The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bagel blisters!

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Blue Moose Baker's picture
Blue Moose Baker

Bagel blisters!

Hello,


This post is follow-up to my earlier posts on bagel baking.  I now have much more success with my bagel baking.  I now produce much more rounded and delicious bagels thanks to the Reinhart recipe.  A question for the bagel experts out there, however, is how come my bagels develop blisters on thier crust?  Some sources I have read say that these blisters are a good sign, however, I spent some time observing the operations of a professional bagel bakery today, and I noticed that thier bagels have a perfectly smooth skin with no sign of blisters.  What could be causing these blisters on my bagels?  They aren't bad, they just aren't like I am used to in the shops.  Could the be caused by the preferment from the Reinhart recipe?  Or perhaps it is the fact that the only instant yeast I have access to is rapid rise?  I would appreciate any thoughts!


 


Skylar

Elagins's picture
Elagins

you'll find the same kinds of blisters on good sourdough loaves that have been allowed to develop over 2-3 days. most "professional bagel bakeries" use machines to form their bagels, don't retard the dough and use steam instead of boiling to develop the skin. unless your "pro" bagel bakery is very old school, i wouldn't hold them up as a model to be emulated.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

PS. would love to see some pics of your recent creations.

Blue Moose Baker's picture
Blue Moose Baker

Thank you Stan for your thoughts!  The bakery I visited was actually quite old school and boiled all of thier bagels before baking them on bagel boards in a large rotating hearth oven.  They did, however, have a machine for shaping the dough.  Also, the dough was shaped before being allowed to ferment overnight in the refridgerator. 


Skylar

verminiusrex's picture
verminiusrex

Blisters form when there are larger air pockets near the surface, which is common with hand formed loaves too.  The smooth bagels of the professionals may be due simply to the fact that the machines are able to distribute the gas more evenly throughout the bagel dough and keep it that way during both kneading and shaping.  So it's not a shortcoming, it just means that you are human and not a large piece of machinery.

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Yeah, big blisters are from air pockets near the surface, but tons of little blisters that almost look like pores on skin are, as Stan said, from extended fermentation.


Though some don't I must admit I love the blistery look.


 

sewcial's picture
sewcial

SKylar, you mentioned that the baker bakes the bagels on bagel boards. I have wondered what the bagel boards purpose was. I had done a search online and they appeared to be for proofing, rather than baking. 


Can you or anyone tell me the actual reason for using a bagel board and not a regular cookie sheet or other baking pan?


Catherine

Elagins's picture
Elagins

hi sewcial,

the purpose of bagel boards is to eliminate flat bottoms on bagels, and they're used in the actual baking. right after boiling, the bagels are put upside-down on the boards, which have been wet down, then the boards are put into the oven. after 3 minutes or so, the bottoms of the bagels (which are on top) have sprung and been set by the heat, while the moisture of the boards keeps the tops flexible. after the 3 minutes, the bagels get flipped onto the stone by rotating the board so that the tops can finish baking.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Just a quick note to express my appreciation of your contributions on the forums as a pro baker. Your knowledge is not something many of us would have access to otherwise.


Thanks to all contributors for an interesting thread.


Cheers
Ross

Elagins's picture
Elagins

i'm just an amateur like most of the rest of us ... after everything i've learned (and continue to learn) here, i'm glad i can give something back.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Whoops - I made an incorrect assumption based on your website link. Anyway, my comments stand, Stan, minus the "pro" part.


Cheers!
Ross

Elagins's picture
Elagins

i'm flattered that you put me in the major leagues!

Stan

sewcial's picture
sewcial

Thanks, Stan, So are the boards indented for the rounded shape of the bagels? If not, could I get the same result if I used a flat baking sheet with or without parchment and flipped the bagels after 3 minutes?  I can't afford all the fancy things when I won't be baking bagels every week.


(I just ordered the 15x20 stone from your site, along with some parchment, but was curious about the bagel boards).


Catherine

Elagins's picture
Elagins

hi Catherine,

first, thanks for your order. it will be going out today.

no, the bagel boards aren't indented at all. they're flat.

as for using a baking sheet, i can think of two potential problem areas. first, the dough might very well stick to the metal of the baking sheet, which could create both aesthetic and technical problems if you end up with heat-scarred bagels that won't come off the sheets (although to be fair, i have seen aluminum bagel flipping 'boards' for sale; i've never used them, though).

the second problem would be actually flipping the bagels while they're in the oven, since that usually involves rotating the boards as though you're flipping a pancake. if you can get clearance inside your oven, and manage to keep all the bagels on the stone, i don't see why you couldn't use the cookie sheet or some other similar pan.

finally, you could always try plain old 1x4 lumber, well-wetted down. it's less than an ideal solution, since the fiber mat on the regular boards both discourages sticking and absorbs more water so that the tops of the bagels stay moist and flexible while they're upside down, but if you're trying to save money, that's certainly one solution.

good luck and please keep us posted. i'd like to know how your bagels turn out.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

Boboshempy's picture
Boboshempy

Wow a wet 1x4 is a fantastic idea!  That would be fun to try.


 


Nick