The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Perfecting the Bagel

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mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

Perfecting the Bagel

The bagels I baked yesterday, were yet another attempt in my quest for bagel perfection. :)  For the most part, I was very pleased with the results.  The bagels had really good texture and mouth-feel.  In terms of improving the recipe (bba) for next time, here is what I will try:


1. I'll add a bit more salt.


2. The flavor was nice, but I want to try to get some more depth, so, I will let the dough chill in the fridge for at least 16-18 hours.


3. I am going to try out different combinations of flours.  I used a mix of high-gluten with AP...I will try all bread flour next time.


4. This is more of a question....does anyone know how to improve the surface look of the bagel??  The bagel surface was quite bumpy and texturixed on top, and I am after a smoother look.


Thanks!


 


Michael


Stefania's picture
Stefania

Check out my thread from awhile ago:


http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/10877/lye-bagels


 


They are easy, fantastic and gained quite a following.  The lye boil is the secret to the crust.


 


Stefania

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Jeffrey Hamelman and Dan DiMuzio both have good bagel recipes in their books.  They both call for high gluten flour and diastatic malt.


I was unable to view your photos and have no idea what your bagels look like, but I've found that hand rolling the bagels obtains a smoother texture than the poke in the middle method.


I prefer using barley malt syrup in boiling water to boil the bagels (which are retarded overnight) before baking.  Food grade lye is expensive and you need protection while using it. 

mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

Pics are up now.

Steve H's picture
Steve H

Its funny, I just made my first bagels last night following (loosely) Hamelman.  They came out great!  I used KA Bread flour, with about 2 tablespoons per cup (of flour) VWG added to the mix.  It nearly killed my kitchenaid, but they came out great, and very smooth.


I rolled them, and one thing I noticed when I did this was a giant bubble invariable at the ends that would pop, as I made the ~12" string before connecting the ends.  I found rolling the bagels to be much easier than I thought.


For 5 of the bagels I added a bunch of oily pesto, which didn't really work that well because it didn't incorporate very much, but I kinda just went with it and got some lumpy, but very tasty bagels.  Again, the plain bagels came out very smooth and light.


I could not find malt powder or syrup, so I substituted clover honey.

Beverly Whipple's picture
Beverly Whipple

Does anyone have a recipe for a streusel topping the is baked on top of a bagel like you can buy a the Pannera (spelling might be wrong) stores? If so, how do you get it to stay on top of the bagel also?  Beverly

strangerkiss's picture
strangerkiss

Your pictures aren't showing up in your post but based upon my own experience (see Bagel Disaster)  I feel your pain!  I used the recipe in Peter Reinhardt's book but I think I'll try some of the others suggested here.  I did use the poke method and maybe that caused some of the lumpiness.


Thanks to you (and the commentors) for the insights.

mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

I have pics up now.

farina22's picture
farina22

I use the bagel recipe in Nancy Silverton's book and it is fabulous. I'm a former Jersey City girl who spent Sundays on the Lower East Side with my Dad (a tailor from Poland). Believe me, I know a good bagel. I use KA bread flour plus some gluten (1 tsp/cup of flour) and diastatic malt in the dough and retard for about 18-24 hours. They are aromatic, chewy, shiny and although I usually make a double batch (30 bagels) and freeze them, the ones I leave out last for many days (unless beloved spouse finds them first).

mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

Why use distatic malt instead of non-diastatic malt?  

farina22's picture
farina22

I meant non-diastatic. Just typing too fast. Thanks for the catch.

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

mrosen, I think the bumpy textured look, as you describe it, is wonderful, and is the mark of quality handmade bagels! It's a lovely natural look. Seriously! Don't go for artificial, mechanical 'perfection'. Yours look fantastic! 


Just my two bits.

mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

I have actually refined the recipe quite a bit since this post.  I made a dozen for a brunch last weekend, and they went over BIG! :)


 


Beverly Whipple's picture
Beverly Whipple

How do you get the seeds,onions ..or streusel to stay on top of the bagels? Beverly

mrosen814's picture
mrosen814

Right after the bagels come out of the water, sprinkle or dip the bagel in seeds.  I tested onion last week with mixed results.  I chopped a fresh onion finely, and got out as much moisture as I could.  I then mixed the onion with a bit of canola oil and poppy seeds, and topped that on the boiled bagel.  After baking, the onions were a bit dark for me.  Will try to add the onions midway through baking next time.


 


bobm1's picture
bobm1

i made my first ever batch of bagels this morning. it was too easy.  i used the roll method. i'm curious about the pinch method. my hand are large and so the holes in my bagels were large. i tried wrapping just a few fingers and it was better. i've poured over much of the posts from the last few years looking for a proportion of malt powder to bath water to boil the bagels in. the first time i used 2/3c to 8c water. the result was very good. nice shine, good crunch to the crust. not exactly the flavor i'm shooting for but very acceptable. Most of you seem to be using malt syrup. can anyone recommend a ratio for powder to water?


thanks

KenK's picture
KenK

I only use a couple of tablespoons in about six cups of water.  I think my bagels are good but I never had the pleasure of an authentical NY bagel.  Considering the price of the malt powder; I don't really think it is that much (if any) improvement over brown sugar.  Both in the dough and in the boiling water.

bobm1's picture
bobm1

thanks for the input, KenK. these breads were such little fuss that i will surely experiment with every batch. it will be interesting to see which changes impact flavor the most, not to mention the other characteristics we look for in a 'good' bagel.


 

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

You might have better luck getting cheaper malt powder from a brew-your-own-beer shoppe who get it in bulk than a natural foods store or some such that sell it in pretty packaging. 


I can't recall, however, if there's an issue with that type of malt being diastatic or non... There was a thread on here in the last year where this point was discussed. 

bobm1's picture
bobm1

mrosen, i wanted to chime in bout the 'bumpy' crust. i honestly like the look and know that i've purchased similar looking bagels in bakeries. i'm curious if you've discovered if using the pinch instead of the roll was the cause. great looking bagels!