Thursday, April 17, 2008

Making Homemade Bagels

Making Homemade Bagels

Ok, we're certainly not New Yorkers but even we know that bagels here in San Diego leave a lot to be desired. They aren't so much bagels as they are bagel-shaped bread. They don't have the correct outer "skin", and they don't have enough chew when you bite into them.

So what are you supposed to do here when you are craving a good bagel? Make your own.

Making Homemade Bagels

We used a recipe from Crust and Crumb by Peter Reinhart. You start with a loose, wet, poolish sponge that is slow fermented, then a lot of flour, plus a little more yeast, water and salt is added to create a rather dense dough. Five minutes of kneading in the stand mixer followed by five minutes on the board results in a smooth, satiny, fairly dry dough (and tired arms).

Forming bagel shapes is pretty easy: just make dinner-roll sized balls, let rest a minute, then stick your thumb through the middle and gently stretch. Done!

Making Homemade Bagels

The bagels poof slightly after a couple hours at room temperature, but then it's important to put them in the fridge overnight to develop more flavor.

Next up, poach the dough in simmering water, a minute on each side. I'd always wondered why bagels get boiled, but now I know it's the real key to getting a chewy bagel with that characteristic shiny crust.

Making Homemade Bagels

A quick dip in some sesame seeds is followed by a 14 minute bake.

The result - a very nice bagel indeed. We won't be a threat to the New York deli scene any time soon, but we've definitely found our best local option.

Making Homemade Bagels

5 comments:

  1. Oh WOW! They still looks great!

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  2. Thanks, Liz. They were surprisingly easy to make, so I think we'll be having them often.

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  3. Those look great. Seriously, I need to try this.

    Interesting, you mention that putting it in the fridge creates more flavor. Many pizza makers and bakers frown when dough goes into the fridge. My baking mentor says it is the secret to great flavor. A good starter makes a difference too it seems.

    I need to try this recipe. You make it seem easy, and I know bread is the toughest beast of all in the kitchen.

    Nice pics and description as always.

    Cheers
    Matt

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  4. What do you do for the sponge?? These look yummy and I will try, just tell me about the sponge. Thanks

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  5. Hi - The poolish sponge is simply four cups (18oz) bread flour and 4 cups water mixed together with 1/4 instant yeast. You let it sit several hours (until foamy) and then refrigerate it overnight before adding the extra flour, etc. This makes enough poolish to start 6 batches of bagels so I always portion it into 8 oz bags and then freeze it. Hope this helps!

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