The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New York Bagels in Utah

Cherylann71's picture
Cherylann71

New York Bagels in Utah

I have been trying to make NY bagels in Utah.  I am getting closer.

i want to know what the proper Lye solution for boiling my bagels is.  I just used 1tsp  Lye per 1 quart water.  I felt they tasted soapy.

As well what is the best temperature in F and how long to cook.  I am using bagel boards and flipping after 4 mins.

I wonder if the altitude has any impact on temp and times.

 

 

Cherylann71's picture
Cherylann71

Rich Kai day, thanks.  I have been reading these.  I have these proofing in the fridge ready for boiling in about 2 hours.  I will use his Lye ratio.

any thoughts if our altitude has any impact? 

gerryp123's picture
gerryp123

I've also been trying to bake a "NY bagel" in the mountains of Western NC.  I think I'm nearly there.  Here is what I've learned (relative to your questions):

I'm a little wary of baking with lye.  I tried adding a bit of baking soda instead but it had little effect.  Finally was able to find some Barley Malt Syrup locally, and it made all the difference

Boiling time depends on how "puffy" your proofed bagels are.  Also depends on crust-crunch versus chewy interior.  Cooking time (for me) is a boil of about 45 sec per side, followed by an oven-bake for at 450F until exterior turns a medium brown.  I bake 8-12 bagels on a stone covered with parchment paper and a bit of corn-meal.  No sticking, no bottom burn!  Easy to make/use bagel boards, but not sure what it would add in a home-baking environment.

Hope this helps.

 

Cherylann71's picture
Cherylann71

Success...  I follow this receipe  https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1014445-baron-bagels  but I use lye in the boil water instead of the salt and baking soda.  It is the difference between almost there and there.  I boil for 1 minute each side, but the water is rolling so much that I don't know if being 1 minute each side meticulous matters to much.  I use 2200 grams of  water to 3 grams of Lye.  Anything more than that gets me awesome tasting pretzels that look like bagels.  They are hand rolled so I am working on my technique for uniformity.  But I grabbed some people in my neighborhood that have lived back east and when they tried them their eyes rolled to the back of their head.  

Consider the lye.  Once you dilute the crystals in the water is is no longer a toxic agent.  To make myself feel better I bought food grade Sodium Hydroxide.   

And I made the bagel boards and used them, however no real difference between the boards and pizza stone I used, except if the bagels are too wet they will stick on one side.  

I am curious about anyone who does a cold overnight proof how long to you wait before you toss the bagels into their bath?

gerryp123's picture
gerryp123

I am curious about anyone who does a cold overnight proof how long to you wait before you toss the bagels into their bath?

After hand-rolling I cold-ferment for at least 4 hours, and often overnight for a more intense flavor.  When ready to poach I toss the cold bagels directly from the refrigerator into the bath.

Also --- wondering what affect you see in final bagel as a result of adding lye to the bath?  Do you add Barley Malt Syrup as well?

Cherylann71's picture
Cherylann71

Thanks, I was wondering if it mattered about the temperature of the dough, I appreciate the feedback.  As for the bath, the only thing I add is the lye.  Just water and lye.  The lye makes it the bagel that I grew up with.  I knew the moment I tasted the first batch that this is what made East Coast bagels east coast.  They have chew, and a bit of crunch in places but the inside remains fluffy yet with good crumb.  I would say if the bagel has eluded you try it.

 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

"Also --- wondering what affect you see in final bagel as a result of adding lye to the bath?  Do you add Barley Malt Syrup as well?"

After arduous trials about a decade ago, I determined that barley malt syrup acts like an invert sugar, in that it absorbs moisture from the air leaving the bagel's surface slightly sticky. I do use it in the dough for its enzymes, but not in the boil.

Lye, on the other hand works perfectly in the boil with the following caveats:

  • Use much less lye than you would with pretzels. Pretzels are bathed in cold water, where chemical activity is slowed. I use a solution of 0.5% lye, i.e. 5g/L.  The OP reports good results at an even lower concentration, 0.14%, i.e. 1.4g/L.

  • Don't boil by the clock. Move as many bagels as will fit your pot directly from the refrigerator to the boil. Make sure none stick to the bottom. When they all float, turn them to ensure an even amber color, then remove them.

  • Use a noodle skimmer or something similar to scoop them out, dip in cool tap water and layout on seeded bagel boards. Bake.

  • The fresh water dip cools the surface for the baker's hands to handle the bagels.  It also dilutes the lye. Not a big deal to the home baker, but if you're a pro handling 100s of dozens of bagels with even a mild alkali, you hands will thank you.

  • Do not use aluminum! Use stainless steel or enamel ware. Lye eats aluminum for breakfast like I do those bagels.

gary

 

meb21's picture
meb21

Please try My bagels - no lye needed and they are fantastic! I only use lye for Philadelphia pretzels and IMO using lye results in a pretzel bagel. If you want authentic find barley malt syrup at your local health food grocery 

gerryp123's picture
gerryp123

Nice recipe and presentation.

As you know, bagels are very addictive -- not only to eat, but to keep tweaking the recipe, aiming for perfection.  I grew up in NYC, home of H&H and Ess-a-Bagel so I have a good goal to aim for.

My (latest) recipe is very much like yours except that I use a pre-ferment.  Adds another overnight to the process, but also adds flavor and improves the chew.  I bake on p-paper covered stone at about 475F, without the need for bagel-boards.  No sticking; no burning.  Also, I found that shaping the bagel from a rope of dough is better that enlarging a hole.  Prevents the elastic dough from contacting, and gives more of an old-time hand-shaped look.

Surprised that you stress a "boiling" waterbath instead of a gentle "almost-boil".  Want to just "wake up" the yeast so it can do its work in the oven, rather than possibly kill it with too high a water temp.

Interested to see your use of Vital Wheat Gluten.  I was planning to experiment with this and bring my protein from 12.7% (KABF)  up to ~14% (same as KA Lancelot pro flour), hoping to improve gluten development and bagel chew.   Also, what does the vegetable oil in your dough-recipe add to the final product?

I'll keep playing, and let you know.

Cherylann71's picture
Cherylann71

Meb21;

 

I have been wondering about the boil versus the simmer.  That makes sense.  I am going to simmer and not boil next time.  I understand the lye will kill an aluminium pot, but outside of that does the use of aluminium have any impact to your knowledge the taste, structure, etc on the bagel?

My flour is high gluten at 14.2%.  Though wondering about the impact of bleached and bromated flour on the bagels?

meb21's picture
meb21

In my experience the vital wheat gluten gives that characteristic thin crisp crust with a chewy interior. 

 

Regarding simmer vs boil - what has been your experience? In the past, if my bagels deflated during boiling it was because I overproofed or used too must yeast. My bagels "grow" much more in boiling water vs only simmering. 

meb21's picture
meb21

In my experience the vital wheat gluten gives that characteristic thin crisp crust with a chewy interior. 

 

Regarding simmer vs boil - what has been your experience? In the past, if my bagels deflated during boiling it was because I overproofed or used too must yeast. My bagels "grow" much more in boiling water vs only simmering. 

meb21's picture
meb21

Hi Cherylann, 

I may have to clarify my post because the hotter the water and more boiling the water, the greater the rise/puff in the bagels, so I would recommend boiling over simmering. 

Also, I don't use lye, because in my experience the bagels taste like pretzels and not like the authentic NY bagels I've had....I use barley malt syrup (or you can use honey or even plain water). 

I strongly encourage you to ditch the lye. 

I bake at 450 F (NOT convection) for about 20 minutes. 

I don't bake at an altitude that would require adjusting - I'm at about 350 ft above sea level and so I'm afraid I can't be of help in that area...

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

meb21 wrote:
I may have to clarify my post because the hotter the water and more boiling the water, the greater the rise/puff in the bagels, so I would recommend boiling over simmering.
Agreed.  Should be a rolling boil.

Quote:
Also, I don't use lye, because in my experience the bagels taste like pretzels and not like the authentic NY bagels I've had....I use barley malt syrup (or you can use honey or even plain water).
If your bagels taste like pretzels, you're using too strong a solution of lye. No more than ~5g per liter of water is enough to create the thin, crispy crust and the taste nuances of a bagel.

Any sugar, but especially an invert sugar such as malt or honey will cause the crust to absorb water and become soft.  I agree that plain water is good.

Quote:
I strongly encourage you to ditch the lye.
I strongly encourage the proper use of lye for its effect on the crust.

I will add that if I want pretzels for sandwiches, I will make bagels and use a stronger lye solution in the boil.

g

meb21's picture
meb21

Interesting! I do use lye for my Philly soft pretzels and I love the taste that they impart and hadn't considered that I may have used too much for lye boiled  bagels.

That said, barley malt syrup really works great for me! I get a very crispy crust, which for me depends on duration of boiling as well as the gluten development and the use of higher protein flour. Perhaps it is the small percentage of barley malt syrup I use.

In Peter Reinharts Bread Bakers Apprentice, he does acknowledge the various add ins during the boil, which can include barley malt or lye and notes he also feels the crisp has more to do with the duration of the boil than the use of lye or anything else.  

I am an East coast native, and I have seen people swear that lye is needed for bagels, but I've had really good results without the lye. Thanks for the info though - these are my barley malt boiled bagels and they were deelish :) 

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

Too bad we don't have taste- and smell-o-vision. I'd be embarrassed to show mine as I don't make them that often any more and the muscle memory for rolling out, wrapping and joining the ends has deserted me. and when I think about the pro bagel makers who can do all that, by hand, at a 100 dozen an hour, I feel even worse.

It may be that the sugar in the bath for me may be the same problem you have with lye; too much. Malt, honey, molasses and any other invert sugars are hydrophilic; they try to absorb moisture, from the air if need be, to maintain about a 20% water weight. As a by-product, they are pretty much anti-bacterial. They suck the water right out of the little buggers. As an experiment, I've had a half cup of  (home made) invert sugar in a loosely capped mason jar on my kitchen counter for 3 or 4 years, now. It is still a pourable syrup, crystal clear and tasty.

g