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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My Daily Bread – Redone.

January 5, 2010

Simple bread can have great flavor if you do it right. This, for me, is right. A long fermentation time, from final mix through final proof, gives the bread flavor. A very small amount of yeast facilitates that fermentation time. A scant one teaspoon of sea salt complements the flavor in the bread. A good bread flour gives the dough the strength it needs to withstand the long fermentation.

You can substitute a little whole wheat or rye flour for part of the bread flour for different flavor.

This bread has a crisp, crackling crust. It sang to me when I pulled it out of the oven. Note that my shaping skills need work. My putting the loaf in the oven a little before it was fully proofed was likely the culprit than shaping, though, this time.

Sent to Susan for Yeastspotting, hopefully one of two this week.

My Daily Bread
Influenced by various sources.

300g bread flour
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
scant 1 teaspoon salt
205g water

Fully mix bread flour, yeast, and salt. Add water, mixing with a spoon and then your hand until all the flour is moistened. Let stand 10 minutes.

After that 10 minutes, stretch and fold the dough in the bowl for 20-25 strokes, moving the bowl clockwise with your left hand while working the dough with your right (or the reverse if you’re left handed). Do this twice more before covering the dough and setting it in a relatively cold place for the night. Not your fridge, though, unless you want at least 24 hours before the dough is ready for the next step.

12 or so hours later, get the dough out of the bowl, degas, and do a French fold: stretch the dough out and fold it like a letter. I do this twice, once from side to side and then from top to bottom. Put it back in the bowl and ferment again until double. Shape as desired and proof, in a banneton, basket, or on parchment, until about double.

Your oven should be preheating at 425 degrees. If using a stone, preheat the oven for about 1/2 an hour. If not, preheat your oven for normal time. Place the dough on parchment if it isn’t already, slash it as you wish, and spray with water. Place in the oven, spraying both sides, and bake for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave for at least 10 more minutes, or until desired coloring is achieved. Cool before cutting.