The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.


rossettidarling's picture



I am a bagel maker and have been making many batches over the last few months. I have perfected my recipe (which is derived from the Peter Reinhart) BUT THEY WILL NOT GET SHINY!! 


I have tried everything in the water I have ever hear suggested. Baking soda, BM syrup, honey, BM powder, salt, sugar and all combinations of above. 

They are a tiny, tiny bit shiny, but not like they should be. WHY?? 

The only suggestion I have never tried is food grade lye, I hesitate to do so, does anyone have experience using lye?

Could it be needs higher than 500 degrees baking temp. to achieve shine?


idaveindy's picture


gavinc's picture

I'm a bit frightened to use lye at home. Hamelman's bagels come out shiny. He uses a 3% malt syrup solution to boil the bagels for about 45 seconds until they float. I made these several times lately and love them. They are baked on pre-soaked bagel boards at 260C, with no steam. You flip them off the boards on the baking stone after about 4 minutes.

I have a blog entry about my first try: Bagels | The Fresh Loaf

I can post the formula and precis of the process if you want.




idaveindy's picture


When you get back, please let folks know your oven type/setup, and how you are baking them -- what country you are in (this is an international forum) and exactly what flour you are using. Also please state your formula, including both ingredients and procedures.

I'm pretty confident someone will jump in with the info that you need. But you first need to do your part... to provide more details on what exactly you have done, so that someone can see what step(s) you're missing. 

It _could_ be about a certain combination of ingredients, but it could also be about your oven and/or baking procedures.  Or even your boiling procedure. 

wally's picture

Do not use lye! Especially in a boiling water mixture. Honey or malt extract should suffice. Try boiling the bagels from 1-2 minutes per side. A 500 degree oven is the typical temp bagels are baked at for approx. 15-20 minutes. Steam is not used.