The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help needed - Bagels sticking in oven to parchment and also to baking stone

BBallMary's picture

Help needed - Bagels sticking in oven to parchment and also to baking stone

I made my first batch of bagels this morning using the Hamelman recipe from his Bread cookbook.  They turned out tasting great with proper texture and such but I did have some issues with sticking in the oven and am wondering how to get around this the next time I make them.

I had them in the fridge on half sheet pans sprinkled with semolina flour and had no issues there with sticking.  I boiled them the 45 seconds and then put them in the ice bath for 4 minutes.  After the ice bath, I drained them a bit with the slotted skimmer and then with my fingers placed them in the bowl to coat them with my toppings (some sesame seed, some poppy seed, and some sea salt).  All the toppings stuck great to the wet bagels.

I do not have the bagel boards Hamelman suggests so for the first batch I placed the bagels topping side down on a sheet of parchment paper (King Arthur brand) that was on my peel.  I then transferred the parchment with the bagels from the peel to my baking stone that was preheated in my oven to the 500 degrees (baking stone is the square one from King Arthur).  After 4 minutes you are supposed to flip the bagels.  Since I was not using boards, I was using tongs to flip them.  The bagels were sticking to the paper which was crumbling and I was creating a mess and was worried about destroying the bagels.  I quickly got my peel and transferred paper and bagels back onto the peel and flipped them with the tongs while out of the oven on my counter and also got rid of the parchment.  I put the bagels back in the oven onto the stone and all was well when time to take them out, as bottoms did not stick to stone.

For the second batch I decided to try and skip the parchment since had the sticking issue.  I did the same toppings and put the bagels topping side down on my peel and then put them onto my stone without paper.  After 4 minutes I wen to turn and almost all the bagels were stuck on my stone and I had a big mess this time - worse sticking than I had with the paper!  I used a metal turner and as able to unstick then so I could flip them.  Needless to say, this batch looked a lot worse than the first!

I can see the benefit of the boards now if they prevent sticking.  But I would rather not make them as not sure what type of wood to use.  So assuming not using boards, how can I prevent this mess I had?  Should I: 

1) dry/drain the bagels a bit after I top them on a couche before putting them top side down on peel (with or without parchment)?  Hamelman says nothing about draining though, but he uses boards.

2) lightly oil the parchment with a paper towel that has oil on it?

3) just make the bagel boards, but if I do what type of wood?  I cannot find redwood locally here in Michigan at lumber yard.

4)  get another couche and wet it and put that in 500 degree oven without the boards?  Then when time to flip, use my tongs and just remove the couche and finish the baking on the stone?  I assume the couche would not burn up/catch fire if wet first??!

My thought on first using the  parchment was so I did not get toppings all over my oven.  But since the parchment burns and crumbles at 500 degrees it may not be worth it.  If I had not taken everything out on my peel after 4 minutes to flip on my counter I may never have gotten the parchment out either in 1 piece because after 4 minutes it was already crumbly around the edges.  But since the bagels really stuck to my stone, not sure what to do!  I always just leave my stone in my oven.  It has darkened in spots but not totally black all over.  I have had it for a few years now and when baking bread I always have the bread on parchment to make transferring from peel easier.

Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks!


rcbaughn's picture

Yes that is way too hot for most parchment paper. I did the same thing with a french loaf the other day since I was lazy and didn't want to try to slide it directly onto my stone. Give them a go again but without parchment somehow. Maybe on a very very very very thin sheet pan so the stone still transfer maximum heat. I am no bagel expert, but I do have a good bit of experience with burning parchment up. LOL, true story. 

aloomis's picture

Paper burns at 451 deg farenheit.

MANNA's picture

I have not made Hams bagels from his book. I use a different recipe that I modified to my liking. I bulk ferment the dough overnite. Then scale and roll the bagels. I use some spray oil on half-sheet pans and then place the rolled bagels onto it. After about 20-30 min the bagels pass the float test. I then boil for around 30 seconds. Take them out and place them into bowl with toppings. Then I place back onto the sheet-pan topping side up that they just came off and right into the oven. They look and taste great. I sell them at the farmers market and everyone loves them.

mrosen814's picture

Your bagels look great!

I too am exploring the possibility of selling bagels at my local farmers' market. 

I usually shape the bagels night before, then into the fridge overnight. 

Is there an advantage to scaling and rolling bagels morning of? Is the dough harder to work with straight out of the fridge?

wally's picture

If you're baking them on a preheated stone there is really no need to flip them.  And I'd dispense with the parchment paper as well.  Just slide them directly onto the baking stone, seeded side up.


LindyD's picture

You've got great taste in bagels, Mary.  Mr. Hamelman's formula produces bagels as good (if not better) than most of the bagel shops in New York.  We love them and I just used the last of 50# of KAF Sir Lancelot, which I purchased solely for the Hamelman bagels.  

Do forget about flipping.  It really will make no difference.

On the other hand, I always use parchment in my 500F oven just to avoid seeds, etc. from scattering all over my stone and oven.  The parchment I use (purchased from Gordon Food Services) does not burn - it does turn brown, but that's not an issue.  

holds99's picture

FWIW.  I bake bagels on parchment lined heavy duty pains liberally sprinkled with semolina, not corn meal because corn meal scorches.  The semolina on the parchement surrounding the bagels will turn brown while baking, but not the semolina under the bagels.   Semolina acts as an insulator and keeps the bagels from scorching on the bottoms.  No need to flip them.  Hamelman recommends 500 deg. F.  I have found that lowering the temperature to 485 after 5 minutes, then to 475 after 10 minutes of initial baking helps eliminate any scorching.  Definitely use a baking stone in your oven when you bake; the stone absorbs a lot of the heat from lower heating element in your oven and distributes the heat more evenly over the bottom of the baking stone. If you don't want any excess semolina on the bottoms of the bagels after baking, simply brush any excess off with a stiff brush.


localgrace's picture

I had a similar problem when making preztels. They will stick to the parchment. So I spray the parchment with cooking spray. No problem.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

When I pulled them off, they took pieces of the Fibrament with them.

Bagels are fierce.

joyfulbaker's picture

I think the boards are used to create a bagel with a perfectly round silhouette when sliced.  No reason to flip, as others have pointed out, if you're not using the boards.  If you do use them, you're not wetting parchment paper and then re-wetting it.  I put the bagels on semolina-sprinkled parchment on a "peel" of sorts (a baking sheet without sides) that I use to slide the bagels, parchment and all, onto the preheated stone.  Not rocket science, and they're fine with a slightly flattened bottom.  As a matter of fact, they sit on the cutting board very nicely.  (To cut, I place my non-knife-holding hand on top and slice in a vertical manner.)

Love them bagels!