I am new to bread baking. I live in SLC and there is only one decent bakery here and no decent bagel shops. I first started with bagels and have evolved into making other breads. I have been usuing the BBA recipe for bagel making but I am not getting consistent results. The bagels have always tasted great but have looked funny (not round, bulges in places) and the last two batches have had the bagels coming apart, like an open ring instead of a closed circle. I have been using the rope method to make the bagels instead of the finger through the center because it seems you get a more round homogenous bagel. Problem is, when I boil them, they come apart. Any ideas?
Also, my husband is a beer brewer so I always have a ready supply of diastatic malt. I've used it in all batches but I have noticed occassionally I get some bagels that have a gummy area to the bagel. Could this be from the diastatic malt? BBA reccomends adding but Bread Bible says most flour already has diastatic malt in it and addition is not neccesary. Any experience?