Shaping bagels - and bagel boards
Last Saturday night I decided to try baking bagels. I had just received my order of KAF Sir Lancelot flour, so I turned to Hamelman's "Bread" and used his straight dough bagel recipe (which I later discovered is the same recipe used by our good friend, baker Norm). Happily, my Artisan mixer survived, but due to my own lack of planning, at 11:45 p.m. I was staring at three pounds of very stiff dough, ready to be shaped into bagels.
I cut the dough into four-ounce chunks, rolled each piece into a 10-inch long log, then shaped it by wrapping it around my hand and sealing the ends. By then it was well after midnight, I was half asleep, and did something really stupid: I moved the bagels to parchment covered baking pans. No oil spray, cornmeal, or semolina flour on the parchment. Into the refrigerator they went for the night. Didn't discover the consequences until the next day - but that's a topic for a thread on "stupid bread tricks."
Miraculously I managed to bake 13 wonderful bagels, thanks to the restorative powers of good Sir Lancelot and lots of boiling water laced with malt syrup.
I've seen comments here about just rolling the dough into a ball, then poking your finger through the center. Is this as effective as the technique noted above?
Have any of you used canvas or linen covered bagel boards? Do these make any major difference in the end product?
The KAF high-gluten flour produced a wonderfully chewy texture. It was so impressive, I ordered six more bags.