The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Overly crisp/hard bagels

mikewasinnyc's picture
mikewasinnyc

Overly crisp/hard bagels

I have just discovered how long it’s been since I last logged into this site ... how time flies in pandemics! Glad to be back in touch with the community.

My challenge right now is that I’m trying to make a good nyc-style bagel using Hamelman’s recipe, which I’m following closely (I even made bagel boards), and the crust is not coming out right. I’m using Giusto’s ultimate performer bread flour so not quite high-gluten, but the results have been satisfyingly chewy.

What has me stumped is that the bagels are coming out of the oven with a hard crust, and I can’t identify the cause. My oven is a bit of a nightmare-temp control is meaningless - but I’m using a baking steel + thermometer so I’m not wildly off. I can’t find anything about this on Google.

I also bake maurizio’s amazing seriously soft sourdough pretzels, and recently for the first time in years had these come out with a crispy crust, too. So maybe a connection?

Since travel to New York is out if the question for a while,I would be extremely grateful for help! Photo here is from my first try - second was a bit darker.

 

 

 

 

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

Gas oven?

mikewasinnyc's picture
mikewasinnyc

Hi Dave! It also vents pretty fast, but the bagel boards stay moist. I also boil the bagels for about 45 seconds

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

As I say, input + process = output.  So if the output has changed, then one or more of the inputs, and/or one or more of the processes must have changed. 

As Sherlock Holmes said, once you rule out the impossible, then at least one of whatever remains, no matter how improbable, is the answer.

Some off the wall possibilities:  

  • Did your water utility change the water source or water treatment?
  • Has the flakey oven's behavior become flakier? 

 

mikewasinnyc's picture
mikewasinnyc

Oven is a pain but no worse than usual. Water hasn’t changed either. But then, I’ve only done these 2x and both times had the same issue. I’ll see if baking for less time does the trick and perhaps take them off the bagel boards sooner. Could steam be the culprit?

wally's picture
wally

Try reducing your baking time. Also, there is no need to add steam which probably is contributing as well to the hard crust.