The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bagels taste bready??

TMStanton's picture

Bagels taste bready??

So that is my first attempt at bagels. I'm posting a new topic because I didn't use the BBA formula. I followed the one in my Baking and Pastry - I think its a text book.

Anyway - I used malt extract powder from a homebrew shop.

57% hydration and 1% dried malt extract

I mixed them on the KA (methode direct), let the dough rest for a few mins, forme and placed in fridge. I kept them in the fridge for about 3 hours before I boiled and baked them. The texture and color is just right - even if you can't see it in the picture, but the flavor isn't bagelly - it's bready.

Now I'm not looking for something I'd get off the corner in Brooklyn, but I was expecting some additional flavor.

Anyone have ideas? More time in the fridge? or a preferment?



LindyD's picture

Hi Tom,

Are you using unbleached, unbromated high-gluten flour (not bread flour)?

The bagels should be retarded overnight.  If you have access to it, try Jeffrey Hamelman's formula from his book, Bread

You'll wind up with a bagel that's equal or or better than what you'll find in Brooklyn.

TMStanton's picture

Hmmm... Thanks Lindy.

If I remember right - I used an unbleached organic all purpose that I found at Costco. It's a prety good flour in general - plenty of gluten for good heath breads - I think it's about +11% protein, but I'll have to check on the "unbromated" part. Is that the critical flavor piece?

LindyD's picture

Hi Tom,

Bagels require a high gluten flour which contains around 14 percent protein.  Your flour is the problem. 

All purpose is fine for breads and bread doughnuts, but not for an authentic NYC bagel.  King Arthur's Sir Lancelot label (14.2% protein) is the only unbleached, unbromated high-gluten flour I'm aware of.

I believe All Trumps sells high gluten flour under the Bouncer label, but it's bleached and bromated.  Their bromating agent is a known carcinogen.

I'm pretty much a bagel purist.  Here's the process I use.  You can find the formula in Bread through your local library if you don't have a copy.

Karen Guse's picture
Karen Guse

All trumps does have an unbleached unbromated high gluten flour, it's cheaper than King Arther if you can find it.

mrfrost's picture

You do probably need a flour with a protein conten a little higher than the 11% range, but if you don't want to order the High Gluten flour, the (usually)readily available KA Bread flour(12.7%) is a fine alternative for many.

Recently, Reinhart himself, in these very forums, says his recipe can yield as good a bagel as you are likely to buy in a shop, using bread flour. If you are following a recipe calling for HG flour, the key may be to cut back a little on the amount of water used, to maintain a good stiff dough.

Reinhart's tips here, for good bagels:

Also, General Mills sells multiple formulations of their All Trumps High Gluten flour. The unbleached, unbromated 14.2% All Trumps is available from

TMStanton's picture

Thanks all!

I'll have to check out some of those flour links - I like to keep $ / lb around $0.45 or else I feel like I lose the economies of scale involved in home-baking. Sure - it isn't always about economics - but I can't escape grad school. :)

I wouldn't have thought that the protein was the key for flavor. The texture of the thing is spot on - though perhaps the crumb isn't as chewy as it could be - but still well within tolerance. And they floated well and had decent oven spring as well - even without placing them on the hearth.

 I'll check our local co-op and see what they're selling their HG flours for these days.

Thanks again!



wally's picture

Echoing what's been said above.  11% is too low.  I use KA's Bread Flour which as mrfrost points out is 12.7% - on the low end of high gluten, but acceptable.  Second, as LindyD notes, they need overnight retardation - and prior to this, they should be proofed at room temp for around 1 hour after shaping before being retarded.  Next day, leave them in the fridge until you have your water boiling, then bring them out and allow them to stand at room temp for 5 - 10 minutes before boiling.

Here's what you get: