Thursday, November 4, 2010

Bagels!

Last year I tried to make bagels. I used this recipe from allrecipes.com. Given the couple hundred quite positive reviews, I figured I could whip these out with no problem. Afterall, bagels are just a form of bread and I've been making bread for over 10 years.

Sadly, I did not succeed with this recipe. I tried making it again 4-5 times before I gave up and just tried to accept the fact that I couldn't conquer bagels. The problem was, my bagels turned out flat and doughy. It was irritating because some, of the same batch, would turn out not as doughy as others. I had no idea what was going on, but I blamed it on high altitude since I live at over 5000 feet.

Well, this year I tried again. But not without thinking very hard about what I was going to try different. The basic method to make bagels is to mix the dough, let it rise, form into bagels, let rise, broil, boil and then bake. Somewhere in this process my risen bagels would fall (that's why they turned out flat and doughy). I figured it had to do with the broiling since I noticed that they often started to go flat when I moved the broiled bagels into to boiling water. Previously, I had broiled them too far away from the heat. I also hadn't really given the oven a chance to heat up before I broiled the bagels. And last, the recipe I used said to broil them on an ungreased baking sheet. When I tried that, the bagels stuck to the pan, making them hard to turn turn over to broil the other side. And too much handling will make a risen bagel fall.

So, for success with the bagel recipe, I formed the bagels by taking a bit of dough, and forming a ball. Then I just poked a whole in it and tried to make it look pretty. I set them to rise on a greased pan. Like so:


Once risen (about30 mins), I set my oven on broil and allowed 5 mins for it to heat up. I placed my bagels on the highest rack about 5 inches under the heat. Broiled them for 1.5-2 mins on each side. It's the consistency that's important here. I found that the you need a good, toasted bagel. If it's too soft, it'll fall. And obviously you have to watch this part because it wouldn't be nice to burn them this early in the game!


Next, Boiling. After broiling in the oven, it's time to boil in some water. I did as the recipe suggested here. I boiled them in a big pan of water with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (you can do white sugar or honey too) for 6-7 mins on each side.



After boiling, I transferred the bagels to a wire rack with a towel under it to drain off excess water. After draining, I transferred the bagels to a greased pan and cooked them for 20 mins. at 375 degrees. And the finished product:



Yeah, I know, pretty exhaustive process... but they are good and It's kinda fun to know how to do.

One other tip: I didn't make my bagels plain. Mine are cinnamon. I waited to add a tablespoon of cinnamon and reserved about 2 teaspoons of the sugar called for in the recipe until the dough was all mixed. Adding the the cinnamon last gives it a swirled look (which I prefer)... if I'd have added it first, I would have given the bagels a brown look... but I'm sure would have tasted just as good.

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