The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Blisters on bagels

bencheng's picture

Blisters on bagels

I've been making bages using form Ciril Hitz's book formula. After I shaped the bagels I kept them in the refriggerator for about 15 - 20 hours depends on the day.

For some reason all the bagels have tiny blisters on the crust. I've done some research and people said that's because of extended fermentation, but I think the texture and density were about right and I don't believe they were kept in the fridge for too long.

Some said that this is common for hand rolled bagels, but if you have any ideas that I can make smooth crust bagels I'd love to know.






LindyD's picture

That's simply a characteristic of all breads that have been retarded overnight.  Not a thing wrong with it - I use Hamelman's formula, which is pretty much the same as Hitz, and all my bagels look like that.  I consider it the mark of a well shaped, properly retarded bagel.

If the appearance bothers you, I guess you could just bake them without retarding, but I don't think they will taste as good.  

You could also use sesame or poppy seeds on the tops.

mkelly27's picture

then everyone will want it.  Great looking Bagels, as said it is a characteristic of a well made product. 

mrfrost's picture

I have never observed blisters on my breads that were not retarded in the refrigerator. I have only retarded shaped breads a few times, but of those few, they had blisters every time. This was always with white breads where the blistering was noticeable.

I did once retard some whole wheat bagels that did not appear to have the blistering, but maybe whole wheat does something different, or the blistering is just not as apparent for some reason.

So I think the blistering may just be a fact of life for long, cool, fermented shaped breads. Maybe shaping and rising after the dough is retarded in bulk form will limit the blisters. Or maybe you might experiment to see how the length of time affects the blistering. Maybe try a shorter retarding period.

Otherwise, see if there may be some formulas you may like that don't prescribe the retarding process. It will be interesting to read what you ultimately find out, and maybe try.

Once, when I was just getting into baking(breads), I had no intention of retarding a recipe, but I used too little yeast, and maybe water that was a little to cool. The loaf was taking so long to rise(at a temp that was probably too cool) that I just decided to stick it in the fridge and finish later the next day. Well, the loaf baked up spectacular, but it was very nicely blistered all over. You can notice that it is the only loaf that has blisters in the Semolina Sandwich loaf thread(link below):

Good luck!

flournwater's picture

Me too.  I find "frog skin" on my bread when I've kept it under refrigeration for lengthy periods.  I've never experienced it with bagels but then I don't retard bagels as long as I do things like baguettes.

Your bagels look great, IMO.

Yumarama's picture

These little bubbly babies are called Birds' Eyes and, as already mentioned, are signs of a long retardation in a cooler. Why are they good to have? It's a visual cue that the bread was made with a patient hand and not rushed through the proofing process. This means there's most likely a lot of great developped flavour in that loaf or bun or bagel.

Darn nice bagels there, by the way. Also good to see you did the roll-a-rope method and not the poke-and-stretch. Gives a smoother surface to your very yummy looking treats. And the Birds Eyes are a very nice addition.

You should be right proud of these. I hope they tasted really great too!

Happy baking,



Karen Guse's picture
Karen Guse

What I do is bulk ferment over night then shape them cold in the morning, works great every time.

jombay's picture

"Bubbles on the crust, a result of retarding raw loaves at refrigeration temperatures, are well received in North America. In France, bubbles are considered a defect".

Quote from Raymond Calvel's The Taste of Bread.

I however, don't mind the blistering. To each their own.

flournwater's picture

Ah, yes; vive la France.  Célèbre pour la Renault Dauphine.

gary.turner's picture

Now that's hitting below the belt. :D

Sans parler de la beauté de la Citroen. (Courtesy Google translate. ;))



JustinB's picture

I love blistering. Makes me hungrrry just looking at it! Awesome looking bagels!

Frequent Flyer's picture
Frequent Flyer

I think the blisters occur on shaped loaves that are retarded.  I haven't seen this on retarded bulk dough and as mentioned above, I haven't seen this on whole wheat.  I like the look, but then, I'm not French.  :)

RoBStaR's picture

After the initial 1 hr rise after the final shaping, I then move the bagels into the fridge to retard for 15 hours. The next day I remove them and do I let them sit to acclimate to room temperature or boil right away? They were floating in the water right off the fridge, but somehow were a little bit flatter than my usual bagels. Any help is apprciated. Thank you.

Also, does anyone have a recipe for egg bagels?

My usual bagel, no refridgeration. 



Bagels after retardation of 15 hours.