The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bagels and cold fermentation

eljardindelavida's picture

Bagels and cold fermentation

Hi all-

I'm new to the forum and looking for some help. I run a very small little bagel shop in Nicaragua. Seeing as how I'm the only person making bagels anywhere around they are very well received but I'm always looking for improvement. I've been reading a lot about cold fermenting my dough and have some questions about it.

My current process doesn't involve a cold ferment. My environment is not controlled and I do all my mixing and kneading by hand. I mix my dough (using strong flour) let it rise for an hour, punch down and rest for 10 minutes then shape, boil with baking soda and bake. Currently I bake in a small propane oven but we just finished our clay oven and I plan to move the baking there soon.

Everything I have been reading says to improve the flavor I should make the dough and shape the bagels and then refrigerate over night. I'd like to try this but I don't have the space in my fridge to store sheets of shaped bagels. I am wondering if I can refrigerate all the dough over night and then shape in the morning. This would work better for my schedule and work better for timing on the transition to the clay oven. If I were to bulk cold ferment the dough when would I refrigerate it? At the point that I would normally begin shaping the bagels?

Also, any advice on baking bagels in a clay oven would also be appreciated. Thanks so much!

andychrist's picture

You have a lot more experience baking bagels than I, so am hesitatant to offer advice, but: In my experience, there is difficulty in shaping bagels from cold dough and proofing them all within a timely fashion prior to boiling and baking. If I had to do that again, I'd roll out the bulk dough in sheets and refrigerate ASAP once kneading is finished. That way, once removed from refrigeration and spread out on counters, it may complete its first rise while warming back up to a temperature in which it can be handled and shaped into individual bagels, without as much danger of over-proofing. Though I'm sure any professional would recommend just making room in the refrigerator somehow for trays of pre-shaped bagels!

Hope someone more knowledgeable will chime in here because I am faced with the same problem, lack of room in the refrigerator for retarding bagel rise.

breadforfun's picture

I'll point you in the direction of another baker with limited storage space that has done just what you propose:

Although the recipe is for sourdough, you should be able to adapt it for commercial yeast.