Friday, May 22, 2009
Bagels are done!
And they are even better than I had hoped. Everything about them came out perfect. I ended up making 4 salt, 2 sesame seed, 3 plain, and 3 cinnamon sugar. So far I've had one salt and it was amazingly good and chewy.
I started the dough last night and so far for all of my breads for this challenge I have been using General Mills All Trumps flour. I bought a 50 pound bag a few weeks ago for $15 from our local bakery supply store and I am really happy with the results I am getting.
These are chewy and soft at the same time. The crumb is perfect. I will never buy a bagel locally again! There's no point when I can make them this good at home.
Unfortunately I didn't take a whole lot of pictures of the mixing and shaping process because to be honest I am really proud with my results from the shaping. I chose the rope method and they look easily as good as any bagel I've ever seen.
I mixed them on low speed until I achieved a windowpane and to be honest I was a little worried because my dough temp was almost 90 F. But I just went with it. Using the total weight of the ingredients I determined that there was a total of 56 ounces of dough, so I divided each portion into 4.75 ounces. I did a preshape, put my little one to bed, and came back and shaped them, let them sit for about 10 minutes, and they seemed like they had risen a little so I did my float test and they floated immediately. So I covered them up and threw them in the fridge for the night.
I woke up this morning and got straight to work. I got the oven going, got the pot of water on, and pulled the bagels out of the fridge. One of the things there was a little ambiguity about in the book is that he says use one tablespoon of baking soda, but there is no set amount of water. I have seen other recipes where there is a quarter cup for like six quarts, so I ended up just eyeballing a tablespoon or two into the water.
PR says if you want a chewier bagel, to boil them for 2 minutes per side, but I decided to split the difference and the first six boiled 1.5 minutes per side. The second batch, since they were going to the kids, I boiled for 1 minute on each side. I couldn't believe how much they swelled in the boiling water. This was also the only point where I almost lived up to my blog's name. For some reason, one of the bagels was sticking to the parchment and I thought I was going to lose it. I considered balling it up and throwing it against the wall to make sure the other 11 knew their place, but sensing its impending doom, I think it finally decided to cooperate.
I didn't have a lot of toppings, but I recently bought some pretzel salt, so I made four using that, then I topped 2 with sesame seeds, left three plain, and the final three were cinnamon sugar. My oldest daughter loves Panera's cinnamon sugar bagels, so I made a cinnamon sugar, then when the last batch came out of the oven I brushed them with butter, rolled them in the sugar, and returned them to the oven for two minutes. I may end up modifying this method because I do like the crunch Panera's get. I'm thinking I'll do this step at the rotation and it should make a nice cinnamon sugar crust.
Because I had two pans, I started one while I was boiling the other and just kept the oven at 500 F during baking. This method worked out great, and as you can see, with 10 minutes total baking time they came out perfect.
The crumb was amazing, the salt was a little heavy even for me, but overall these are the best bagels I have had in a long time. I can't wait to make them again.
So unfortunately I won't be able to bake for a few days becasue the family is going to Kansas City for a long weekend, but I get to eat a lot of BBQ, fried chicken (best in the country according to Jan and Michael Stern), and of course I'm taking a trip to Wheatfield's bakery in Lawrence, KS. So it won't be completely bread free weekend, just baking free. Maybe I can talk them into letting me help at the bakery.