The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bagel making

jabby's picture
jabby

Bagel making

I am new to bread baking.  I live in SLC and there is only one decent bakery here and no decent bagel shops.  I first started with bagels and have evolved into making other breads. I have been usuing the BBA recipe for bagel making but I am not getting consistent results. The bagels have always tasted great but have looked funny (not round, bulges in places) and the last two batches have had the bagels coming apart, like an open ring instead of a closed circle.  I have been using the rope method to make the bagels instead of the finger through the center because it seems you get a more round homogenous bagel. Problem is, when I boil them, they come apart. Any ideas?


 


Also, my husband is a beer brewer so I always have a ready supply of diastatic malt. I've used it in all batches but I have noticed occassionally I get some bagels that have  a gummy area to the bagel. Could this be from the diastatic malt? BBA reccomends adding but Bread Bible says most flour already has diastatic malt in it and addition is not neccesary. Any experience?


 


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Welcome to TFL, Jen.


Are you using high-gluten flour for the bagels? HG flour makes a world of difference.


If the ends of your bagel are separating, it sounds as if you aren't sealing them sufficiently.  You need to roll the ends firmly.


Are you retarding the formed bagels overnight?  


Diastatic malt is not causing the gumminess.  I wonder if you're boiling them too long.  I use Hamelman's recipe for bagels (which does not use a sponge) and boil mine for the recommended 45 seconds, as compared to PR's recommended two to four minutes.    


The other major technique differences between the Hamelman and Reinhart recipes are that 1) the Hamelman recipe calls for placing the boiled bagels into ice water to cool them before baking, and 2)  the Hamelman bagels are baked at 500F and PR takes the oven temp down to 450.


You might try a shorter boiling time and a hotter oven....and if you're using bread flour, definitely give high gluten four a try.

jabby's picture
jabby

Thanks for the info.


 


Yes I am using HG flour and I really tried to crimp the ends and roll them aggressively in hopes they would stay together, no such luck.


 


The first time I made them I formed the bagels and let them retard overnight. The next day they had kind of spread out on the sheet pan to look more like a bialy. To avoid this problem I've been retarding the whole dough overnight and forming the bagels the day of baking. The bagels are rounder but not quite as chewy and the ends dont' seem to stick together.


 


I might have to go back to forming them the night before......

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Jen, are you using a scale to weigh the flour and water and staying true to the recipe (i.e. not adding water)?


I take it you are using a stand mixer to mix the dough (unless you're a pro wrestler and have really strong arms).


Bagel dough is a low hydration, very stiff dough and something is off if the bagels are spreading during the overnight retardation.  They shouldn't, nor should the ends separate if you're rolling them firmly.


Also, the bagels should go from the refrigator into the boiling water.  Leave them in the cooler until you're ready to boil them. 

jabby's picture
jabby

HI Lindy.


 


Yes I am using a mixer and  use I do weigh out the ingredients. I weigh the flour/water but not the yeast/salt or malt. I find those ingredients don't weigh enough to be accurate on my scale.


 


I will give the overnight retardation overnight with the formed bagels a try again but really pay attention to the percentages of my ingredients.


 


Thanks!

FaithHope's picture
FaithHope

I use the BBA for my bagels.  I have had great success with the punch a hole with your finger in the middle!  Works great!  The bagles turn out beautiful everytime!  I always have my oven on 500 with my stone on the lowest rack.  I boil mine for two min. and like how they come out chewy.


I do think that the water can't be at a hard boil, it' just at a barely rolling boil.


? Hope this helps.

wally's picture
wally

Jen-


I'm with Lindy on two points: properly sealing them and retarding overnight.


We make bagels where I work the day before: we mix and shape, proof and then retard overnight.  It improves flavor.  As far as sealing them goes, bagel dough is very touchy - a little too dry and you will not get a good seal; a little too wet and good luck rolling them out.  We recently switched from honey to malt in the water we boil them it, and have shortened the boiling time (more to Hamelman's prescription than Reinhart's).  The result is a bagel that is still chewy but has improved color and texture.


We do not use high-gluten flour which is commonly recommended.


My two suggestions would be to slightly increase your hydration and reduce the boiling time (around 30 seconds before turning them over).


Larry

jabby's picture
jabby

Thanks Larry.


 


In BBA, Peter makes the recommendation that boiling bagels longer achieves greater chewiness. This is why I've been hesitant to shorten the boiling time. I think the recurrent theme seems to be forming and retarding overnight. I've been retarding dough overnight and then forming the day of baking.


 


I'll go back to retarding formed bagels and see if that does the trick.


Thanks!


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Larry, if Jen's bagels spread out overnight and resemble a bialy the next day, wouldn't increasing the hydration cause more of an expansion of the dough?

wally's picture
wally

Hi Lindy,


I'm talking about a very small increase - just enough to make it easier to shape and seal the bagels.  This should not cause them to spread out - I certainly haven't had that happen.  I'm not really sure what would cause a bagel to end up looking like a bialy unless Jen is making really fat bagels with practically no hole in the center.  Then proofing might lead to that result.  But I don't believe increased hydration would be the cause.


Larry

aliao's picture
aliao

I have very good luck seperating the dough and forming the bagel into a ball. I let the dough ball rest for about 10 minutes then, I poke my thumb in the center and gently stretching the dough into a circle. Resting the bagel dough helps the gluten relax so you can get the uniform circle. You will never have to worry about an open ring bagel.

Yumarama's picture
Yumarama

I just dab a finger in a little bowl of water and dampen one end before I seal the ring together. Seems to do the trick. They then have all night to get "stuck" together. 

milwaukeecooking's picture
milwaukeecooking

Diastatic malt is like cocaine for yeast.  Use it sparingly.  D. malt is great for doughs that should be fairly slack.  Too much D. malt and your dough won't have proof well but they will have a great oven spring.  When I use D. malt I will use 0.1-0.2% of my flour weight.  The bread bible does mention malt powder but I think she uses it for flavor.  Liquid barley malt does not have active enzymes in it because it was cooked.  Diastatic has active amylase enzymes.  I hope this helps.  If you are interested check out my blog at Milwaukeecooking.blogspot.com