The Fresh Loaf

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Hard crust bagel problem

bigos's picture

Hard crust bagel problem

Hi there!

Yesterday I baked the first bagels in my life. I encountered one, and basically two problems.

First problem - never had a bagel. As a Pole, I was interested in their history and famous popularity in New York (and not only). I didn't know how American style bagels taste, smell. I decided to try. I used a recipe by J. Hammelman from the book "Bread". Everything went fine but there was a problem with the skin.It was very hard and very crispy. Too hard and too crispy. It's not about waiting for it to cool down - then it became very chewy. I have read about how chewiness is desired but not this way for sure.. 

I try to find a reason of that. There are a few things I suspect is causing a hard crust. Please for help.

1) Bagels was baked (as Hammelman suggests) in 260C/500F hot oven whole time (4min upside down on soaked wood, covered with wet cloth and 15 min seeds side up on pizza stone)

2) The oven was not steamed. Should it be?

3) I used dark barley malt in size of 0.5% flour weight. Im begginer with malt and I didn't think it through... 

4) I used pate fermente (as author suggests).

5) Flour I used - it's hard to answer clearly. Following the specification of flour markings in Poland and the research carried out on them, I think I used the flour with high gluten content and gluten index but I'm not sure I can trust supermarket flours. I'm still learning.