Home Bread-Bakers v108.n014.8

Notes on Bagels

"Werner Gansz" <wwgansz@madriver.com>
Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:28:01 -0400
A few additional notes on the Bagel recipe I posted a couple of weeks 
ago. I just made the recipe again today and the bagels were terrific.

1.  I live in New England where the heated indoor winter air is 
extremely dry.  The flour I used was bought earlier this winter and 
was very dry.  The dough mixed per the recipe was firmer than when 
mixed in other seasons.  The only impact of that was that it took a 
bit of extra work to "seal" the two ends of the rolled dough when 
forming the bagel.  The firm dough makes great chewy bagels.  If you 
also live where the air is seasonally dry you might add an extra 1/8 
to 1/4 C cup extra water to make assembling the bagel easier but it 
is not necessary.

2. How do you knead a firm dough if your machine can't handle it or 
you don't have a machine?  Beat it with a stick!  Use a "French" 
rolling pin (no bearings or handles), or a clean baseball bat and 
whack the dough 100 times (make sure your counter surface can handle 
it).  Whack it hard 10 times, gather it together with a dough scraper 
and repeat 9 more times.  It's fun to take out your aggressions on a 
defenseless piece of dough.

3. The recipe called for All-Purpose flour with the addition of Vital 
Wheat Gluten.  I use King Arthur All-Purpose which is almost bread 
flour already. The added gluten dominates the texture so it really 
doesn't matter whether you use bread flour or a good quality all-purpose flour.

4. The posted recipe called for 2 Tb malt syrup in the boiling 
water.  I use a 6 quart pot full nearly to the brim to boil the 
bagels.  The recipe includes an egg wash after boiling.  Its only 
purpose is to glue the toppings on.  If you don't add toppings you 
don't need the egg wash.  The color will come out a beautiful dark 
reddish- brown anyway.  I tried Mike Avery's technique of letting the 
malt syrup in the boiling water be the glue that holds the toppings 
on but for some reason it didn't work for me.  Most of the seeds fell 
off as soon as I started to handle and slice the bagels. I've never 
had much luck getting seeds to stick to baked breads without an egg 
wash.  Any suggestions?