The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


ehanner's picture

Onion Bagels Question

September 17, 2011 - 3:43pm -- ehanner

For the last week or so I have been experimenting with Bagel recipes, trying to get comfortable with one. I've been using Hamelmans at 58% hydration and Reinharts which is a little higher. Today I made a batch of PR's mix that was modified for egg yokes. Some were topped with poppy seeds, some with onion chips and a few plain. I have been baking on a stone at 500F in the middle rack. I had purchased 10 Lbs of All Trumps from NY Bakers and I must say I really like it. Nice crispy crust and chewy and a little open crumb. Delicious.

Elagins's picture

What Becky and I baked this weekend

August 21, 2011 - 3:18pm -- Elagins

As many of you know, one of the high points of my week is baking with my Down syndrome daughter, Becky.  She's absolutely taken to baking like a fish to water and is my indispensable right hand gal. 

So here's what we made.

Yesterday (8/20/11), we baked her sandwich loaves -- 30% buckwheat in an enriched sandwich bread matrix. We love the flavor of buckwheat and try to use it whenever we can in breads, pancakes, waffles, etc.

dmsnyder's picture

We have my sister and brother-in-law and my younger son's two daughters staying with us this week. This morning, we had a traditional Sunday brunch with bagels, smoked salmon, farmers' chop suey and sourcream coffee cake. My neighborhood bread tasters joined us.

The bagels were made with the Krakow Bagel formula I tested last Summer for Inside the Jewish Bakery. The bagels are supposed to be twisted, but I shaped them in the more usual manner. They are very chewy with a crisp crust and delicious flavor. They received rave reviews. If you want the formula, you will have to buy Stan and Norm's book when it's released in the next few weeks.

I also baked a couple loaves of my San Joaquin Sourdough to have with our dinner of proscuito and melon and fettucine with ragu.

I loved five year old Naomi's comment on the bloom as I took the loaves out of the oven: "Ooooo .... They got so big, they broke!"

Hope you all are having as much fun this weekend as I am!


ngolovin's picture

Bagels are falling

August 2, 2011 - 9:02pm -- ngolovin

Hi All,

I am new to this forum.  I have recently started baking bagels, since you really can't get a good bagel in Indiana! (OK, this is probably open to arguement).  I originally had good luck with Peter Reinhart's formulation from his book, " The Breadbaker's Apprentice".  First few batches were perfect.  Now they seem to fall right after boiling.  The crust is the same, and the middle looks risen, but they are physically flat.  I am curious if anyone has a suggestion.  I pretty well follow the formulation in the book, and use King Arthur bread flour.  


ngolovin's picture

Transplanted Easterner

August 2, 2011 - 5:02pm -- ngolovin

Hi Everyone.

I am an easterner (from Boston) transplanted here in Indiana.  Life's fine, except noone here knows how to make a decent bagel.  So I started making them myself (why not!).  I have one problem.  They fall after the boiling step.  My bagels come out flat.  They taste great.  Have that crust that fights back when you bite into it.  I am relatively new to bread baking (did it alot twenty years ago, my life got complicated).  I am looking for suggestions as to what may be going wrong.  Thanks, in advance, for any asstance anyone may offer!

sglanders's picture

Bagels in Big Green Egg

July 24, 2011 - 7:10am -- sglanders

I have a Big Green Egg (ceramic bbq).  I'm really excited to cook my bagels in it instead of the oven.  The problem...I don't know what temperature to cook the bagels at.  I was thinking I'd try 600 degrees, but I thought I would ask others their experience with baking bagels in the BGE and what temperature they bake at. Thanks for your help!  I'm making pizza on it tonight for the first time (I'm very excited about that) and was thinking that 600 degrees would be a good temperature for that also.  Thanks again!

yy's picture

I had a bunch of fresh blueberries in the fridge and a bag of KA Sir Lancelot high-gluten flour that had been sitting in the pantry for too long, so naturally, I decided to try making blueberry bagels. There were a few considerations beforehand:

-would the blueberry flavor be concentrated enough from just fresh blueberries?

-would I be able to knead whole berries into the dough, or would I have to find some other method of incorporation?

-how should I adapt my usual go-to bagel formula?

On the first point, I decided I would go ahead with the experiment and find out by tasting the product. Regarding the second point, in all my online research, I'd never seen a blueberry bagel with fresh whole berries kneaded in (they would probably explode and leave a mess), which led me to the decision that I would cook the berries down into a sauce, puree the sauce, and strain it to yield a smooth liquid, which I would use to replace part of the liquid in the formula. Below on the left is the blueberry sauce after cooking. On the right is the strained blueberry puree diluted with water (how much water? see below).

Finally, to my third initial question: how to adapt the formula to account for solid matter in the blueberry puree? First, I decided to use SAF Gold label osmotolerant yeast instead of regular instant yeast in case the amount of sugar in the puree was too high.

I use Peter Reinhart's bagel formula in the bread baker's apprentice, which is about 57% hydration. Not knowing what percentage of the blueberry puree was water, I wasn't sure how to adjust the amount of liquid, so I played it by ear. I just estimated that there would have to be 2 extra ounces of water than the formula calls for to compensate for the blueberry. I planned to adjust the flour later, if necessary, depending on how the dough felt.

All the liquid in the BBA formula is incorporated in the sponge step, which yielded a lovely, lumpy, purple batter:

The sponge was allowed to ferment until doubled in bulk, which took about 4 hours.

Once the other ingredients were incorporated, it seemed like the dough wasn't stiff enough, so I ended up adding another 2 ounces of high gluten flour. In my bagel experiences in the past, too slack a dough caused the bagels to become floppy in the boiling step. This brought the calculated hydration level to about 59%, but given how the dough felt, it was probably slightly lower. Here is what the dough looked like:

This brought the calculated hydration level to about 59%, but given how the dough felt, it was probably slightly lower. The final recipe was as follows (adapted from p.119 of Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice)


1 tsp instant yeast

18 oz unbleached high gluten flour

22 oz total of blueberry puree and water (use all the puree and add enough water to bring it up to the total)


1/2 tsp osmotolerant yeast

19 oz unbleached high gluten flour

0.7 oz salt

1 Tbsp barley malt syrup

Immediately after kneading to the windowpane stage, as Mr. Reinhart instructs, I divided the dough into 4 oz pieces and shaped them into rounds. The rounds were allowed to rest for 10 minutes. Afterward, I rolled each one out into a flat somewhat rectangular sheet and rolled them up tightly into logs. 

After another ten minutes of resting under damp paper towels (the dough dried up on the surface very quickly without them), I extended the logs into long snakes, looped them around my fingers, and rolled the overlapping ends to seal the bagel into the "O" shape. I found that for the best result, the overlapping area should span at least the width of your four fingers. I had to supplement this rolling method with some pinching to seal the ends securely.

Then came an overnight retardation in the fridge. In the morning, the bagels had puffed up slightly, but not dramatically:

I preheated the oven to 450 instead of 500 as instructed in the book to account for the extra sugar content in the dough. Next I prepared a boiling solution consisting of:

8 cups of water

2 Tbsp baking soda

1 Tbsp barley malt syrup

Once the solution came up to a gentle boil (more than a simmer but less than a rolling, witches' brew boil) I popped the bagels in for 2 minutes per side. I should have expected this, but I was surprised to find that some chemical reaction between the baking soda solution and the blueberries caused the purple bagels to turn almost black! Below you can see the contrast between the boiled bagels and the unboiled ones. I was hoping that the baking soda was indeed the reason behind the color change, and that the inside would stay pleasantly purple.

After baking for about 15 minutes, with a couple rotations of the sheet pans for evenness of browning, they came out dark greyish purplish brownish black (maybe there's a name for this shade in the Sherwin-Williams catalogue?). When I sliced them open, I was relieved to find that the lovely purple color had not disappeared entirely. The crusts actually provided a nice contrast to the interior color.

Back to the first initial question: was there enough blueberry flavor? I wouldn't say the flavor was overtly of blueberry. The dough had a gentle sweetness and a definite blueberry fragrance, but the sensation of the fruit was mostly olfactory. After savoring a bite for a little bit, the blueberry begins to come through. The floral nature of the fruit complements the malt flavor of the bagel nicely. They're delicious with some fruity cream cheese. The crust color was at first discouraging, but now I kind of like the idea of slicing one open to find a bright surprise on the inside.

bencheng's picture

Blisters on bagels

March 4, 2011 - 7:36pm -- bencheng

I've been making bages using form Ciril Hitz's book formula. After I shaped the bagels I kept them in the refriggerator for about 15 - 20 hours depends on the day.

For some reason all the bagels have tiny blisters on the crust. I've done some research and people said that's because of extended fermentation, but I think the texture and density were about right and I don't believe they were kept in the fridge for too long.

Some said that this is common for hand rolled bagels, but if you have any ideas that I can make smooth crust bagels I'd love to know.



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