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Need Advice on Flour for Bagels

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GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Need Advice on Flour for Bagels

I've read several bagel recipes.  Most call for high gluten flour.  I'm almost out of Sir Lancelot, and I hate to order from KAF except when they have a free shipping deal.  I could just use KAF Bread Flour, or I could mix in some First Clear flour to up the protein level.  Seems like I saw a bagel recipe that called for a combination of flours that included First Clear, but now I can't find it.

So the question is: Should I hold off baking bagels until I get some Sir Lancelot, or should I just use Bread Flour, or should I mix in some First Clear?  All opinions welcome, especially opinions based on experience.  Thanks.

Glenn

 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne

Glenn,

 

I've used Gold Metal "Better For Bread" with good luck (see http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/20757/star-bagels).  It would be interesting to try a higher gluten flour sometime for fun.  I'm looking forward to see how your bagels turn out.  Please post your results.  The recipe that I used was from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.

 

Dwayne

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

I would just use bread flour, realizing that the bagels would be less chewy but still good.

First clear has high protein, but I'm not sure that the quality of the gluten is reflected by the protein percentage. Also, it has a distinctive flavor.

If I were you, however, I might either order some flour from Stan or call Nicky and see what CM has just over the bridge.

David

arlo's picture
arlo

I've made bagels with bread flour numerous times and still think they are highly edible. BUT if you really can't wait, then hold off so you end up making the product you really want.

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

A paragraph on bagels and high-gluten flour:

This is what Izzy Cohen says about a bagel he doesn't respect: "Where's the sugar?" He means it might as well be a doughnut.

Izzy, a baker for most of his seventy-eight years (and the inspiration for Izzy's New York Rye), is my bagel advisor. He shows up at the bakery almost every Saturday morning to make bagels, and there is no one I trust more on the subject.

"I've been through a bit of the hinterlands," he says. "I stop at places and I look at bagels. A lot of nothing passes for bagels. They're round. They have a hole."

There are many things that Izzy insists on when it comes to bagels. High-gluten flour might be the most important ingredient. "Without high-gluten," Izzy says darkly, "you can't make a bagel. One week I came to the bakery and walked out five minutes later–no high-gluten flour." And no bagels that week.

Source. Silverton, Nancy, and Laurie Ochoa. "Bagels." Nancy Silverton's breads from the La Brea Bakery: recipes for the connoisseur. New York: Villard Books, 1996. 220. Print.

polo's picture
polo

The sourdough bagel recipe that I use calls for bread flour and about 3% vital wheat gluten. They seem to come out very good.

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

Glutenin (what you get from added vital wheat gluten to bread flour) affects dough elasticity (i.e. stretch resistance). What you don't get from added vital wheat gluten is added gliadin, which affects dough extensibility (i.e. stretch promotion). 

Glutenin and gliadin are the yin and yang of dough quality: one balances the other. Distort the balance and you distort dough quality.

If you use (bread flour + vital wheat gluten) for bagels, you get added stretch resistance (added dough strength), which helps with bagel shaping. Result: bagels that hold their shape because of increased dough strength, but have a dense texture that lacks the chewy-quality of a well-made bagel. It's an adequate substitute (no, it really isn't, hence strikethough), especially if you don't have a high-gluten bread flour distributor, but it won't make a proper bagel. 

If you use (high-gluten flour), however, you get more glutenin (more stretch reisistance) and more gliadin (more stretch promotion), in balance. Result: proper bagels with both strength and chew.

</hair splitting> :D

ananda's picture
ananda

Just to explain that "gluten" is formed from the development of the insoluble proteins in wheat flour when mixed with water.

These insoluble proteins are indeed glutenin and gliadin.

VWG is the combination of the glutenin and gliadin fractions found in the flour.   It is not just the glutenin fraction.

Best wishes

Andy

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

I've checked before and found that VWG is pure glutenin, something or other about gliadin being destroyed in the extraction process.

I'm open to being corrected. 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Same question: your source for the information that VWG is pure glutenin? This is contrary to everything I've ever read anywhere; I suspect the source is tripping over their own feet, and I'd like to look for myself (especially when "gluten" and "glutenin" are spelled so similarly that a reference to one could morph into the other with just a typo, and when "spell check" programs garble meaning fairly frequently).

 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi thomaschacon75,

I found this, which is quite a good summary.

http://www.muehlenchemie.de/downloads-future-of-flour/FoF_Kap_18-9.pdf

It does indeed suggest that the drying process in creating VWG compromises the quality of the protein, and that it is the gliadin fraction most prone to damage.

The article readily acknowledges the complexity of the manufacturing process and other issues involved in the discussion.   However, I don't think it is as straightforward as you suggest: VWG = "pure glutenin".

Thanks for alerting me to this.   I was aware of VWG being extracted as wet gluten, but not that the drying process was so problematic.

I need to know these things, although have no personal use for the substance.   Horror of horrors, I'm not taken by bagels either!

Best wishes

Andy

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

I went through near-apoplectic fits a couple of years ago trying to prove to myself that (2-4% VWG + bread flour) was just as good high-gluten bread flour. I couldn't find a supplier for high-gluten, but really wanted great bagels. 

I played around with it for a couple of weeks using two types of VWG (Whole Foods bulk & Bob's Redmill), particularly with bagels and rye bread. Rye bread seemed to benefit some (better rise), but the bagels were just awful: the dense crumb you associate with mass-produced "artisan" bread products (like Panera Bread or those dense La Brea loaves at Costco that probably give poor Nancy Silverton nightmares). They were also very difficult to shape (I expected more resistance, but not to that much, having to rest multiple times to get a decent cylinder). The bagels made with high-gluten flour, however, were very good, easy to shape, and had a very nice crumb.

My conclusion (by no means definitive) after several batches was that (VWG + bread flour) was not a good substitute for high-gluten bread flour, so when I see posts that say, "Just add some VWG to bread flour; it's the same thing." I'm inclined to object.

I can't say I'm right on the subject (and rather wonder why, if they can extract one, they can't extract the other), but I encourage others to be apprehensive about any claim that (VWG + bread flour) is a suitable substitute for high-gluten bread flour. To me, it's like hearing "You can substitute Splenda for sugar!".

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi thomaschacon75,

The process is efficient at extracting both glutenin and gliadin as wet gluten.   It appears to be the drying process which is problematic and liable to damage the gliadin fraction.

I concur with your premise about high gluten flour, although others are entitled take a different view.   Were I to require a really strong flour, that is exactly what I would look for.   Adding VWG would not be a direction I would follow either.

Best wishes

Andy 

polo's picture
polo

My post did not say "just add some VWG to bread flour". I also did not mean to imply that it is the same thing as using high gluten flour. I am sorry if it came across that way. I merely stated that the recipe that I use to make sourdough bagels uses bread flour and about 2% VWG, and that my bagels seem (to me and my family anyway) to be very good. I am just a beginning sourdough baker and certainly don't pretend to know everything. 

I am sorry your bagels came out "just awful". I wish you more success in the future.

Here are mine.

Oh, I forgot. I also boil in a lye solution.

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

Sorry, those comments weren't directed at you or at anyone in particular.

I comment on this because the (VGW + bread flour) solution appears on most threads where people ask about high-gluten flour, and it's often mentioned as "the same" or equivalent.

I'd encourage anyone who loves bagels to try both and see if they can discern the difference. I think it's a dramatic difference.

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

You mean lye as in sodium hydroxide? Like for soap?

What's the purpose?

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I am not talking from experience, as I have not yet made bagels. When I do, I plan to use Lye at about a 1.5–2% solution by weight. From reading old, 100+ years, bakers' cookbooks, I am under the impression that a Lye bath was standard for bagels and for pretzels. The purpose, as I understand it is to hydrolyze the starch leading to a smooth, shiny and somewhat crisp crust.Hydrolysis is the process by which amylase breaks down the starch's amylose into maltose units. The lye treatment hydrolyzes amylose by breaking the circular amylose bond, attaching a hydrogen cation to one end, and a hydroxide anion to the other, resulting in maltose molecules.

Whether this is better than adding the sugar as malt syrup, honey, molasses, etc. to the boil, someone else will have to say.

cheers,

gary

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

I just use malt-syrup, which gives me the outer crust you describe, but if lye does the same thing, it might be the better solution. I have to drive half way across town to find malt syrup; that, and it's a sticky messy.

polo's picture
polo

http://www.amazon.com/Grade-Sodium-Hydroxide-Micro-Beads/dp/B001EDBEZM

 

This is where I got mine.

Sorry, I did not see your lye question before. I see it was answered.

ananda's picture
ananda

This article suggests VWG is 80% gluten, although I can't vouch for its academic rigour:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/281102-vital-wheat-gluten-protein

BW

Andy

varda's picture
varda

Glenn,  Aside from the technical aspects commented on above,  last time I baked bagels (a few weeks ago) I baked Hamelman's formula scaled to 600g flour using KABF with 12g VWG.   It was too chewy.   If I did it again I would add 6g VWG.   Other than the too chewiness the bagels were really good especially accompanied by smoked salmon and creamcheese.   And my guests were New Yorkers who were quite familiar with the real thing and they still looked pretty happy.  Best is the enemy of good or something like that.  -Varda

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I don't have Vital Wheat Gluten, nor do I plan to get any.  I prefer to just let the gluten from the flour do what it does.  

I checked my stash, and I have almost enough Sir Lancelot  flour for a dozen bagels.  So I'll just make up the difference with KAF Bread Flour.

I'll save the First Clear for Rye Breads.

Now I need to decide if I'm going to use Reinhart's formula or Stan Ginsburg's (Krakow Twisties).

Thanks.

Glenn

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

I have made them 4 times now using double batches...which my KA has handled well,  and they are wonderful. She has the amount of VWG to add if you need it. I did add it and find the bagels are wonderfully chewy and very easy to shape. The flavor is perfect too. I have used diastatic, and the non-diastatic and malt syrup in the batches and it all comes out very flavorful. You can't go wrong with these. See Wild Yeast 100% sourdough bagels. c

asicign's picture
asicign

I've tried a number of flours for bagels, and have settled on KA Sir Lancelot.  However, it's cost prohibitive if you order online.  After much searching, I found a wholesale distributor nearby and every once in a while I get a 50 lb bag.   I also like KASL for pizza dough, and a few other recipes I often make.  50 lbs seems like a lot, but it really isn't if you bake regularly.

Andy

 

 

 

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

Not only does it go fast, but if you pick it up at the distributor, you avoid shipping costs.

The last time I bought 50 lbs of Lancelot, I paid $26.

I doubt that would get me 5 lbs. direct from King Arthur. 

Here's their distributor list: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/distribution.html

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I used about 3/4 Sir Lancelot and 1/4 KAF Bread Flour.  The dough felt good...very stiff.  My back will also be stiff tomorrow from kneading it for about 18 minutes, and then mixing and kneading dough for cinnamon rolls (we're going to have at least two breakfasts tomorrow).  I ordered more Sir Lancelot from New York Bakers, so if this batch seems like it needs to be chewier, I can go with 100% high gluten flour next time.

More about all of this in my blog in coming days, of course.

Thanks again for all the advice, and the little VWG kerfuffle was fun, too.

Glenn

thomaschacon75's picture
thomaschacon75

You mixed bagel dough by hand? Are you Superman?

I just finished hand-mixing a 2x batch of simple white sandwich bread.

I was sweating more than I sweat on 60 mile bike ride!

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

It was a bit of an upper body workout to knead this dough, but not too bad.  The results are worth it.

I may get a mixer one day, but for now I can work off a slice of bagel making a dozen of them.

Glenn

BreadGoddess's picture
BreadGoddess

was challenging!  This is my first attempt at bagels and I don't have a mixer either. One day...

Won't find out how they turn out until tomorrow morning; getting ready to shape.

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

May the bagel gods smile upon you, BreadGoddess.

Glenn

cady's picture
cady

I could not find a source for high gluten flour at a reasonable price.  I made my own high gluten flour by mixing bread flour and gluten flour (note, you could also start with AP flour).  The trick is determining how much of each to mix.  You will need to know a couple of things about the flour and gluten flour and then do some fairly simple math.  You need to know the percent gluten in your bread flour, the gluten flour and your your final high gluten flour.  I use it all the time and have had great success. 

For the mathamaticians this would be an easy one.  For those who are not, try an old pharmacy trick called allegations.  There is a web page that does a good job of demonstrating allegations. 

http://www.pharmacy-tech-study.com/alligations.html

I tend to round out my numbers - accepting that my results are not absolutely precise.  While I would not do that in my pharmacy - this is bread.  I typically use bread flour that is approx 12%.  The wheat gluten flour I purchase is about 76% gluten.  I shoot for 14.5% gluten for my final dough.  That gives me the following values:

96.2% of the total flour weight is bread flour

3.78% of the total flour weight is gluten flour

I have also used the method to make bread flour from AP in a pinch.  If you are really concerned about precision, you can get the spec. sheets on most flours.  I requested the information from Gen. Mills.  But for me, I will live with the approximation.

Have fun. 

 

 

 

 

 

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

A couple of things--first, I've ordered All-Trumps from NYBakers; it makes great bagels.  It's a dollar less for a 5-lb. bag than Sir Lancelot.  I've bought artisan and high-extraction flours at Central Milling but never high-gluten flour.  And, second, I find that the food processor does a good job of developing that very firm, tight dough.  After a few minutes in my 6-qt. Kitchen Aid (the dough breaks off into sections and the hook just doesn't seem to grab all the dough), I divide the dough into half or thirds, depending on how many bagels I'm baking, and then combine all of it and knead by hand for a few minutes.  Also, for the first time, I allowed for bulk fermentation of about 45 minutes (Hamelman says an hour, but OK, I was in a hurry) before shaping and refrigerating the bagel dough.  It made a HUGE difference in dough texture and handling.  I degassed it just a little bit.  It was a fantastic, very malleable dough at that point, very easy to shape.  I rolled my 4-oz pieces into a "dogbone" as Ciril Hitz shows here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hwl2Ix939D0&playnext=1&list=PL1FB78DC517FE3E47 --only his dough is multigrain and mine is not.  I've looked at at least 3 or 4 recipes for bagels, and no one other than Hamelman ever suggested a bulk fermentation.   When I took them out to boil and bake the next morning, they were just right about a half hour after I removed them from the fridge, and they baked up beautifully.  Sorry I don't have time to post a picture; maybe later.

Hope that's helpful.  Happy bagel baking!

Joyful

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

I meant to say that, after about 5 or so minutes in the K.A. stand mixer, I then divide the dough into half or thirds and process each piece in the food processer (also a K.A.).  Then I combined the two or three sections and hand knead for a few minutes.  Hope that's clear.

Joyful

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks for the reply, Joyful.

The formula I used, a preview from Inside the Jewish Bakery, includes a bulk ferment.  It's linked in my blog post (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24754/holey-satisfactory-my-first-bagels#comment-181776).  I can't compare it to formulas that include no bulk ferment, but I found the texture of the dough to be very good for shaping.

As for Central Milling, I left a message for Nicky Giusto to see if they have a high gluten flour for bagels, but I haven't heard back. I'll let you know what he says.

Glenn

Ryan Sandler's picture
Ryan Sandler

I was under the impression that KAF Bread Flour is Sir Lancelot, packaged for retail, while Sir Galahad is what is sold on grocery shelves as KAF Unbleached All-Purpose.   In any event, I've made bagels with KAF Bread Flour and Stone-Buhr bread flour (also relatively high in gluten, I believe), and with a high-gluten flour from my local food co-op, and I can't say I could tell the difference.  All worked, all were quite good and chewy.  

asicign's picture
asicign

KA Bread Flour has a protein content of 12.7%, whereas Sir Lancelot has a protein content of 14.2%  You can find the bread flour at some retail outlets, but KASL in only available from the KA site, or from wholesale distributors.

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

In fact there is more difference between Sir Lancelot and KAF Bread Flour than there is between KAF All-Purpose and KAF Bread Flour.  Like the difference between a down pillow and memory foam (not that I've eaten either).

By the way, Sir Lancelot can also be ordered from the New York Bakers website (cheaper than on the KA web site, but not wholesale).

Glenn

HMerlitti's picture
HMerlitti

Go to the store and buy Gold Metal "Better For Bread"