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.

Yippee's picture
Yippee

for misinforming you about not having to prove the bagels. I checked the blog post that I wrote over ten years ago; I proved the bagels but skipped the bulk fermentation to better preserve the bagel shape. So my response to your query should have been, "You don't need to bulk ferment.  Shape immediately after mixing." Sorry for any confusion that I might have caused. 

 

Now I am curious, did you bulk ferment? 

 

Yippee

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

craigborders0503's picture
craigborders0503

I've just finished a batch prior to the suggestions being submitted.

I will post pictures after the next batch is made this weekend.

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.

 

craigborders0503's picture
craigborders0503

I've finally gotten around to replying to this thread again. I'm about to bake with high gluten flour again.

My recipe thus far has been the following for half a dozen bagels (this includes the poolish ingredients (136g flour and water with 1/8 tsp of instant yeast):

Ingredients 

 Grams  

Bakers % 

Flour 

        469.0  

100% 

Water 

        274.0  

58% 

Malt 

             3.0  

1% 

Salt 

             8.5  

2% 

 

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. 

craigborders0503's picture
craigborders0503

Thanks for all the great recommendations y'all. I'm going to move forward with trying a biga instead of a poolish, but I want to run a detailed breakout of my process and bakers ratios to make sure it's not something else I do. The following ingredients will be for half a dozen bagels.

So I start with a poolish at 136 grams of high gluten flour and water, with 1/8 tsp of instant yeast. I let that sit in a bowl with a plate covering it overnight. Poolish looks good in the morning, so I don't have much issues there.

I then add the poolish to the mixing bowl where I add 138 grams of water and 3/8 tsp of instant yeast. I give it a little stir and then I add the remaining 333 grams of high gluten flour, 3 grams of malt powder, and 8.5 grams of fine sea salt.

I mix and kneed the dough usually via a kitchen aid mixer, but I have switched to doing it by hand recently. I kneed for a couple minutes till it pass the "window pane test". I then leave the boule to rest in the mixing bowl for a couple minutes.

What is next one of the three options (all three have yielded pretty much the same results):

1. I cover the boule and place it in the fridge overnight. The following morning I take out the bagels, divide, roll, & rest for 30 minutes.

2. I remove the boule, cut it into 6 pieces, and then roll the bagel shapes, and then let them rest for a couple of minutes before placing them in the fridge overnight.

3. I cover the boule and let it sit out in the kitchen for 2 hours, place it in the fridge for four hours, then take it out to be divided, rolled, rest, and then place back in the fridge to sit overnight.

 

After one of the following 3 options above, I take the bagels out of proofing to go straight to the boil. The boil includes malt syrup. I boil 30 seconds a side and then I place them on a rack to cool slightly before seeding them and/or placing them on the bagel boards before placing in the oven. They bake in the oven with a preheated fiberment d baking stone at 475 F. The stay on the bagel boards for 4 minutes, then flipped and baked in the oven for a remaining 12-14 minutes.

I love the taste, I'm just trying to work on presentation and consistency. Here are the following ingredients totals and bakers percentages. This does not include the instant yeast. The total includes what goes into the poolish.

 

Item Grams %
Flour        469.0100%
Water        274.058%
Malt             3.01%
Salt             8.52%