The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Retarding Bagels in Fridge? What am I doing wrong?

Boca Bagel Dude's picture
Boca Bagel Dude

Retarding Bagels in Fridge? What am I doing wrong?

Hy everyone, 


I need some help understanding what I am doing wrong with my bagels. I've gotten real good at making the dough, rolling into shape with ease but I cant figure out the proper way to retard them in the fridge. 

Here is what Ive tried and the results:

1. bagels on a bakers pan with parchment covered in plastic wrap -> Bagels boiled up somewhat flat and the dough was still somewhat moist/tacky before the boil.

2. bagels on a bakers pan with parchment uncovered-> Bagels dried out on top and boiled well but once baked the crust was hard on top and soft bottom. 

3. bagels in plastic box with cornmeal on bottom - > This was the method I did this week, I left the bagels in the box with lid on for 2 nights and when I grabbed the bagels out they were way over proofed and collapsed in my hand. Ended up tossing the bagels. I let the bagels rest on the counter for about 40 min before placing in the fridge. 


After 2 nights in the fridge with a lid on. 


Im using Peter R's recipe. Hopefully you all can make some suggestions. Im looking to understand the process better so my bagels can be handled without stretching out of shape when I pull out of the box. Maybe there is a process I am missing.

How do most people get the bagel out of the box and into the boil without ruining the shape of the bagel? I think that is the question.

JeremyCherfas's picture

This is not an answer only another question: why do you need to retard the bagels at all? Is it purely for timing reasons, or something else? I make sourdough bagels with almost no bulk and certainly no retard, and they shape up fine and taste great. Recipe based on the one here for St Viateur based bagels.

Boca Bagel Dude's picture
Boca Bagel Dude

Thanks for the reply. 

A lot of the recipes I read say that retarding the bagels gives the bagels more flavor and most suggest that I place in the fridge for 48 hours to retard and allow the flavor to build. 

Thanks for the recipe. I'll give it a try. 

BethJ's picture

I've encountered the "slack dough/boiling up flat" on occasion myself.  Typically this happens when I sub a very high ratio of un-fed starter for the flour/water called for in the recipe.  They still bake up fine for our purposes (eating), but are a little harder to handle. 

FYI I use a little rice flour on parchment (on a sheet pan) for proofing overnight - seems to help peeling them off when the dough gets too slack.

Your bagels look fab - you're much better at shaping them than I.

sunkool's picture

I had the same problem with the bread bakers apprentice recipe the first time I made them. Cold 40° water and mix time. Bagels need all the gluten development they can get. Add additional time to your kneading. I mix them on speed 2 for 15 minutes.

sunkool's picture

Also wanted to add:

Next time save the over proofed dough. It can be added to the next batch to add flavor, as long as it is not dried out. No different than using a preferment.