The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bagels Do Not Retain Shape When Proofing (Retarding)

craigborders0503's picture
craigborders0503

Bagels Do Not Retain Shape When Proofing (Retarding)

I have been obsessively making NYC style bagels since April and I feel really close to achieving an a bagel that style of bagel perfectly. I use all the ingredients used in New York (high gluten flour, malt powder, malt syrup, salt) and I use pre-ferments (Poolish). I have the taste right, and the bagels look good enough in appearance.

This all said, I can't get the look of the bagel quite right. It's not quite as big in size of the bagels I've seen in the shop, and more importantly, I cannot seem to get that uniform, even shape that the hand-roll shops have.

The roadblock I encounter is in the proofing and retardation process. In all the NYC bagel shop videos I watch, I see bagels retain their shape that was formed in the handrolling process, no matter how long it is proofed. My bagels on the other hand continue to expand and somewhat flatten out when proofed. This doesn't affect me in having a delicious bagel to eat since I can just quickly re-roll it before boiling it in the kettle. That said, it doesn't look quite as presentable as the store bought NYC bagels, and I am striving for that end product.

Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong and how I can fix this?

Yippee's picture
Yippee

Boil them immediately after shaping, then bake.

If you must leave them in the fridge, put them in a very cold area so that they won't puff.

If you want to improve the flavor instantly without retarding or a pre-dough, use concentrated lactic acid sourdough (CLAS) in the dough.

Yippee

craigborders0503's picture
craigborders0503

Technically yes, I don't need to proof bagels in order to make them, but I do not care for the taste or texture of the crust when they are made that way. With certain flours or methods of building bagels, I also encounter blow outs when they bake if they were not proofed.

All bagel recipes I've read for NYC style, and all videos I've watch from NYC shops, have the shaped bagels proofing overnight in the refrigerator.

Brotkraft's picture
Brotkraft

Hi Craig,

I recommend two minor changes.  The first is to modify your recipe to use a biga (58% hydration) instead of a poolish (100% hydration). The poolish has high protease enzymatic activity, which makes dough more "slack".  The biga is more elastic in nature and will help retain your bagel dough's strength. 

Second, I would retard the dough not too long (15-20 minutes) after shaping. This gives the yeast just enough time to kickstart after the degassing during shaping without the risk of overprooving in the fridge.

There are various ways to go about bagels. I like to retard bagels overnight and boil them directly out of the fridge the next morning. Coating in a tray after the boil ensures a nice full coating. Then bake right away hot and dry.

I hope some of this is helpful to you.

Good luck!

craigborders0503's picture
craigborders0503

Thanks! I was thinking about switching to a biga, but I haven't tried it yet.

I'm proofing on the counter for about 30 minute already, although my latest batch sat out for two whole hours before putting it in the fridge.

Will let y'all know how they turn out!

craigborders0503's picture
craigborders0503

Are you using baking soda/lye, or malt?

Brotkraft's picture
Brotkraft

Hi Craig. I boil the bagels approximately 20 seconds each side in plain ole' water.  Adding malt syrup or honey or anything else to the water wouldn't negatively impact the bagel, though.   

Are you baking tomorrow morning? 

Regards, 

Stephen

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Have you verified that you are using the correct diastatic-OR-non-diastatic dry malt and malt syrup?

That always confuses me when I see a formula call for "malt" something, and they don't specify diastatic or non-diastatic.

Using diastatic when the author meant (but didn't specify) non-diastatic would cause over-fermentation, which looks like slack dough.

craigborders0503's picture
craigborders0503

Hey there!

I use diastatic malt powder. Prior to today, I have not included the malt syrup in the dough mixture, but rather put it in the kettle for the boil. The batch I am currently working on has both the malt powder and a diluted malt syrup (per recommendation of ThePerfectLoaf.com).

craigborders0503's picture
craigborders0503

Hey everyone, prior to taking up the recommended changes, here is a photo from my latest batch for reference. That way a before and after picture comparison can take place. These bagels were re-rolled after proofing in the fridge.

 

Re-rolled Bagel

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

My first thought is that the hydration is too high. To me that looks like 60-67%, maybe higher. Bagels should be in the 55-58% range.

Second, pre-ferment or not makes little to no difference, except that a sourdough leaven adds a bit of tang. If I pre-ferment, I do a poolish. Otherwise, I simply use IDY.

After the mix and knead, about 3 minutes each, let rest for 20 minutes for the yeast to get busy and the dough to relax a bit. Then shape and immediately move to the fridge.

The next morning, begin the boil directly from the fridge, seed and bake.

I add diastatic malt powder to the flour. I do not use malt extract in the boil, but rather lye at a 0.5% solution.

 

wally's picture
wally

Two thoughts: First, stop using poolish. Second, and relatedly, bagels should be mixed, fermented, shaped and then retarded for 12-24 hrs before baking (obviating the need for a preferment). And boiled after maybe 30 min. floor time out of fridge. Then baked. 

wally's picture
wally

Two thoughts: First, stop using poolish. Second, and relatedly, bagels should be mixed, fermented, shaped and then retarded for 12-24 hrs before baking (obviating the need for a preferment). And boiled after maybe 30 min. floor time out of fridge. Then baked.