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Bagel dough advice

Blue Moose Baker's picture
Blue Moose Baker

Bagel dough advice


I had my first go at making bagels today.  I used my KitchenAid stand mixer for the kneading.  When my dough was mixing, however, it seemed to be really very wet and sticky.  I decided to add more flour so the dough would clear the sides of the mixer bowl and only cling to the very base of the bowl as is customary of most doughs.  I used Gold Medal bread flour for the recipe and measured using the spoon and sweep method yielding just under 4.5 ounces weight per cup of flour.  Any thoughts as to why the recipe could produce a dough so wet?  It was a very wet day.  Should I have used a higher stregnth flour do you think, hence more absorbtion?  Or is this recipe just off the mark?  The recipe proportions are as follows.

1 Tbsp yeast

1 Tbsp sugar

1 3/4 cups warm water

4 cups bread flour


Some advice would be great!  Thanks!


verminiusrex's picture

My basic bagel recipe (made thousands of them for Farmer's Market) would look something like this converted to look more like your recipe.

3 1/4 cup (16 oz) bread flour (I use high gluten flour)

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons barley malt powder/brown sugar/whatever

1 teaspoon instant yeast

2 Tablespoons olive oil

8 oz water

If your mixer is having difficulty with the stiff dough, up the water by an ounce.  You don't want to knead a bunch of stiff dough in a KA mixer, it will destroy them.  I've done it twice.

Blue Moose Baker's picture
Blue Moose Baker

Thank you for the recipe.  Do you boil the bagels in any kind of malt solution or let them relax before/after shaping?  Also, when you say instant yeast do you mean rapid rise?  Fleischmann's claims that instant and rapid-rise yeasts are the same, but I am not so sure that's the case.  


Thanks for your help!

verminiusrex's picture

I don't add anything to my boil water, mostly because the barley malt syrup cost a chunk of money and I was baking 16 dozen bagels every friday.  It seemed like a waste of money to me since if I wanted to stick anything to the top I'd just use an egg wash.  

From what I understand all commercial yeast is the same strain, it's a matter of how many active yeast beasties per teaspoon or whatever.  Instant yeast has enough active cultures that it doesn't have to be jump started.  I get mine in a brick at Sam's Club (same place I get my 50 lb bags of high gluten flour).

mrfrost's picture

Even though you know the approximate mass of a cup of flour as you measured, you still need to know(or eventually figure out) how  the recipe originator measured their flour.

It is quite possible that the recipes creator scooped the flour in a method that resulted in a weight of well over 5.5 oz per cup. That could result in a difference over a "cup" of flour between the two measuring methods for the given recipe.

Erzsebet Gilbert's picture
Erzsebet Gilbert

Confession: I used to make bagels at least once a week when I first started baking - it was one of the first recipes I used - until one catastrophic night when the dough was so wet it fell apart in the boil!  Ever since I haven't trusted myself, which I know is silly.

Looking back, I think I was simply a bit off on my amounts, which might be the same for you.  I was using approximate cup measurements at the time, but since then I have gotten a kitchen scale to gauge precise grams or ounces, or milliliters, and I find that so much more marvelously exact.  

Maybe it's time I tried again... and good luck to you too!


p.s.  I put baking soda and sugar in my water.  And jam on my bagels!

JoPi's picture

I have never had bagels that fell apart. I have had them not rise. I have figured out that if your dough is too sticky, they will flop  after you boil them and not rise in the oven.  A stiff dough is better for bagels.