The Fresh Loaf

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Sourdough Bagels

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M2's picture
M2

Sourdough Bagels

Over the past week, I've tried two different recipes of sourdough bagels.  My next attempt will be the recipe shared by Ross ;)


My first attempt of SD bagel (recipe from Mike's sourdoughhome.com)



I've tried rolling the dough out and then rounded it up (see the one on the top left) but had a hard time keeping the same thickness.  So for the rest of the dough balls, I went for the "poke a hole" method. 



The dough must have underproofed as it NEVER floated to the top (I have them boiled for more than 2 minutes).  The bagels seemed to remain the same size after baking.  As I was feeling a bit disappointed, regret no more!  After the first bite, I was happy again!  Though it was a bit dense, the texture was very chewy.  I enjoyed it.


After reading David's post on BBA bagels, I decided to give Reinhart's SD bagel recipe a try.


 



 



I was unable to follow the time schedule to the exact.  They were supposed to proof for about 3 hours before going into the frige.  Well, I was busy watching Anthony Bourdain's show and had totally forgotten about them.  By the time I looked at them, it was 4 hours later and they seemed to have been overpoofed.  How do I know?  When I put them in the boiling water after 16 hours in the fridge, they didn't sink in the bottom at all.


I also baked them longer than the book says (10-12 minutes).  I think they were in the oven for about 17 minutes.




It has a slight sour taste, not as chewy and dense as my previous batch.  However, I like them both!


Michelle

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Well done, Michelle. Like me, you are evidently prepared to keep trying different recipes until you come across one that really does it for you. That's been my approach with bagels, breads, pizzas, hot cross buns, stollen, bananabread, even pancakes...virtually everything since this baking mania struck (almost a year ago now, in my case). As a result, I've tried many different techniques and doughs (especially with bread), and have learnt an enormous amount - far more than if I'd just stuck to a few recipes I liked. My interest is very much focused on SD, though, so that's where most of my experimenting has been directed.


It took me some tweaks to get my version of SD bagels just as I like them. Fine-tuning like that is well worth the effort, I think.


Aesthetically, your second batch of bagels were a dramatic improvement on the first! Congrats at making such rapid progress. The taste test is always the most important, though, as I'm sure you'll agree.


Really interested in how you find my recipe in comparison to the others. Please do post back once you've given them a go.


I far prefer the flavour of my SD bagels to Reinhart's dry yeast version - and I say that as a big Reinhart fan. I love his panettone, in particular, and most of his stuff I've tried, with the exception of his pizza, which I don't rate at all next to Varasano's SD pizza base... and his bagels, which I do think are nice - just not special. Whoa...pause for breath!


Anyway, best of baking and bageling to you!


Ross

M2's picture
M2

Thank you for your encouragement, Ross.  Yes, I love trying different recipes, though I haven't got the same repetorie as yours.  My "to-do" list (or shall I say wish list?) is pretty long, and I will keep trying one after another.  It is very generous of you to share your recipe (so as the other wonderful folks on TFL).  I'll report back once I have a chance to give it a try.


I was surprised to learn how difficult it is to shape the bagel the proper (?) way (roll out the dough and form the round).  They make the process so easy in the video!


Michelle

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hi Michelle


I've never bothered with that traditional shaping method. It's so easy just to make a slightly flattened disc of dough, work a skewer into the middle, wiggle it around so the hole become large enough to fit your index finger in, then make the hole the size you want! Probably too time-consuming commercially, but I've got it down pretty fast now.


Also, with my recipe there is only minimal kneading. And I've never had bagels that didn't float to the surface during the boiling period. I find 30 secs per side gives a great finished product.


Cheers
Ross

M2's picture
M2

And it still works?  I thought that kneading is to develop the strength of the dough...now you know that I'm really new in making bread!  I like kneading by hand just to get a feel of the dough, but kneading bagel dough is a real workout.  I surely don't mind trying this minimal kneading approach!


Michelle

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Have a look at the pics in my post here. That's as much proof as I can give you - but the only proof that counts is in the pudding, so to speak! If I could email you a sample to taste, I would!


As I wrote in my post, I've been doing my SD bagels virtually every week for almost a year. The minimal kneading as described is all that is required. The gluten and flavour develops during the bulk proof, which is extended by retarding the dough in the fridge overnight.


This is not a difficult recipe, and as stated, it's the best I've tried (don't forget, I have tweaked it multiple times to get it just as I like it...once you have tried it a couple of times, you'll probably want to do your own tweaks - unless your idea of a lovely bagel perfectly coincides with mine). The flavour of these bagels is second to none that I've tried, either commerically or home-baked (and I've tried Reinhart's recipe, also).


Cheers!
Ross


 

bnom's picture
bnom

I made bagels yesterday too. I followed the "Sourdough Bagel Revisited" posted on TFL.  I had the same problem you had, mine did not float.  They tasted fine, good chewy exture, so I wonder--how important is it that they float?  What's the impact if they're 20 seconds in the water or two minutes??  It is more important that they not boil too long or more important that they float?   


I'm usually pretty intuitive about bread but I'm finding bagels to be quite mysterious.  I've tried various bagel recipes the last few months (including Reinhardt and Bernard Clayton) and I've yet to come across one that makes me feel like the search is over.  So if you find one, do let us know!


 

M2's picture
M2

Are you interested in sourdough bagels only?  The recipe from "Sourdough bagel revisited" includes the use of yeast.  So if you are interested in bagels in general, there are lots of recipes to experiment!  (and lots of bagels to eat)  Keep trying, that's the fun part.  This is a great forum to share experiences.


Michelle


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Hi bnom,


Your questions about overboiling are answered in a recent post I did about Jeffrey Hamelman's bagel formula.


Two minutes is too long. About 45 seconds is good.  


Perhaps the Hamelman formula and method will end your search.  If you don't have Bread, your library can get a copy for you. 

M2's picture
M2

hmm...now I'm confused.  In your post, you said the bagel should pop right up and float in the boiling water.  However, I've read (eg. in Reinhart's book) that the bagel should sink first and then float after 10-15 seconds or so.  Does it really matter?  Pop right up or sink and then float?  Does sourdough bagel and yeast bagel make any differences?


I thought that my second batch of bagels were overproofed as they floated on top right away like an inflatable swim tube.


 


 


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD


In your post, you said the bagel should pop right up and float in the boiling water.  However, I've read (eg. in Reinhart's book) that the bagel should sink first and then float after 10-15 seconds or so.



Hi Michelle, if the above was directed to me, the bagels will naturally dip under the boiling water for a moment before popping to the surface.


Reinhart uses a preferment and his method is quite different from Hamlman's.


The Hamelman formula is straightforward:  mix, bulk ferment for an hour, divide and shape, then retard overnight.  The bagels are kept in the cooler until ready to give the yeast a wake-up call in the boiling water.

M2's picture
M2

So the bagels should sink first and then pop up.  Now at least I know what to expect when I put the bagels in the boiling water.  I've only tried Reinhart's sourdough version.  However, the bagels in your post look fantastic, I'll be interested in giving it a try in the future.  Yes, Hamelman's book is great.


Michelle


 

bnom's picture
bnom

Michelle, I'm not particular as to sourdough or regular. I'm actually fairly indifferent when it comes to bagels.  I don't find the increased carb/calorie count worth it (heresy I know). I make them for my husband's lunch, so a simple recipe would be good. 


Which lead's me to Hammelman's recipe.  LindyD, I'd actually bookmarked your post earlier today so that will be the next batch I try.

M2's picture
M2

Kudos to Ross for the sourdough bagel recipe, I finally gave it a try and the result was pretty good!  I had made a bad judgement by extending the baking time for two more minutes and the bagels ended up on the dry side (though my hubby and my friend didn't think so).  Note to myself: follow the original recipe on my first try ;)


The dough was very easy to work with after 3-4 hours of bulk fermentation.  It also released a fantastic "dough aroma".  I forgot to ask Ross if I should leave the bagels proof for a while before putting them in the fridge.  (I put them right in the fridge after shaping them) As a result, the bagels didn't seem to rise at all after over 12 hours of fridge time.  Before baking, I let the bagels came to room temperature first.  They swelled a bit after boiling, and then got a bit of over spring in the oven.




This is a recipe to keep.  Thanks again, Ross!


Michelle

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Thrilled at your acknowledgement, and so glad the recipe worked for you. Also, it's really nice to have someone else try a recipe I swear by and agree about the flavour, aroma etc.  Your bagels look fantastic!


My dough rises substantially during the bulk proof period, and although it does compress somewhat during the shaping, I don't proof them any longer once shaped - just bung them straight into the fridge. I find, like you, that they don't swell much during the retardation period.


I have tried allowing them to warm to room temperature while the oven heats up and letting them sit a much shorter time while the malt extract water boils - it doesn't seem to make any discernible difference to the final outcome, which is always excellent.


These babies seem very forgiving if you treat 'em right up to the retardation stage. Once I had them sitting in the fridge for almost 24 hours due to an electricity outage. The fridge was without power for the last 7 hours of this 24 hour period, and I had more or less written the bagels off as over-proofed beyond saving. They turned out just fine!


Re your perception of your bagels being a bit dry, it might come down to personal taste, or it might be that you need to tweak time in the oven and baking temperature. (NB: I turn my convection fan OFF).


I tried all sorts of baking strategies before I arrived at those you see in my post: starting off at higher temps and turning down as the baking progressed, baking at lower temps for a longer time, etc etc. My baking directions work perfectly for my oven, but given the inevitable variations in domestic ovens, you might find a slightly reduced baking time addresses your dryness issue. This is the beauty of applying personal tweaks - you end up with your ideal! I have to say, you must be pretty close to your perfect baking time going by the gorgeous colour of your bagels.


My attitude, though (like yours), is to assume the recipe provider has it right and go by the letter first time, THEN start applying your own tweaks. This strategy has stood me in good stead over time. My baking has stepped up a few notches since I got organised and started keeping notes each time I make a bread (or anything!).  I keep a now almost full exercise book with my sourdough recipes. Highly recommended if your memory is as lapse-prone as mine! No point tweaking if you don't record your results to refer to next time!


Best of baking to you, Michelle, and well done!


Ross

M2's picture
M2

Since my dough didn't rise substantially like yours, I was wondering if it has something to do with my starter. I did refresh it the day before...maybe it has passed the prime by the time I used it. OR...hmm...now is the confession...I did 4-5 times of stretch and fold instead of a couple times as per your instructions. Why? The dough didn't seem to be ready to move onto the bulk fermentation stage, so I gave it a few more S & F. Oh well.


Thank you so much for your complement. I still have a lot to work on. Glad to know that your recipe is very forgiving ;) For people who strive for sourness in their bread, I suggest that they give your recipe a try.


I toasted my bagel this morning for breakfast (yum) and made bagel sandwich for lunch (delicious). Your weekly treat is my special treat this week, thanks!


Michelle


 

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Hi Michelle


Yes, it's important to have your starter at its peak for this recipe. Use it when it is at full 'dome' - before it begins to subside. WIth my starter in my current ambient temperatures, that's about 8 hours after its last feed. Oh, and I make sure each time I feed my starter I add about double its weight in new feed, or a bit under that. You need to give the yeast enough to feed on to build themselves up to a healthy peak.


I've never kneaded my dough more than twice, 10 minutes apart, and pretty brief kneads at that (about 2-3mins). I don't stretch and fold this dough, by the way - too dry for that method to be effective. It's back to stock standard kneading for this one.


Also, my bagels are not sour at all! I don't actually like a very sour note to my breads, and certainly not to my bagels. That sourness you apparently got is an indication, I think, that your starter was underfed, or had gone too long without a feed. That's when starters develop real sourness in my experience, and I prefer to avoid that.


I reckon you should try the recipe again with a nice well-fed fully ripe starter and see how you go.


Best of baking to you!


Ross


 

M2's picture
M2

I really appreciate your feedback!  I'll definitely give it a try again.  Thanks so much. Happy Baking to you too!


Michelle

rossnroller's picture
rossnroller

Twas a pleasure, Michelle!