27 January 2010

oh holey bagels


The last time I made bagels was a few years ago P.B. (pre-blogging) when I made cute little tasty mini chocolate chip bagels. So delicious with cream cheese. Since it had been a while, I decided to try out The Fresh Loaf recipe for bagels. The recipe is for a plain bagel and starts with a sponge, then after the bagels are shaped they rest in the fridge overnight, which further develops the flavor and also is flexible. These are also boiled, which is really the only way to make a bagel.


Besides the boiling before baking, the other difference between a regular bread recipe and a bagel recipe is that the dough for bagels is much thicker, and to give you a comparison, there is about 7 cups of flour for about 12 4 ounce bagels (for my bagels, I portioned the dough out into 3 ounce balls), vs two loaves of bread with around 16 slices a loaf. Yet while bagels are dense, they shouldn't be heavy. The crust should be chewy and a bit crackly and break away into a fluffy, sturdy, and chewy crumb. Bagels really are deceptive.

For further reading, I recommend an article from The New York Times (read it now for free before you have to pay), Was Life Better When Bagels Were Smaller?

While the dough rises overnight, let's play Cotton Towel Rorschach!

The first one reminds me of some strange human figure. Or maybe an amoeba.

The second figure looks like a freaked out ostrich. Maybe after it realized the size of eggs it lays.

Lastly, the figure reminds me of either a vulture or the bald eagle that tried to carry Fivel away.

Back to the bagels.


Once the bagels have proofed overnight, you carefully drop them in to a pot of boiling water mixed with baking soda. Unfortunately, maybe the dough wasn't as thick as it needed to be because my fingertips dimpled the bagel rings rather unattractively when I lifted them to plop in the pot. I was hoping the boiling might poof them back out, but no dice. Once placed on the sheet next to the risen bagels, they looked dimply and deflated.


Obviously they grew a bit, but they also deflated. Rather disappointing. I also played around with the baking temperature and time since I felt they needed to be baked longer to achieve a golden texture.

So how do you show a picture of bagels that didn't come out how you expect? You gather the best looking bagels to make it seem like they did!


As for the taste, they were pretty good, and definitely better than what you can find in the freezer section just by being homemade. For not having anything but flour and water (and salt), the taste was also good. The crust was a bit chewy and the insides soft and chewy, too, though overall they didn't remind me of my favorite bagel place, where they are also boiled in the traditional manner.


The innards shot was lovely since it had structured holes that I see sometimes in bagels.

I definitely need to work on bagel skills. Next recipe I try is a recommendation from my mom, who likes the bagels from The Joy of Baking.

These bagels will be my contribution to YeastSpotting this week. Check it out to see some great bread ideas!


  1. Hey,

    Thanks for the love and support. I keep praying he comes to his senses...It's the hardest thing I can remember going through.

    I try not to dwell on it though...I can't change it.

    But thanks for the support...it's....rough. I really hope we can work this out.

    *hugs* Thanks.

  2. HI Christina!

    They look great! I once tried to make bialys - MAJOR FAIL! At least you had some good ones for the photo. :)

    The best part about making bagels is that they freeze beautifully.

  3. Did you really bake at 500 degrees? That is scorching hot!

    I wonder if a stone such as what people often use for baking pizzas would be a good technique to use. I know when I use a pizza stone when I bake a pizza, the crust tends to be more golden and crispy but without burning. It also tends to heat more evenly.

  4. Courtney ~ Anytime. My email is always open. =)

    Esther ~ Ooh, I've been wanting to try those, too!

    Yes, and it's great so you can decide if you want the whole bagel or just a slice if you pre-slice the bagels before freezing. I usually opt for the entire bagel.

    Jogger ~ The first dozen were baked at 500° for 5 minutes, then lowered. The other batch I believe started out at the lower temperature and baked for 15 or so minutes, until golden.

    These can definitely be baked on a baking stone. The water on the bagel would be like using steam, too.

  5. Perhaps using an implement such as a large spatula to insert the bagels into the boiling water would alleviate the aforementioned finger dimples.

  6. Your bagel looks so good! I love baking bagels, but mine turn out flat sometimes unfortunately.

  7. Hey, lumpy looking bagels happen sometimes. Your bagels look nice in the pictures, anyway . . . I have tried the recipe from Bread Baker's Apprentice and also from Marcy Goldman's book on Jewish baking. Both great, but I think I liked the recipe from Goldman a little better. And it is easier.

  8. Greg ~ True. I was a bit concerned about it sticking to the spatula, though I should give it a go next time.

    Laura ~ Well, i did pick the best of the lot =D. This definitely was a simple recipe overall. Bagel making really is fun to do.

  9. Steph ~ That'll probably be a concern of mine until I get the real knack of making bagels down. But I think that's a worthy venture. =)

  10. The first time I made bagels, about half turned out the way they were supposed to and the other half were flat and kind of dense. Both forms tasted good though, which is what really counts! I have a feeling it's a hit or miss kind of thing. That or there's some secret trick that we don't know.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your thoughts are appreciated! ^,^


Blogger Template Created by pipdig