The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bagel me this...

bakerboy's picture

Bagel me this...


So, here I sit...doing things a bit backwards...but that is what you get when you're a bit tired and attempt bagels the night before.

I read Floyd's Bagel wizardry and decided I'd give these puppies a spin.  As I am wont to do, I tried experimenting a bit without ever having attempted a non-experimental batch.

...ok, so I ended up "experimenting" because I didn't read far enough ahead while I was actually making the damned things.  In my defense--like I have to defend myself--it was 2am.

My first experimentation (which was supposed to be my only experimentation) came by deciding to really let the sponge ferment for a good long while.  I wanted the bagels to have a deeper flavour, so I let the sponge sit for a good ten hours.  Just as the sponge was threatening to devour my kitchen, I proceeded with the final dough.  Aside from having to mount my sponge and defeat the beastie-yeasties in order to get the balance of the ingredients into the bowl, it was a beautiful dough by the time I was finished kneading.

I divided it into vaguely similarly sized pieces, then rolled them into vaguely similarly sized balls.  As instructed, I allowed them to sit for 20 minutes before, rather crudely, shoving my thumbs through the middle to create the "bagel".

Now, seeing as it was, by this time, around 1am, I neglected to note that I needed to let them rise, just a skosh.  I sprayed the sheet pans, laid them out, covered them with plastic wrap and chucked them in the fridge.

After I performed my nightly ablutions, just prior to shutting down for the evening, I gave the recipe a one final look-see.  Here's when I look-see'd that I should have been letting them rise a bit.  Oops. I sit, buns (bagels) in the (lightly warmed) oven, seeing if I can't get them to do that wee rise before I hurl them into boiling water...


Hmm...well...some seem to have risen pretty well.  Others seem to have spread beautifully...while, still others, seem to be dying a slow, painfully puck-like death.  But my motto is: don't just quake, boil and bake!

All right...that isn't my motto at all...but we've only just met and that's some deep, personal information.  I'll call that my bagel motto.  I have mottos for each of my baking adventures.  For instance, my doughnut motto is: don't sit there and cry, cut them and fry!

OK...I just made that up...but I think I've just discovered my blog brand.

The "bagels" are now re-retarding a bit...this is because I would like to be able to actually get them in the water (which is currently heating).  They aren't easy to handle (read: you can't pick them up) when they're room temperature/freshly risen (ish).

More bagel hell later...or...the afterbatch.






KipperCat's picture

So how did they turn out? Tasty jawbreakers? tasteless doorstops? more like doughnuts? all of the above with some great?

bakerboy's picture

Oh Kipper...they were nothing short of a debacle.  They were like a cross between a droopy donut...they looked more like cruellers...thought not in that pretty, frilly way.

 I suppose I'll try again...but I need to see a psychiatrist that handles baking relationships.  I will try again...dammit!

This time I'll actually follow the damned recipe!




I'm just a loaf oaf.

KipperCat's picture

Oh I'm sorry. It's horrible to put that much effort in to something, and have it turn out that way. If it's any consolation, many of us have been there. I think that a slightly stressed human mind can misread even the best written instructions.

Of course my latest catastrophe didn't involve a recipe at all. I decided to make a quick cornbread... then decided to add some sourdough to it... then decided to just it make a (wild) yeasted cornbread... to which I also added baking powder... than didn't let rise long enough because I wanted to eat dinner at some point... then started the bake in a cold oven which meant the dough started cooking before the baking powder activated at 350F...

Well, the end result is now in the freezer. I think it will make a very nice Thanksgiving stuffing.

What was I thinking? or perhaps more accurately - why wasn't I thinking?

scott lynch's picture
scott lynch

Yes, I'm sure we've all had a few, and they never come early in the process before the time is invested.  My most recent was having mixed, fermented, proofed, and shaped several beautiful epis.  They are of course quite fragile, so I had them on parchment.  As I turned to slide the peel into the oven, the slick parchment slid right off the peel and deposited the loaves face down.  I was baking in an outdoor oven, so they landed in the dirt. . . 

KipperCat's picture

I have fantasies about decorating a holiday table with epis.  Maybe I'll stick to a simpler shape...