The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Holey Satisfactory: My First Bagels

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Holey Satisfactory: My First Bagels

Reel  BayGulls

 

That's my pictogram for the day.  It shows what I baked this morning: Real Bagels!

 

 

 

And they were goood!

It started with the croissants.  Several people asked me what’s next now that I’ve made croissants.  It got me to thinking about what’s missing from my repertoire.

I thought to myself, “Self!” [That’s what I call myself.] “Your life would be richer and more meaningful if you made bagels.  Real bagels, like you couldn’t eat if you didn’t have good teeth.”  [I do have good teeth.]  “Or are you afraid?” [I am not afraid.  I do have good teeth.]

So, after that cheeky challenge from my self, I had to bake real bagels. 

I wish I could say I grew up eating really great bagels, but in truth, my youth was bereft of such bagels except on occasion when our cousins in Tarzana brought bagfuls from Western Bagel in Van Nuys.  Later, when I started to travel to New York on business, I learned what it meant to eat a Real Old School Urban American Bagel.  This is what I hoped to bake.

I looked to my usual sources for guidance—Peter Reinhart, Jeffrey Hamelman, David Snyder.  I settled on the formula for Krakow Bagels from the soon-to-be-published “Inside the Jewish Bakery”, which David reported upon favorably (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18280/kraków-twisted-bagels).  This formula—which doubtless will make Stan and Norm’s fortune-- has been published in The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052748703794104575545843564259642-lMyQjAxMTAwMDEwMjExNDIyWj.html).  The market was up that day.

After consulting TFL as to flour choices given my depleted stash of high gluten flour (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24717/need-advice-flour-bagels), I decided to supplement the Sir Lancelot with some KAF Bread Flour; it ended up being about 75% Sir Lancelot.  I followed the formula, hand-mixing and then kneading, and kneading, and kneading the stiff dough… for about 18 minutes, ‘til it felt like it was ready and made a small window pane; and it threatened to make a small back pain too.

After dinner last night, my wife, Cat, and I divided the dough and shaped the pieces several ways—some rolled thin, then doubled and twisted per Stan and Norm’s directions; some just made into regular bagels.  The twisty ones were a challenge.  Cat made a couple that looked right, but mine were thin and too bracelety (my new word for the day).  They retarded overnight and were boiled in honey water, seeded and baked this morning. 

I have considered at length exactly how to describe the results, and have come up with the proper terminology:  Yummmmm!  These taste like, and have the texture of, Real Old School Urban American Bagels.  Right after half-cooling, they had a nice crunch to the crust, and it took a good tooth-grip and a serious tug to get a bite.  Good and chewy (even with only 75% high gluten flour).

They were delicious unadorned, and even better with cream cheese and kippered local King Salmon.

These bagels made a real meal.  And, of course, a real meal needs dessert.  So I also made some cinnamon roll sticky buns.

These were made using Floyd’s timeless recipe (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/2374/cinnamon-rolls), with the rolls laid on top of a layer of butter, cinnamon-brown sugar and pecan bits.  Awesome second breakfast!

My wife loves anything with cinnamon, sugar and nuts.  She said these cinnamon rolls came close to the ones she remembers from her junior high cafeteria, the ones that taunt her to this day.  That made me happy (I mean...if any cinnamon roll is going to taunt her, shouldn't it be mine?)

What made me even happier is she said the bagels were even better than the cinnamon rolls.  You have no idea how much she has to like these bagels to say that!

I guess bagels will be in my regular repertoire.

Glenn

Comments

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Shaping seeds all of it just fantastic all around!  I have a confession.  I've never made bagels!  Why?  Because I only had good bagles once..decades ago..from a hotel's bakery kitchen.  Also I have a fear of all those carbs...I've been told stories about how many carbs..do they really have that many?  Even better than cinnamon rolls, now that is inspirational : )  

Showing me and telling me those delicious and beautiful bagels is coming very close to getting me to bake up a batch.  You know Mike needs carbs.  Maybe after vacation's are over : )  

Nice rod.  Great photo shoot.  I love lake fishing.  Bagels make a nice take along meal.  

Sylvia 

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Sylvia--

Thanks for your comment.

There is no way a big bagel can have half the calories of a small cinnamon roll sticky bun.  There is no fat in a bagel.  It's just lean bread.  If you add cream cheese, that's a different story.  But just like putting nuts on a cinnamon roll, putting salmon on a bagel makes it a vehicle for protein and other good stuff.  So it's health food.

Also, having a WFO, you could make Montreal-style bagels which, I hear, are splendid.

Keep it reel.

Glenn

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I reelly did mean reel ;)  The Montreal bagel I have read is smaller, a little sweeter and denser, I like that..with cream cheese please!  I reelly like that they are baked in an oven with the fire and are a small bread type!  Makes things a lot easier.  I will have to check my local lumber yard for some applewood.  I like the smokey plank idea, I think it would be reelly nice to add a little apple smoked flavor!  I'm thinking these long planks are not only used for loading but flavor as well!  Looks like it'll be the end of Sept. before I can do any reelly serious baking.

I hope to see some more of your bagel baking soon!  They  'oops' reelly look so delicious!  You've inspired me!

Sylvia  

AW's picture
AW

Glenn,

Your post is an inspiration. I haven't made bagels since last winter. I miss the process, which is long but worth it. I'm going to have to select a Saturday and make it happen. But that is going to be difficult because I am fortunate to live in Chicago and I am only 45 minutes away from an authentic New York Jewish bakery in Skokie that is open 24 hours a day. :)

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

AW--

I live 20 minutes from Tartine Bakery, but I still love to make Country Bread at home.  The bagel-making was less time consuming than making a hearth bread.  Last evening it took about two hours for mixing, kneading, fermenting and shaping, and this morning it took about 90 minutes for boiling, seeding and baking.

Bake some bagels!

Thanks for the comment.

Glenn 

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Glenn,

Your bagels and cinnamon rolls do look very nice BUT I have to comment on your opening pictogram - that is clever!  Now my mind has something else to chew on....just what it needs late at night.....my kids will never forgive you :-)

I am waiting for cooler weather to make bagels.  Just too hot here to crank up the oven and a pot of boiling water at the same time but as soon as the temps. drop - I will give them a go -sans cinnamon rolls.  I am trying to set a good example for my children as to how healthy my bread is compared to local supermarket fare....cinnamon rolls walk a fine line.....even when made with honey.....one is never enough :-0

Take Care,

Janet

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

The problem is, as you say,

one is never enough

Indeed.  Tiny amounts of butter and sugar don't do so much damage.  It's the fact that they're soooo good--especially together--that we have a hard time eating tiny amounts.

As to the pictogram, [Tank]  [Ewe] for the kind comment.  I strive to be clever to keep up with those around me.

Glenn

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Great-looking bagels, Glenn.

Every time I make bagels, I wonder why I don't make them more often.

I made the Krakow bagels a week ago. Your nephew, Joel, who has had both NY and Montreal bagels, said they were more like NY bagels - less sweet and more chewy. Your great nieces both asked for seconds. Definitely a winner.

Cousin Richard, as generous as ever, offered to eat these bagels whenever I make them, Any time of day or night he'll make a house call.

David

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

It was your mention last week of your grand-daughters' appreciation of this bagel formula that convinced me it was the formula to try.  

As for Cousin Richard, the carboholic, he would cross town for a bad bagel (maybe even for hard tack).  I'm glad he liked them, but his endorsement is somewhat easy.

Thanks for the comment.

Glenn

Syd's picture
Syd

Love the pictogram, Glenn!  I was all confused at first, wondering what on earth these pics had to do with bread! I catch on rather slow sometimes; you, on the other hand, are an exceptionally fast learner.  It seems like everything you do a first time turns out superbly.  Nice baking.

Syd

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

It may seem like my first time efforts are often successful.  I could tell you about all my failures at trying new things.  That might be more entertaining, but not good for my self's esteem.

If I do have a "knack", it's because I read up on what I'm about to try, and use vicarious experience in place of my own experience.  It works pretty well.

Glenn

arlo's picture
arlo

Glenn, glad the bagels worked out well for you. With each post of yours, you seem to be getting better and better at baking. I have to agree with Syd, you seem to have a knack for this.

And to mention your brother amoung some of the greatest, what an honor. David was so humble I do not think he even mentioned it!

I looked to my usual sources for guidance—Peter Reinhart, Jeffrey Hamelman, David Snyder.

Anywho, the sticky rolls look delightful and would love one of those right now to go along with my homemade greek yogurt.

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

I think David probably feels perfectly comfortable to have his name aside Jeff's and Pete's on the list of bakers whose writings have helped me most.   Whether it's an honor or not, it has the virtue of being factually accurate.

I appreciate your comment about my getting better at baking.  It's not a straight trajectory, though.  I've been having difficulties lately properly shaping torpedo rolls...I guess it's projectile dysfunction.

Glenn

belfiore's picture
belfiore

I must learn not to take a drink of anything when reading your posts...it ends up a projectile without disfunction.

Toni

P.S. Once I wiped the screen down I could clearly see that the bagels & sweet rolls looked yummy!

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

No harm meant.

Thanks.

Glenn

ww's picture
ww

i just saw david's post (that sole fillet...) and now this. funnily enough, it's that shot of the cuppa with the half-eaten cinnamon bun that got me. Those layers and scrolls and what i imagine to be a most cinnamony taste... There must be a law somewhere that where there be a cinnamon bun, coffee lurks in the background.

betw the two of you, you should just go into the F&B line.  And if i dont mention the breads, it's a given that it looks most delicious.

 

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks for the comment, ww.

"...it's that shot of the cuppa with the half-eaten cinnamon bun that got me. 
Those layers and scrolls and what i imagine to be a most cinnamony taste."

 

I love good food photography, and once in a while I get an evocative shot.  If a photo leads the observer to imagine the smell or taste, that's a good shot.  While the classic bread pictures (loaves nicely arranged on an attractive surface; perfectly sliced crumb shot with full loaf in the background) may be pretty, the ones that grab me are the "action shots"...like a cinnamon roll with a bite out of it, next to a cappucino.  

Gotta get Google to work harder on that smellavision app.

Thanks for the comment.

Glenn



 

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne

Glenn,

 

I wish that my first attempt at Bagels were as good as yours!  It has been a few months since I've made them so these might go on my list.  I made their cousins last weekend (Bialys).  Thanks for sharing your experience.

 

Dwayne

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks for the comment, Dwayne.  

Here's a free tip to help experience bagel success.

Baking with my wife's help gives me new perspectives.  She likes to narrate events, and often gives imaginary life to inanimate objects.

Yesterday's process involved a certain zen aspect: "Be the Bagel".

It was a weekend at a very fine spa for the bagel family.  First, a very thorough deep massage, with the bagels--in a single mass of dough--experiencing oneness--as they became supple and warm and shiny under strong and loving hands.

Then they were divided and shaped, experiencing their individuality as each bagel personality took its unique form.

Then, after a quick and invigorating bath in honey-infused water, into the sauna to rise into their full splendid crispy chewy bagel-ness.

I could leave out the bagels' final chapter--being slathered with cream cheese and eaten by their spa technician--but that too provides a commentary on existence.

I hope this helps.

Glenn

 

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

What lovely bagels, Glenn.  Love the pictograms too!  As my husband, who spent his youth in the Lower East Side of N.Y., said after my first bagel effort:  "Ahhhhh!  A real New York bagel.  A mechiyah!" (which is akin to having your back scratched in just the right spot for as long as you like).  So, now I feel uneasy--OK, a little guilty--when there aren't any more bagels in the freezer.  (In that case, my husband consoles himself with Costco's giant, buttery croissants--NO, I don't make those.)  So we had a couple from the freezer this morning, and my husband of the sensitive palate said, they're a little overbaked.  Well, instead of being crushed, I tried, as is my custom, to figure it out (I even try to figure out where all that traffic on the 101 is going).  Aha!  Since I made a dozen that go-round, I figured that this morning's bagels were from the second bake, which came out significantly darker than the first batch.  I baked tham at 450 (a compromise between Hamelman and Glezer, spot on with Silverton--yup, I'm a recipe-reading junkie).   My solution would be either to shorten the baking time for the second half-dozen or to lower the temp to 425 and then watch carefully.

Next on my agenda is rye bread.  Just got a copy of Daniel Leader's Local Breads (per recommendation of Norm).  Recipe-reading heaven!

Joyful

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Thanks for the nice comment, Joyful.

Funny you mention the traffic on 101.  I was reading your comment on my Blackberry while stuck in bad traffic in Petaluma.  I can tell you where they were going: nowhere fast.

Now that I've tried one bay-gull formula, I will need to try some others, including Hamelman's and Glezer's.  I recommend the formula from Inside the Jewish Bakery.

As to rye bread, I have only tried a couple formulas.  The one I like best is the Sour Rye from Greenstein, which Brother David has reported on (http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/9316/sour-rye-bread-george-greenstein039s-“secrets-jewish-baker”).  It was really great with homemade Pastrami.  A real deli rye.

Happy Baking!

Glenn

 

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Sounds like you were on your way to Central Milling, Glenn. (Petaluma and Rohnert Park traffic--don't get me started).  Thanks for reminding me about Greenstein's rye--I will pull out my copy and satisfy the rye cravings in this household (another mechiyah!).  I did check your posting about Krakow bagels and will give those a try next time around (the hoards are descending on us this coming weekend and I'm so glad to have those bagels up my sleeve . . . er, in the freezer).  I have heard that the Bay Area may be on the promotional tour map for Inside the Jewish Bakery come this fall.  I'm working on an appearance in "wine country" and hope that the dearth of good bagels in the Santa Rosa environs may bring out the masses.  I've been telling everyone I know about the book.  OK, I might even come to S.F. for a book talk!

On to rye--I guess now I have to learn how to make homemade pastrami (and to order the proper cut from Mollie Stone's).

Joyful

GSnyde's picture
GSnyde

Joyful, we stopped at Central Milling Friday on the way to Fort Bragg.  Picked up some White Rye and Artisan Bakers Craft.  Sunday was the return back to SF.  The traffic through Sonoma County added about 30 minutes to the trip.

You should definitely try the Krakow bagel formula; it's good even for regular-shaped bagels.

I spoke with Stan last week and a friend is arranging a book promo appearance in Santa Rosa.  I'm working on my local bookstore here in SF (maybe co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center).

Glenn

joyfulbaker's picture
joyfulbaker

Glenn, I'm "the friend" in Santa Rosa.  I don't have dates yet from Stan.  I have emailed both the JCC and the CJM about the book and the promo, so your input at the JCC and bookstore might just get the job done.  Message to follow.  

Joyful