Bagel Crust not Quite There
So I'm out of the States for a year living abroad, and I was craving bagels so I decided to try my hand at making them. I am, however encountering a problem with the crust. Everything else about the bagel is good: chewy and dense, but the crust is just super soft. When I take them out of the oven and tap on the bagel the crust is hard, but after a couple minutes it becomes super soft such that I can poke it with a finger quite hard, the crust will indent like a pillow, and then rebound once I release my finger.
The bottom of the bagel, where it touches the pan, has the mot perfect crunch, but I cannot seem to get the desired crunch on the outside. The recipe I use is as follows, with variants in parentheses:
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- (1 tbs brown sugar)
- 4 qts water
- (2 tbs honey)
- (2 tbs brown sugar)
- (1.5 tbs baking soda, which got me pretzel like bagels)
- (Eggwhite with 1 tbs water)
- (White and Yolk with 1 tbs or 2 tbs water)
- (Yolk with 1 tbs or 2 tbs water)
I knead for 8-9 mins until I have a nice firm dough, then I let it rise for about an hour. I punch the dough down, let it rest for about 10 minutes. I then form them into balls, then into bagels using the poke method, then let them sit for about 10 minutes).
I then place them in the boiling water that I turn to a simmer. I like chewy bagels so I boil them for about 1.5 mins each side although I have tried: 30 seconds, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2min per side as well.
I eggwash, cover with toppings, place on a slightly oiled baking sheet in the middle rack and bake at 500 degrees for about 15 mins (rotating half way through). I've tried baking at 500 for 10 mins, then down to 425 for another 10; or 500 for 10 and then 450 for 10, etc. They come out with a hard/crispy crust but then become soft.
Im not looking for the crust of a rustic loaf, but the bagel crust should be quite firm and definitely not as soft as the ones I am producing. I'm so close but yet so far! I must have made about 8-10 batches with slight modifications.
One theory I have is that I am waiting too long after the bagels come out of the boil before they go in the oven. I make about 8 bagels at a time, but boil them 2-3 at a time, so by the time I boil them all, egg wash them, top them, and put them in the oven they've been out of the boil for up to 15 minutes.
In any event, thanks in advance for your help!