Help! Flat bagels!
Hi everyone! I read this forum regularly and love it. I've never posted before but I hope that my fellow bread enthusiasts may help with this bagel tragedy of mine.
I make bagels. Lots. I have tiny company about it. Lately my bagels have been quite flat. After the boil the bottoms of the bagel (which have been pan side down during their final rise in the fridge) are soft and sticky. A good bagel that rises the way I like has a thin skin that is obvious in cross section. These flat bagels are missing them on the bottom. I don't know how many of you boil bagels and stare at the bottoms, but you know. I do.
Here's my method, generally:
Mix preferment & let rise for 10-12 hours.
Mix dough (professional mixer): 25 minutes.
Roll & Shape: This is where I think the problem is. In order to prevent over-proofing I pre-chill the sheet pans in the fridge. I cut large batches of dough (enough to make 70 bagels) into 4-6 chunks and chill them while I work with one chunk at a time. I portion, preshape, let rest in the fridge and finally roll them into rings.
Final Rise: 7-8 hours in a cold fridge. I keep the fridge really cold. Somewhere around 33 degrees. Maybe that's crazy? But the bagels like it, and I've found that when everything else is in order this is the best temperature.
Hydration: 60 percent. I know this a bit wet for bagels - I've tried going lower and it makes shaping really hard for me.
Temperature: The kitchen where I work is pretty consistently 65 degrees.
Weather: I live in Oregon. It's the rainy season which means wet and cool.
Any ideas? The over proofing started becoming a consistent problem right after I got a handful of new accounts which means I'm making more dough and more bagels. Maybe the larger batches of dough are rising too much while mixing? Do I just need to work faster while preshaping/shaping?
Oh! I should also note that inevitably, the best looking bagels out of these flat batches are the last ones. These are the bagels that I rolled last, were in the bottom part of the fridge (which is often a degree or two warmer than the top), were boiled last and baked last. Perhaps these look best because they were sitting in the fridge the longest, waiting for me to portion and shape?
I'd appreciate any advice!