to brush the tops with an egg white/tsp water wash so the seeds will stay stuck.  I'll give that a try too.  One more note:  I think the amount of yeast, coupled with the time you give the initial dough a "rest," influence whether they float initially (Stan says 20 minutes; I've let them rest for a half hour or so and then boiling them about 15 minutes out of the fridge the next day.  Sometimes they stick to the bottom of the pot, so you can give them a gentle nudge.)

Joy

 

maxamilliankolbe's picture
maxamilliankolbe

Is it one of the "tricks" in bagel-making to not knead the dough all the way to a windowpane if your intention is a denser bagel, or is that more due to the high gluten flour or some other property? 

Another question for the masses...my bagels were definitely chewy, but how do I get the slight snap when I bight into the crust?  Anyone out there know what I'm talking about?

By the way, how did your bagels turn out? 

Thanks for all the input.  My bagels floated right out of the fridge.

Has anyone had success with the bagels from ITJB without modifying the water significantly?   I used speed 2 on my Bosch, but I am a new Bosch user and wasn't sure how high I really should go while kneading the dough.  I'm interested in finding out how dense they are, since I found the recipe from Reinhart's ABED was not quite as dense as I'm used to.

 

 

TastefulLee's picture
TastefulLee

...for bagels which are posted on the internet. One is from Bread Bakers Apprentice, which uses a poolish prior to making the final dough, and the 2nd from Artisan Breads Every Day. Having made both I love the ABED recipe for two reasons: 1) It eliminates the step (and an extra 2 hours) of time because the recipe is designed so the final dough IS the preferment and 2) in my experience it results in better bagels than the poolish method.

They are both out there for the taking - try each recipe and see what you think! 

By the way - it is, indeed, a good idea to brush the tops of the boiled bagels with either store-bought egg whites in the carton or one egg white beaten with 1 T. water. I was unsuccessful in getting toppings to adhere properly until I started using this method.

:)

TastefulLee's picture
TastefulLee

...there are two recipes for bagels from Peter Reinhart...

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I posted on my quest to finally perfect Bagels a while back. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, you don't need a mixer to make wonderful bagels. You do need to start with flour that will deliver the result you want. Stan will sell you any of several kinds of great high gluten flour at NYbakers and you want good flour. You can get by with bread flour but the crumb won't be right.  Personally, I like Hamelmans recipe made by hand now for some time. Here is the original post with many details.

Eric

maxamilliankolbe's picture
maxamilliankolbe

Thanks for the tip.  I will read your post thoroughly! 

 

What did you find the difference in crumb was between bread flour and high gluten bread flour?

 

TastefulLee's picture
TastefulLee

...personally I never tried the high gluten flour, but my bagels are so chewy and delicious with King Arthur Bread Flour I don't think I would...they are perfect for my family of New Yorkers! :)