April 5, 2021 - 10:17am
Hi there baking bagel community - I live in London - and have seen the craze for Courage Bagels online in LA - as a bagel enthusiast, would love to have a crack at these bagels at home. (No travelling due to the pandemic)
Any thoughts or tips on how to recreate this bagel? they look so different and crusty / chewy
Looks like a sourdough bread roll boiled...so Im guess high hydration and even a autolyse method...or perhaps a worked pizza dough boiled and baked?
Any thoughts? comments
all the best
I had not heard of them before, so I read a few articles. Sounds like they specialize in Montreal style bagels. Perhaps doing a google search would get you the recipe/technique you are hoping for. (And kudos to any eatery that was able to start up and thrive during CA severe lockdowns, quite a number have not fared nearly so well.)
Bagels are generally low hydration actually. Check out the recipe on The Perfect Loaf site.
It takes a pandemic with the loss of tastebud sensitivity to come up with a burnt bagel that tastes good. From California? A state with one of the highest infectious rates? Hmm. I like a bold bake but this is too much burnty for me. Seeds tend to get bitter when burned. "Courage" Antigen test.
Ok, kick my sweet little 'ol Lady butt now. -Mini
No, no - burnt seeds = bitter.
Still, perhaps better than when I tried to add some sesame seeds to a baguette and, only after I had it in the oven, did I realise that I had used the SOAP water spray bottle to wet the top of the loaf!
i’m obsessed with them too. been keeping an eye on their instagram and reading articles and all i’ve gathered is the following... yes, sourdough. no wood-fire, looks like a bank of old convection ovens. honey in water. though she calls her style california-montreal, there really doesn’t seem to to be any likeness to montreal style other than honey, 🤷♂️. i plan on going in may or june and hopefully gather some more intel.
yes - looks like a very robust pizza dough...high H20....possibly made with a pre ferment/starter...even a ciabatta boiled....then baked...yes they look so moorish...would love to try them...
these bagels are out of this world. Shatteringly crisp with an open crumb and chewy interior. I'm hopelessly addicted and venturing across town every other week to get my fix.
A bagel with an open crub? Lol. My dictionary is laughing.
Has anyone tried recreating this bagel? It's unlike anything I've had. BTW, it's not much like a Montreal bagel. I wouldn't try attempting it unless you've actually tasted it. It's this unique chewy hybrid of tasting like a bagel but having with an exterior that's crisp and crackly like a baguette.
interesting yes i live abroad so i haven't managed to try these amazing looking bagels IRL - but from a lot of photos it looks like a baguette hybrid pizza dough high h20 % with natural levain....slow cold fermentation? but how so crispy perhaps they are just cooked quite hard in a convection oven rather than a deck oven...need to have a play at home.
have you had any luck trying to recreate?
they are boiled, as are most bagels. they are high(ish) hydration, id guess 70%. they are baked on parchment lined sheet pans in an old oldschool convection oven. they are naturally leavened. don't know how long ferment. the proofed dough portions are stored in stacking pizza doughtrays. the dough portions are opened up by coating with flour, poking a hole and gently opening up the hole before dropping in the boiling water.
the natural fermentation, higher hydration and boiling are what I'd guess lead to the shattering delicate outer crust.
Excellent intel i think the trick is all in the shape and tension of the fermented dough. Thank you !
or in their case the lack of shape and tension. my observation is that these dough portions had minimal preshape and tension (unlike a portion of pizza dough ball) and were more just delicate pillowy blobs like foccacia dough. then doused in flour, a hole pinched in the middle and delicately opened, then dropped in the kettle.
Fantastic stuff - loving this! - it would make sense poaching gentle light fluffly clouds - need to experiment and visit courage once travel restrictions are lifted. do you think they rest a little before hit the water? or just hole and boiled?
they dough blobs were definitely rested/proofed. after the hole was formed there was no/minimal rest. cant remember for sure if it was stretch hole and immediately into water, or if they stretched out the whole tray and then plopped them in all at once, but either way, no measurable rest.
zooming in on those photos looks like a ciabatta dough so high h2o .... any sweetness in the bagel? or just straight up crunchy goodness?
i'd guess 70%. maybe up to 75%. but really doubt it was in ciabatta 80% range. no perceivable sweetness or fat, but somewhere i ready they used honey in their bagels. but in bagels, the sweetener (usually malt) is in the boiling and often but not always in the dough. if in the dough, i'd guess prob not more than 2%. the most striking part was their crunch/shatter and open holes, both not typical of bagels.
and while you're in the southland, rent a car and go to folks pizza in costa mesa. probably the best pizza i've ever had, and that's coming from a pizzeria owner that makes pretty great pizza.
Anyone make any headway on testing these? Or find more information on their process?
My boss is obsessed with us making these. She prefers higher hydration breads. I've been testing at 85% and as you can imagine, it's not going well. I've gotten some good flavor but they can't maintain much shape so they get thin.
I want to get back down to 75% I think. We make our pizza dough at 70% so I may boil that tomorrow just to see what the crumb looks like.
i played around a few months ago. need to try again now that i have a new pizza oven and my spiral mixer is working again.. don't remember the hydration i tried, but nothing too crazy. probably low 70's. also experimented with lye in the water and honey in the water. didn't make anything fantastic, just a lot of ok. just based on my own pizza dough experiments, i doubt it's much more than +/- 70%. i really should have payed attention to any observable color in the water and the time they boiled. i need to send someone to go spy.
what pizzeria do you work for?
Above 70% is very hard to work with but their holes are so big, so I do wonder. What flour(s) do you think they're using? Actually as a test this weekend, I tested boiling off some of our 70% pizza dough and I wasn't mad at it! It was pretty decent. We use Central Milling Artisan and Farmer's Ground Half White for our pizza.
Also what do you think they do to get that super shattery crust? That one is also stumping me.
I work at Talula's in Asbury Park NJ.
Maybe they baked it twice?
they're just baked once in those super oldschool convection ovens you see in the photos. it's a tiny kitchen always at max capacity. its everything to do with the gentle pillowy fermentation/proofing and just the right amount of boiling to gel the starches on the exterior of the dough, but not too much the turns it into leather, that forms the shattery crust. writing this out though, makes me want to try dusting them with corn or potato starch or superfine 00 flour instead of just "regular" flour for pre-boil. maybe the shatter is accentuated by a goating of starch ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
in the boiling water? Not enough to thicken it but just enough to make a super thin coating. What else? Slightly salted water? Malted water?
Yes no idea how the crust is formed … I think it’s all about a nice long ferment on the dough shaped into balls - poke - then let the dough relax again - poke / make the whole and straight into just simmering water? Then into a super hot convection oven. I also think these may have a natural levain which gives it the random holes…but it’s all todo with the way it’s shaped just before boiling so you don’t ruin those beautiful air bubbles - I also think dusting with 00 flour or even olive oil before going into the oven is a good idea.
I will have another shot at them and try and post some pictures. Can’t wait to crack the code … unfortunately I don’t have a natural starter so will try a poolish and really long bulk ferment prior to shaping. Wish me luck
Hi gang - so my first attempt at cracking the courage bagel formula
I made a
9pm: made a Poolish with organic bread flour and fresh yeast (tiny amount)
Let this go overnight.
Day 2 (morning time)
Mixed flour with poolish (mix of t55 and strong white bread flour), at around 70% hydration, 2%salt, and some malt extract syrup and Tiny more amount of yeast mixed well (it was a small amount) then mixed in about 1.8% of salt.
Bulked this at room temp and did a few coil folds (small amount of dough so it was a pain to do the folds) through the out the day then fridged the dough overnight. a good 20 hours i would say.
Dough i think may have over proved? it was nice and jiggly and good ferment. So shaped into balls and clothed. Then made a hole, rested / proved again / then strecthed the hole just before boiling in malt syrup - into a as hot at it goes domestic fan oven.
Results were great ..good flavour and chew and very light with a nice crust... but still not amazing shattering crust and crumb structure a little tight at such a high water content...perhaps over proved in the fridge?
I'm not sure yeast poolish can get same effect as a natural levain perhaps used in the courage bagel.
see pictures below any thoughts/comments/ideas/ get in touch! thank you.
nice! how was the crust? did you get a good shatter? fwiw, here are a couple observations of yours vs theirs...
pretty sure i've read they use honey, not malt. not sure if that's in the dough, the boil or both.
from my in-person observations, bagels went straight from proofed pillow -to- poking a hole and stretching it open -to- dropping in the kettle... no 2nd proof.
guessing time in the kettle is one of the keys to the shatter.
despite poolish instead of starter, you got nice open crumb and fermentation bubbles.
i keep meaning to test out another idea of adding some sort of starch to the water..
i need to go visit again and take way better notes and peek at they're recycling, or find a spy to watch and take notes.
Mine have a nice crust (blisters) but not that shattter like crust Courage seem to achieve..also my crumb seems to be quite small ''alveoli''.... I'm still convinced perhaps a natural levain would help.
Further points: The courage bagels seem to have semolina or cornmeal dusted over them (I assume pre boiling (you can see these flecks of grains in different photos) i will have a go at shaping into balls and then poking before boiling perhaps this gives tension when dropping into the water.
Would be interested to try with a rice starch or potato starch in the kettle but i don't think it would be that technical on the courage invention end. Credit to them they (Courage) have really found a new process in the food world which you just dont really see often!
gonna try my hand at it again this weekend. gonna try baking them in my pizza oven. and it sounds like im gonna be in LA again oct 22. hopefully family wants to go there for 1st lunch. 'll try and peek at their flour stack and/or recycling, and better observe boil times etc.
i think i'll do 70% h20, 20% starter, same day bake.their bakery is tiny, i doubt they'd have the refrigeration to retard. maybe i'll retard some. and try a minimal boil... less than 30-60 sec max..
in reading your notes, i see you put your bulk in the fridge. putting the bulk in the fridge you usually end up with inconsistent fermentation... the outside cools off fast and goes to sleep, while the center takes forever to cool off resulting in over fermented as you stated you feared. i always bulk at room temp and then ball if pizza or put in bannetons if bread and cool everything as quickly as possible.
Any updates on replicating the Courage bagel at home?
Stiff starter, around 66% 4 hours off feed
70% hydro dough
mix harder than you would a country dough, smooth and elastic
fold twice in 30 minute intervals
bulk for an hour
final shape and proof 2-3 hours
generous amount of honey for poaching
2 minutes per side
bake @ 450 high fan
Boom… courage bagel
Thank you for this advice i must give this a go.
Furthermore...have you actually made this IRL? My main concern is retarding the final shape (i assume you ball the dough?) overnight - surely they would just spread into flat pizza doughs..making it impossible to shape into a bagel before boiling the next day?
And i don't understand the preshape and then final shape...as i think courage just ball the dough, then when it comes to boiling and baking they poke a hole and make the shape at this stage.
i haven't had any time to try it agian. but start things up again and give it a whirl.