Bagels - tried BBA recipe and have questions
Having had a very successful experience with boiled pretzels, I was convinced bagels were a walk in the park. The recipe in BBA seemed approachable enough -- doesn't take too long, doesn't require lye (I know...point of contention) and is ready to bake for breakfast. I had a mediocre experience, however, and am looking for pointers from those of you who have had great success making "true" bagels.
The good part: The dough was easy to mix up, the shaping instructions using classic wrap method were a piece of cake and everything looked just right. I even found malt syrup in my local Whole Foods. My only difficulty was the baking time. In the foreward to the recipe, Reinhardt says total baking time is 15-20 minutes, but in the recipe itself it only describes 5 minutes plus 5 more. I think this is a typo and the second, cooler baking time should be 15 minutes.
BUT...the real reason I am writing is to ask about the crumb and general texture/mouth feel. I found the outside to be pleasantly and acceptably chewy, but the inside was a bit to "bread-like" for me. The bagels were almost fluffy with a fair number of air holes inside. I am used to a denser, chewier crumb and a bit more flavor.
Is success with the chewy crumb better achieved using a starter instead of yeast? I suspect this would go a long way toward generating the right crumb. Is there anything else that I'm missing?
All pointers are appreciated and I'm looking forward to Bagels: Round 2