The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


Bruce J's picture
Bruce J


I am trying different bagel recipes and all have the same problem.  They expand nicely in the water bath but will contract far too much during baking.  I am assuming  the problem is a lack of gluten.  I am using King Arthur bread flour since I don't have access to high gluten flour.  Do you think adding vital wheat gluten to the bread flour will take care of the probmem.  Or am I barking up the wrong tree?

proth5's picture

that high gluten flour is required to make authentic bagels, but in a pinch I've used KA Bread flour and have not experienced any problems.  So I'm not sure it is the flour that is the culprit here.

You will probably need to be more descriptive as to your formula and technique (most likely your technique if this happens with different formulas) to get a good answer to your problem.

Hope this is at least somewhat helpful...

mini_maggie's picture

What are you doing for your water bath?  Boiling or just warm water?  How long?  Any added sugar? 

Are you maybe boiling too long?   How hot is the oven they're going into?  All will help figure out what's going on.

breadforfun's picture

It sounds like maybe your dough has insufficient development and the structure is collapsing during the bake when the gas formed in the dough when boiling dissipates. Tell us something about how you are preparing and mixing your dough.  Bread flour, which is probably around 12% g protein, should have sufficient gluten to form a bagel.  One thing that may be counterintuitive is that doughs made from high gluten flour actually need more kneading and dough development than those made with AP flour.  You'd think that since there was more gluten, you wouldn't have to work as hard, but the opposite is true.



jaywillie's picture

The very thing you mention has happened to me -- they look great after the boil, and then they just collapse flat when baked. (Still taste great, though!) I found I had to work longer with the high gluten flour to develop it better.