There’s a first time for everything…

January 17, 2010

Today’s first: bagels. Sourdough bagels. With no added yeast. My first try with bagels, I decide to try a formula that I’ve come up with off the top of my head. Yes, I’ve read enough to know the very basics of what makes a good bagel, but, as you can see…

Had I kept them on a parchment sheet, they would’ve been fine…but I didn’t. I wanted to bake them on the stone. Without semolina. Without parchment. Plain bagels.

They stuck.

Four of the six at least look edible, but the other two were beyond help. This was really my second error. My first was letting them come to room temperature.

The one thing I did right, though: the taste is almost spot on. It’s exactly what you want a bagel to be like. While I plan on getting some malt powder to compare, I really don’t know if I’ll use it. The brown sugar seems to do a great job of getting color on them and the little bit in the dough is not really even noticeable, but seems to give the bagels a depth of flavor that a straight flour/yeast/salt/water dough wouldn’t have.

I plan on trying this exact formula again side by side with a less hydrated dough and see what happens. I also plan to boil right out of the fridge.

One other tidbit of information: if you don’t have a stronger mixer such as an Electrolux DLX or commercial-style stand mixer, just knead by hand. I have a KitchenAid Pro and my bowl liked to pop off the tab in back that holds it down on the mixer. I may look for a solution to that problem, but for now I plan on doing bagel doughs by hand. A KitchenAid without the bowl lift is going to be destroyed by this dough.

The formula, in case anyone wants a puffier, breadier bagel:

Sourdough Bagels (Bread-like)
Adapted from various sources

175g 75% hydration starter
375g bread flour
25g gluten flour
20g brown sugar
14g salt
200g water

Mix until you can’t mix anymore and then turn the dough out on a flat surface. Knead in all the flour, and then knead for at least 10-15 minutes. Your dough should feel just the slightest bit tacky, and not sticky at all. It should also be smooth, and all the flour should be incorporated into the dough.

Ferment until about 1.5 times original size. Took about 3 hours for me.

Divide your dough into your desired amount of bagels. I made 6. Shape bagels. I used the poke and stretch method. Put on a baking sheet and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning, remove the bagels from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and put a large pot of water on to boil. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the water. Drop bagels in the boiling water in groups of 3 or 4, giving about 30 seconds on each side. Drain well and place on parchment.

Bake on a stone or baking sheet for 20 or so minutes, until the bagels are golden brown and delicious.

Makes 6 good-sized or 12 mini bagels.

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