Monday, April 23, 2007

bagels, take three

This time I tried a recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart (who also wrote that pizza book). This recipe uses a sponge to develop flavor and lets the shaped bagels proof overnight in the fridge. Not only does improve flavor and texture, but the bagels can be eaten fresh at breakfast, instead dinner. These bagels were a major improvement over the mini-bagels that I tried before. These were so wonderfully chewy, despite my lack of high-gluten flour (I used Halbweissmehl, at a measley 13g protein).

Here are a few things I learned:

  • MOST IMPORTANT: Bake the bagels immediately after boiling! The longer they sit, the heavier they are. If you need to bake in two batches, wait to boil the second batch until a couple minutes before you put them in the oven. Also, transfer boiled bagels directly to baking sheet without "draining" on a rack.
  • dust parchment with semolina flour before laying down the boiled bagels. This creates a more authentic look and texture.
  • do not use parchment paper a second time - it burns to a crisp, smoking up your kitchen and bagels
  • water - various recipes tell you to add various things to the boiling water (barley malt syrup, milk, molasses, etc.) but don't say why. This recipe suggests adding baking soda to alkalize the water, which creates more shine and crust caramelization. Baking soda is the best substitute for food-grade lye used by commercial bagel bakers for the same effect.
  • shaping - I used the rope method again, but this time rolled the rope around my hand and rocked the overlapped pieces against the counter to seal them, as suggested by the recipe. This made a perfect seal. But I still have some problems - where's the hole?
  • heat - this recipe starts bagels at 500F(260C) for 5 mins and drops to 450F(230C) for another 5 mins. Much hotter and much better than the mini-bagels. This gave a lovely golden crust and light, moist, chewy interior. Yea!
  • topping - after baking, I brushed the tops with melted butter and then sprinkled on cinnamon sugar (per the recipe). I found this made the crust rather soggy and sticky. Last time, I sprinkled sugar on the wet boiled bagels before baking, which made for a crisper crust. Much better.

I made these bagels for my last day of German class (I hope to start back up a few months after the baby comes). Although most of my fellow students were unfamiliar with bagels, the Cinnamon Sugar Bagels with Honey Cream Cheese were a big hit (I credit the high amount of sugar). My teacher has fond memories of eating bagels in NYC and liked mine so much, she ate one in class and took one home for later - the best compliment for this cook.

Someone else typed up the recipe so I don't have to. Check it out on Blossom to Stem. In this version, the ingredients have been halved from the original.


Astrid said...

I'd love to try your recipe whenever you find the time to write it up!

Astrid said...

Tanya, I found another post referring to this recipe on a blog called Blossom to Stem.

That way you don't have to type it up! (I'm assuming it's the same one).

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