Tag Archives: bagels

I made more bagels


So soon? Yes. Like I said, I just wasn’t up for brioche yet (flavor-wise, not baking-wise). Couple that with the fact that I had to revive some starter to mail to a fellow baker – something which I had said I was going to do several weeks ago, actually – and the fact that Friday, before I left the office, the kitchen was doing a cleaning and was giving away two pounds of high gluten flour. If that wasn’t a sign that I should be making bagels over the weekend, I don’t know what is.

I ended up doing the wild yeast starter version. My starter had revived beautifully – nicer than I had seen it do in some time, so I was especially excited. I subbed 5 cups of the active starter for the sponge and increased the yeast in the dough. I also did a 20 minute autolyse once all the flour had been incorporated in hopes of minimizing the kneading. I think it worked, though it’s hard to say because the high gluten flour changed the dough so much. It definitely made the dough more satin-y and pleasant to knead, in any case.

Though I followed the recipe exactly and weighed out the dough to portion it, I ended up with 14 bagels instead of 12! Not quite sure how that happened, it must have been the starter. Not that I’m complaining, just mentioning it. Also the bagels dried out a lot in the fridge. I just kind of draped plastic wrap over them, which is what I did the first time as well, but many of them had dried considerably. They rehydrated with the boil, so no apparent harm done – I’m just not sure if this was because of insufficient wrapping, the high gluten flour, my totally bizarre and unpredictable refrigerator, or a combination.

I did some onion bagels this time, which we loved – I just chopped fresh onion and tossed the pieces with olive oil. They wanted to roll off the bagels, so they required deliberate placement instead of random sprinkling.

I topped most of them with an “everything” mix of poppy seed, sesame seed, and kosher salt but also did a few with Aleppo pepper, just because it was out on the counter. The red color is really pretty:

It helps that we love spicy food.

So now I’m ready and excited for brioche. I’ve decided on the middle class brioche, because I’ll basically be making poor man’s for other breads to come, like casatiello and panetone, and because I don’t know what the heck I’d do with that much rich man’s brioche. I’m going to make rolls and split and freeze most of them for burger buns for summer grill-outs. It will be nice to have good bread on hand – I suspect that frozen homemade brioche is still tastier than most anything I can get in the nearby shops!

Two parting thoughts –
I made matzoh this weekend too. It turned out awesome. I really didn’t think it would be so easy and so delicious. We ate it all in one sitting without taking a single photo. It’s a great recipe to have in your repertoire because it is so quick, you can whip it up at the last minute and it will be better than the stale crackers you were contemplating eating.
Basically, you just combine 2 cups flour (I used all-purpose) and 1 cup of water along with a teaspoon or so of salt. Mix it, adding more flour if necessary, to make a dry-ish, manageable dough. Divide into four portions and roll each one out as thin as possible. Prick with a fork and toss one on to your baking stone in your well-preheated 500 degree oven. This sounds tricky, but it wasn’t – the dough is stiff enough to be transfered easily. Bake each portion for about 5 minutes, until it is bubbled up and well browned in areas.

We were at the grocery store yesterday and I happened to notice a display of yeast packets. They had regular, and rapid rise, and then they had “pizza crust yeast”. What? Why? Anyone know what makes this “pizza crust yeast” more appropriate for pizza than standard yeast, or is this just a really stupid marketing ploy?

The glory of the BBA bagels

Reinhart claims right in the intro to the recipe that this is a bagel “for the ages”, even while he hedges that for many, no actual, edible bagel comes close to one’s memory of a bagel. I didn’t grow up with bagels, unless you count those frozen Lender’s things, and though I live in the center of the bagel universe (bagelverse?) now, I LOVED these bagels. They were fun and easy to make and turned out amazing.

I began by mixing the ingredients. Note the presence of malt powder there in the background. I picked it up at Kalustyan’s. No specifics on the package to tell me whether or not it is diastatic malt, it went in nonetheless:

Plenty of others blogging the BBA challenge mention how stiff this dough is and that they didn’t want to jeopardize their mixers with it, so I took a page from their book and kneaded by hand. My husband and I switched off and we kneaded for about 25 minutes all in all — we both enjoy kneading and this is a very easy dough to handle. We listened to some klezmer to put us in a bagel mood and provide an up-tempo background to the kneading.
After a brief rest (for the dough, and for us), we divided it into 4 ounce portions, resulting in these cute little buns:

Then let those rest 20 minutes before shaping them into bagels. We used the poking/stretching method:

They don’t actually require a great deal of stretching to produce a nicely shaped bagel. Too much and you have a huge hole which makes spreading cream cheese a bit more challenging (well, if spreading cream cheese on a bagel can ever be considered challenging), too little and you’d just get a bagel-lump. Ours were mostly perfect except for one over-stretched one:

There’s something so satisfying about looking at a sheet of bagels you’ve made!
These need to proof for 20 more minutes and then it’s time for the float test. The bagels will need to float for their pre-bake boiling the next day, so the float test ensures they’ll survive the boil before they go into the fridge for their overnight retarding. I slipped the bagel into a bowl of room temperature water and it floated immediately:

Then into the fridge:

Good night, little bagels!
We were really excited to make them the next morning and instead of lazing around as we normally do on a Saturday morning, practically leaped out of bed. My husband went to the store for baking soda (for the boiling) and cream cheese, I started preheating the oven and boiling the water. Then, we boiled:

They become puffy and glossy and wonderful. This is really fun to do. We varied the boiling time for each batch, but it made no real difference that we could tell. Maybe because we just used regular bread flour and this would be more effective with the high gluten flour. In any case, if you’re boiling, definitely go with the one minute per side but don’t sweat it if it goes toward the two minute mark.
One trick that bears mentioning is to put the bagels in to the water with the flat side up, so that you boil the rounded top first. This way, when you flip them and transfer them back to the sheet for topping, you’ll end up with the risen side back on top and they will be a bit more attractive. You can kind of tell the difference in this photo – the ones on the left have their flat side up. Time to sprinkle on the toppings:

We topped with kosher salt, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds on three batches of three and then did three “everything”. I love onion bagels but we didn’t do any because we were mixing some scallions we had to use up into the cream cheese. Next time, definitely, though.
The short baking and cooling times make these ideal to have fresh for breakfast. We did end up giving ours an additional five minutes beyond Reinhart’s recommendation, though. Here they are, hot out of the oven. Are they gorgeous or what?

Split, showing the crumb:

We literally gorged ourselves on bagels that morning. They were just so good and we wanted to really relish them while they were fresh. The next morning, however, as we savored them at the airport in front of all the poor suckers who ate cruddy airport bagels, they were still really fresh and delicious. I had split and frozen the ones we didn’t eat before we left and they came through that beautifully, too – almost no loss of quality.

We will definitely, definitely make these again. In fact, I can’t wait to make them again. I think I might try the sourdough version this weekend. Brioche is up next and I’m just not sure I’m ready for a rich, buttery bread after four days of eating mostly unhealthy food while we were in San Antonio. But maybe I’m just making excuses to make more bagels.

Bagels are next

I live in the bagel capital of the country but I am so excited to make these bagels. I bought malt powder on my trip to Kalustyan’s last week but the local grocery store was out of bread flour (gasp! Come to think of it, I was probably the one who bought them out), so I’m stopping at Whole Foods this afternoon in hopes of finding not just bread flour but the high gluten bread flour Reinhart recommends.

What to top with? You’ll note the title of this blog – my tastes run almost 100% toward the savory side of things, so I’m leaning toward onion. I think my husband may have mentioned something about poppy seed, too.

I’m going to attempt making the dough Friday after work to make the bagels on Saturday. We are going out of town on Sunday and I want nothing more than to bring some homemade bagels, thick with cream cheese, with us to the airport and eat them slowly in front of the poor saps who are stuck with awful airport bagels.

For this first time around, I plan on following the basic recipe but I am very eager to make the sourdough version in the future. It is the only recipe I’ve ever seen which calls for 5 cups of starter, so its the perfect thing to make when you’ve refreshed and have more than you can store or give away.

Similarly, this go-round, time won’t allow me to make my own cream cheese, but I’d definitely like to. Anyone know where to find rennet and cheese cultures around NYC?