On day two, I got all the stuff together for toppings. Feedback on those has been that everything is yummy, but since one housemate has some serious restrictions on seeds, there should be less seed-based bagels next time and about three times as many Asiago cheese bagels. To the right we have, clockwise from upper right: kosher salt, blue poppy seeds, grated Asiago cheese, sesame seeds, Artisan Bread Topping , and rehydrated dried minced onion. The bread topping, onion and salt were combined to make my version of an everything bagel. Those came out the prettiest of the bunch.
Once I had all my toppings together, I got our big stock pot and filled it with water, which I started boiling. And once it was boiling, I dumped in a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. Apparently in commercial operations, they use food-grade lye for this bit, but I wasn’t about to try to get my hands on some of that. Besides, I still have Fight Club flashbacks about lye in the kitchen.
The bagels came out of the fridge on their trays, looking all plump and lovely, and went into the boiling water two or three at a time. Some of them were smaller than others, so could fit more easily into the alkalized water.
Like I said earlier, the boiling phase goes quick. You do these for one or two minutes per side. Two will apparently give a chewier bagel and, since ‘not quite dense enough’ was the only non-glowing feedback I got on these guys, I may go for the longer boil next time. The flavor was apparently fantastic.
The toppings go on immediately after the bagels come out of the boiling pot. These are some of the ones that were formed by punching a hole in a dough ball and stretching them out. Two poppy seed bagels, two sesame seed, and one of the salt bagels.
The baking process is also quick, but requires a little fiddling. You put both trays in the oven for five minutes at 500 degrees, then rotate the trays top to bottom and turn each of them 180 degrees and bake for another five minutes at 450 degrees. It makes for a crowded, but wonderful-smelling oven.
I let these guys go for maybe an extra three minutes because the color on them wasn’t as golden as I wanted.
Coming out of the oven is when I discovered the difference the forming methods seems to have made. First, the prettiest bagel of the bunch, the ET bagel:
It’s high-domed, golden brown and pretty much all-round gorgeous. Next, one of the poppy seed bagels:
Still golden brown and delicious-looking, but decidedly flatter.
All of the thumb-punch bagels came out flatter then the wrap-and-press bagels. Having them side-by-side makes it even more obvious.
So, take-aways from this experiment:
- Really try to get all the flour in. It could make a big difference.
- Less seed bagels. More cheese and onion bagels.
- Wrap-and-press is the way to go with forming these guys. It’s not much more work and is kinda fun and it makes a prettier bagel.
- Let them cool for at least an hour. The texture improves over about the first twenty-four hours.
- They will turn into rocks if you leave them for more than three days.
I am looking forward to repeating this recipe sometime in the future.
Coming up in the next few weeks:
Do You Know the Muffin Bear?
Hawaiian/Portugese Sweet Bread is Sweeeeeet.
Please Hide These Cinnamon Rolls From Us.