I have to admit, I can’t get enough of the Kitchenaid and I keep finding excuses to use it but then again, I did pay an arm and a leg for it so I better get my money’s worth!
This time around, I made bagels from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It was my first time making bagels and I wasn’t really sure what to expect but they turned out to be quite simple to make, if a bit time consuming. I got started with the sponge at around 7pm and by 10:30pm, I was done shaping the bagels. I’m sure it would take someone that makes them regularly less time. I was lucky my husband helped me shape the balls and eventually the bagels. As a matter of fact, the neater looking ones were the ones he shaped. He made sure I knew!
The bagels were delicious! They tasted great and the texture, inside and out, were just how I like them. We’ve eaten more than half of them already and it’s not even noon yet! I love trying new things and these bagels did not disappoint. My only regret is not having made them sooner!
I made plain ones but next time I will try making cinnamon raisin ones and some with poppy or sesame seeds on top. Ah the possibilities!
Days to make:2
day 1: 2 hours sponge; 10 to 15 minutes mixing; 1 to 1 1/2 fermentation, shaping, and proofing
day 2: 10 minutes boiling; 15 to 20 minutes baking
1 teaspoon (.11 oz) instant yeast (rapid rise)
4 cups (18 oz) unbleached high gluten or bread flour
2 1/2 (20 oz) water, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon (.055 oz) instant yeast (rapid rise)
3 3/4 cups (17 oz) unbleached high gluten or bread flour
2 3/4 (.7 oz) salt
2 teaspoons (.33 oz) malt powder OR 1 tablespoon (.5 oz) dark or light malt syrup, honey or brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, rehydrated dried minced garlic or onions, or chopped fresh onions that been tossed in oil (optional)
1. 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 cupcake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the counter.
2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt, and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough.
3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). 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 windowpane test and register 77º to 81ºF. If the dough seems too 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.
4. Immediately divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired. From the pieces into rolls (balls).
5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.
6. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Proceed with one of the following shaping methods:
a) Poke a hole in a bowl of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter. The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thin and thick spots)
b) Roll out the dough into an 8 inch long rope. (This may require rolling part of the way and resting if the pieces are too elastic and snap back, in which case, allow them to rest of 3 minutes and then extend them again to bring to full length) Wrap the dough around the palm of your hand, between the thumb and forefinger, overlapping the ends by several inches. Press the overlapping ends on the counter with the palm of your hand, rocking back and forth to seal.
7. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pans. Mist the bagels very lightly with spray oil and slip each pan into a food grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 2o minutes.
8. 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 should be ready to be retarded when they float within 1o 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 refrigerated 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.
9. The following day (or when ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500ºF with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the better) and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer ready.
10. 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 time to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment lined pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. 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 a combination.
11. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180 degree rotation. If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the same shelf but still rotate 180 degrees. After the rotation, lower the oven temperature to 450ºF and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer.
12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.
I never said recipes from this book were short!
The windowpane test is simple, take a small piece of dough and gently stretch it, pull it and turn it to see if it will hold a paper thin translucent membrane. If the dough falls apart before it makes this windowpane, continue mixing for another minute or two and test again.
I woke up at around 8 am and by 9:30, we were eating warm bagels. I think my family is going to miss me when we finally move out!
I asked Matt I didn’t know why people didn’t bake things like this more often, after all, they tasted better than the bought stuff and it wasn’t difficult to make. He burst my bubble by pointing out how long I spent on the bagels from start to finish and that most people don’t have that kinda time. Hhhmmmm……maybe everyone should just quit work and stay home baking!