Bagel

Bagel

There is no comparison between home-made fresh bagel and store bought ones. This is a great recipe for chewy water bagel lovers. It takes time and effort, like all the other good things, but it definitely worth it.

Sponge
1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 ½ cups water, at room temperature

Dough

½ teaspoon instant yeast
3 ¾ cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 ¾ salt
2 teaspoon or 1 teaspoon malt powder-dark or light malt syrup, honey or brown sugar

To finish
1 teaspoon baking soda
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, re-hydrated dried minced garlic or onions, or chopped fresh onions that have been tossed in oil (optional)

  • To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cower the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubby. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.
  • To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl, add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Mix until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining ¾ cup floor to stiffen the dough.
  • Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes. The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all the ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the window pane test and register 77° to 81° F. If the dough seems to dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.
  • Immediately divide the dough into 4 ½ ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired. I divided into 20 pieces. Form the pieces into tight balls.
  • Cover the rolls with a damp tower and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Line sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Roll out each ball into an 8 inch long rope. Wrap the dough around the palm and back of your hand, between the thumb and forefinger overlapping the ends by several inches. Press overlapping end on the counter with the palm of your hand, rocking back and forth to seal.
  • Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches (5cm) apart on the pans. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
  • Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test.” Fill a small bowl with cool or room temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.
  • The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.
  • Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minute flip them over and boil for another minute. If you like chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2-minute per side.
  • While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you decided to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil.) If you want to top the bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water, you can use any of the suggestions in the ingredients list or combination. I make a seed and salt blend.
  • When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. After rotation, lower the oven setting to 450°F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer.
  • Remove the pans from the oven, and let the bagels colon a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

For cinnamon raisin bagels, increase the yeast in the final dough to 1 teaspoon and add 1tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the final dough. Rinse 2 cups of loosely packed raisins with warm water to wash off surface sugar, acid, and natural wild yeast. Add the raisins during the final 2 minutes of mixing. Proceed as directed, but do not top the bagels with any garnishes. When they come out of the oven and are still hot, you can brush the tops with melted butter and dip them in cinnamon sugar to create a cinnamon-sugar crust, if desired.

Source: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

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