Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Bagels

My attempt to cook something new each week almost failed in its second week--but I just managed something new: bagels!

Thanks to advice from another on-line source, I decided to try the recipe from The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  Except, somewhat of course, I failed to follow directions fully and/or had minor issues.

First, I couldn't find high-gluten flour, which isn't that much of a surprise.  I did find Bob's Red Mill vital wheat gluten, though, so I bought some and threw a bit in with my flour.  I don't know if it had an actual effect on the end result.

Second, I couldn't find malt powder, so, as recommended, I used honey.

Third, I think I ended up with a bit more flour than called for, all worked in in the process of kneading.  It was a humid day, so that probably had something to do with it.

I kneaded by hand, for longer than the 10 minutes suggested, because I was in a groove and because I didn't think it was quite ready.

Fourth, this recipe has you make a sponge, then add in more flour and yeast, knead, shape (with some rest period in there), rise a little and then go into the refrigerator for a long, slow, cool rise overnight.  I did all that.  However, I also made vegetable stock yesterday, and just before going to bed put the still warm stock in the refrigerator, too.  And I think that raised the temperature in the fridge enough that the bagels rose a bit more than they ought to have risen.  So, they're a bit puffier than expected.

Fifth, I baked them for about 4-5 minutes longer than suggested, including a final two minute on convection for a nice brown.

The result:


Totally fun, not that hard, and very good, even with the wrong bits.  They were appropriately chewy on the outside, but not too dense.  I'd make them again (except, actually, for the fact that I kind of dislike the smell of the baking soda in water solution for the boiling).

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