The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bagels are falling

ngolovin's picture
ngolovin

Bagels are falling

Hi All,

I am new to this forum.  I have recently started baking bagels, since you really can't get a good bagel in Indiana! (OK, this is probably open to arguement).  I originally had good luck with Peter Reinhart's formulation from his book, " The Breadbaker's Apprentice".  First few batches were perfect.  Now they seem to fall right after boiling.  The crust is the same, and the middle looks risen, but they are physically flat.  I am curious if anyone has a suggestion.  I pretty well follow the formulation in the book, and use King Arthur bread flour.  

Thanks,

Neal

jeremiahwasabullfrog's picture
jeremiahwasabullfrog

No definative answer  here, but two things to look at:

1 - it the weather has changed, or your starter/yeast, then you might be proofing for the same time but overdoing it. I would tend to underdo this rather than overdo it.

 

2 - maybe the protein content of your flour has changed a little, so that the flour is less thirsty. If the dough is too wet, it won't be as strong. So there might be something to play with there.

 

I would tend to look at your proofing time first. Most of us have a tendancy to overproof when we start.

 

All the best,

J

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

You need to underproof to avoid this, especially with bagels. As  jeremiahwasabullfrog says, it could be that now the weather's hotter, your proofing has gone further in the same amount of time. Be sure to proof based on the dough appearance and resilience, not based on the clock! Err on the side of underproofing.  Remember, you can always just boil and bake one test bagel to see how it does.

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

I have no solution to your problem, which I regret.   As a member of our group, I hope I am speaking for others when I ask you, please, to take whatever advice you get and report in to the rest of us about what seemed to work or not.  Meanwhile, you might be amused to know that in my area, where bagels are plentiful, one can purchased flat bagels, known as flagels.  I've no idea how they're made.  Maybe you invented them independently and serendipitously?  Flagels are a good 5" in diameter.  They seem to be made with the same amount of dough as a normal bagel.

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

No idea on why they're falling *now*, but it's likely overproofed dough. Did you change the temperature of your refrigerator, perhaps? Do you let them sit out on the counter for long? Tried going direct from refrigerator to water?

As for flour, you can't really make a "proper" bagel with KA bread flour. It's not strong enough. They'll turn out like those bready things they call "bagels" in the supermarket. You need hi-gluten bread flour for bagels. Their website lists distributors in Indiana. (Yes, you have to buy a 50 lb. bag!, unless you can find some at a bulk food store, which is unlikely. I've seen it at Whole Foods, but the price was ridiculous. Cheaper to buy 50 lbs. than 10 lbs at Whole Foods.)

[I use Hamelman's bagel recipe, which hasn't failed me yet.]

ngolovin's picture
ngolovin

Thomaschacon75,

First of all, thanks for the advice.  There does seem to be a consensus, here.  I have to admit, I am using the school of hard knocks approach here.  I have been shaping the bagels, then rising them overnight in the refridgerator.  I do take them out and let them come to room temp, while I get the water boiling (I also do alkalize the water with baking soda).  I am interested in the high gluten flour idea.  Any suggested web sites?  

N

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

On high gluten flour, note that you can also just buy vital wheat gluten (VWG), and add it to low or medium gluten flour. Since it is concentrated, you do not need to buy, store or use much, and shipping is cheaper in case you have to order it online. This also lets you go through your flour stock more quickly, so you are always using fresher flour.

I have been shaping the bagels, then rising them overnight in the refridgerator.  I do take them out and let them come to room temp, while I get the water boiling

You could try shortening the pre-fridge rest period, reducing the yeast amount, or shortening the time in the fridge or the de-chill phase after the fridge. I find that if my bagels proof to fully double their original size and if an indentation made with my finger does not rebound or rebounds only very very slowly, my bagels will be at risk of collapsing after boiling. But if the bagels don't proof to at least 1.5x the original size, they end up too dense. There seems to be a fine line.

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

King Arthur lists these distributors for Indiana. One or more of them will likely carry hi-gluten flour. It should be less than $30 for a 50/lb bag. The product you want is Sir Lancelot Hi-Gluten (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/Conventional-bakery-flours.html)

Dawn Food Products, Munster, IN , 800-333-3296
Dawn Food Products, New Albany, IN (Louisville, KY), 800-999-3296
Dutch Valley Food Distributors, Myerstown, PA, 717-933-4191
Tardella Foods , Chicago, IL, 773-889-8544
United Natural Foods , York. PA, 717-624-9002

I've never used baking soda in the water. Any idea what the alkalinity does?

ngolovin's picture
ngolovin

To all who responded,

I purchased a 3 lb bag of Sir Lancelot flour from KA, and baked a batch.  SUCCESS!  The bagels did not loose their shape.  I wish I had photos, but during the time I ran to get my camera, my kids ate the lot.  The bagels must have been OK!  I thank all of you who provided suggestions and guidance.  I did also reduce the rising time, and kept the bagels cold until I put them in the boiling water.  I truly appreciate all your help.