Sunday, April 3, 2011

bagels.


This definitely isn't surprising, but these are definitely miles ahead of any store-bought plastic-wrapped bagels abandoned on supermarket shelves. These are the real deal. 

For starters, these bagels have so much depth and flavour to them. It's like a rustic french loaf, only in doughnut shape. Of course, this means that you can't just bang them out in one day. You gotta make the sponge, rest the dough in the refrigerator overnight yadda yadda yadda... But the good thing about bread is just letting it do its thing. Mix the dough and leave it alone. Full stop.


I like my bagels extra chewy, and my jaw got a good workout from these. Well, perhaps a little too chewy. You see, when I dropped in the bagels to boil, obviously the temperature would drop and the water was no longer at a boil anymore. In fact, it wasn't even a simmer! So back then I thought them I should boil them longer to make up for the temperature difference. And flipping the bagels with just one slotted skimmer isn't as easy as it sounds. And I lost track of time. You get the idea.

This recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible has an interesting addition of black pepper that I'm not sure I appreciate. For starters, black pepper studded bagels don't go so well with cream cheese and apricot jam, which is how I ate mine anyway. At least that's what I think. So if you're not a black pepper fan, leave it out.

P.S If you've not tried cream cheese and apricot jam together before, you have not lived yet!

Somehow, my bagels didn't appear as wrinkly or shriveled as other bakers'. Does anyone know why?

To me, the most fun part about baking bagels is seeing them grow from dense little mounds of pale dough to golden brown chubby rings.

The bad thing about bagels is that they have a short life span, so I suggest you freeze extras for later consumption right after they've cooled if you're not planning to eat them straight away. Oh yeah, split and toast them too. Always toast them!



Levy’s bagels
Adapted from The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
 via amateurgormet
Makes 5 bagels

Make the sponge
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 liquid cup plus 2 tbsp water at room temp
1 1/2 cups King Arthur high-gluten flour, or bread flour
In mixing bowl place the yeast, water and flour. Whisk about 2 minutes until smooth; scrape down the sides. Cover with plastic wrap.

Flour mixture
1 cup plus 3 Tbsp King Arthur high-gluten flour, or bread flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 Tbsp malt powder or barley malt syrup
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
In medium bowl, whisk 1 cup, the yeast, malt, sugar, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle flour mixture over the sponge - don't stir. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand 1-4 hours. **For best flavor, let ferment overnight in the fridge**

Mix the dough
Mix at low speed (#2 on Kitchen aid mixer) for a minute, then up speed to medium (#4) for 10 minutes. If the bread doesn’t pull away from bowl, add 2 tbsp flour. The dough should be very elastic and should jump back when pressed. Knead more flour if the dough is tacky. More flour will make a heavier, chewier bagel.

Let dough rise
Place dough in greased bowl and let it rise at 75 degrees for 1-2 hours, or till doubled. Deflate the dough. Give envelope turn and set back in container. Let it rest at least 4 hours, or overnight for most flavor.

Shape dough
Transfer dough to an unfloured counter. Cut into 5 equal pieces. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Shaping method #1
Draw up the sides of the dough into a ball.
Make a hole with index into center of the dough.
Stretch the hole to a 2 1/2 inch hole.

Shaping method #2
Roll the dough into 12-inch rope.
Make ring by overlapping the ends by 2 inches.
Press down and rolling the dough.
** Don't flour the counter when shaping bagels using rolling method or bagels will not be sticky enough to seal the ends**
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees 30 min before baking. Have the over shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone before preheating.

Boil the Bagels
Water Bath:
2 Tbps molasses
1 tsp baking soda
Bring large pot of water to boil. Stir in molasses and baking soda. Transfer the bagels one a t a time without crowding. If they are slightly underrisen, they may sink first but will rise to the surface. Boil for 30 seconds to 2 minutes on each side. Longer time will make a thicker crust. Remove the boiled bagels and place them on a parchment or on unfloured towel to drain.

Glaze bagels
Glaze:
two large eggs
1 tsp cold water
Whisk together egg whites and cold water. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and brush each bagel with glaze. Brush with a second coat of glaze and sprinkle toppings of your choice over the bagels.

Bake the Bagels
If using baking sheet, place directly on hot oven stone. Bake for 5 minutes, then lower the temp to 450, and bake for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and let them remain for 5 minutes. Then open the door and leave the bagels in the oven for five minutes.

Cool bagels
Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Bagels keep well at room temperature for a day in a paper bag.

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