The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My take on bagels

richawatt's picture

My take on bagels

Hi all, I would loke to post my take on bagels.  I have been trying time and time again to get what I thiink is the perfect bagel.  I have kept a log of all my attempts, and have narrowed it down to a couple key elements that have to be done to get the perfect bagel. Oh and sorry for my spelling...I just can't.....

1. First is hydration.  Using King Aurther bread flour I have found that 55 to 57 percent works well.  I have tried all three 55, 56, and 57, and they all have the same outcome, 57% is just a little easier to work with. 

2. Over-proofing...My first couple attempts failed miserably, they were way too big, kind of wrinkley after baking..just not the shiney tight crust I wanted. I use an overnight ferment in the chill box just like the BBA recomends, but if they look like they are the size you want after the bake even before you boil them then they are way over proofed. In my experiance I have found that they will be almost the same size in the morning then when I put them in the the prior night.  DON'T USE THE FLOAT TEST RECOMENDED BY THE BBA, THEY WILL KEEP PROOFING IN THE REFER AND BE TOO BIG WHEN YOU BOIL THEM.  I have actually had some take on water because of the open interior structure from proofing.

3. All that being said, I use less then 1% yeast. 

4. Go and get some malted barley will be rewarded with flavor. I got mine at whole foods. 

5. I used honey instead of sugar, I think it gives a better flavor and not only helps with color in the bake, but helps the very dry dough come together better, same with the malt syrup. 

6. Boiling water.  Less baking soda is better...more will give you a nice color, but it will taste just like a pretzle.  I use 24 cups of water with 2 tsp of soda, and a half cup of brown sugar...I was putting 2 tbsp of malted barley syrup in, but it's too expensive.  The brown sugar seems to work just as good at giving a nice flavor and color. 

7.  Use the rolling method of shaping, not the poking, you get a tighter skin and degass the dough if there is any in there.  You can see a vid on you-tube about shaping

All that being is my formula. 

55% hydration. Makes 6 bagels....I had to cut it in half because of how many batches I was making.

496g KA bread flour

272g water

9.92g salt

4.50g yeast

24.8g malted barley syrup

12.4g honey...I used a light amber honey, nice dark color and a rougher flavor

1tsp olive oil....sorry I didn't convert that to grams

-Mix dry...add COLD water, and let autolyse for 20 mins.  then add the honey, syrup, and oil and bring the dough together.  Turn it out to your work surface and cover with a towel. 

-After ten minutes divide to 4.5 oz portions and roll to a balls. cover and wait ten minutes. 

-roll and shape the bagels, and put them on a sheet pan lined with parchment and sprayed with oil.  cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight. 

-next morning, pre heat to 450, get water ready,  boil for 1 min each side, top and bake for around 20 mins rotating pan half way through.






LindyD's picture

Have you ever eaten a bagel made with high gluten flour and no sweetener in the mix?

Not sure if you had something to compare to.  I've tried the bread flour route and found great differences in the results when compared to high gluten flour.  Even the smell of the mixed dough is different.

That said - if you love your results, that's all that counts.

richawatt's picture

I just chop some onions really small and brown them in a dry saute pan or roast them in the oven.  you can do the same with the garlic but be carefull because it burns fast.


richawatt's picture

I have had bagels with the high gluten flour, and I agree they are very good, growing up in NY I am constantly trying to make mine taste how I remember.  I am excited to try making them with the high glutan, I just don't have any on hand