This weekend was yet another installment of cooking with Becky, so of course we had to do something involved; that’s just how we roll (I asked her if I could reveal her name on my blog, and she said she didn’t care. And yes, I’ll go back and change all the other posts. I’m Type A like that). We decided to make Peter Reinhart’s bagels from his book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. It was a little while before we could get together to make them, because it took me a considerable amount of time to find a store in the area that sells malt powder. But it was worth the wait. I don’t think I’ll ever buy bagels again. Here’s what you’ll need.
Recipe adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart.
Servings: 12 large or 24 mini bagels
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 and 1/2 cups room temperature water
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 3 and 3/4 cups bread flour
- 2 and 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp malt powder
- 1 Tbsp baking soda
- Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced onion, salt, or whatever your heart desires!
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
First, make the sponge. Add the flour to a large mixing bowl, and then add the yeast. Mix in the water until the mixture is smooth. Cover it and let it rise for about 2 hours. The sponge will about double in size, and it will be very bubbly.
Next, make the dough. Mix the additional yeast into the sponge. Add 3 cups of the flour, the salt, and the malt powder. Stir until you have incorporated everything into the dough, and then add the last 3/4 cup of flour. The dough will stiffen.
Now, move the dough to the counter and knead. It’ll take about 10 minutes for the dough to acquire a smooth yet firm quality. If the dough seems too dry, wet your fingertips and work the water into the dough. If too sticky, add a bit more flour. The dough should be smooth and pliable when you are done.
At this point, divide the dough. The recipe will yield 12 large or 24 mini bagels. We divided ours into 12 pieces to make the large bagels:
Cover the dough with a damp cloth for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, line sheet pans with parchment paper, and spray them with cooking spray.
Shape the bagels by poking a hole in the center of the dough and gently working it out with your thumb, so that the hole is about 2 inches in diameter. Place each bagel on the pans 2 inches apart, and spray them (lightly) with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let them sit for another 20 minutes.
Next, use the “float test” to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator. Fill a small bowl with cool water and drop one of the bagels in. If it floats within 10 seconds, return it to the pan (pat dry), cover, and place the bagels in the refrigerator overnight. If the bagel does not float, keep checking back every 10-20 minutes or so until it does.
When you are ready to make the bagels, get a large pot of water on the stove and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. When the water is at a rolling boil, add the baking soda and a little bit of the malt powder. Drop the bagels a few at a time into the boiling water, and let boil for 1 or 2 minutes per side (the longer they boil, the chewier they will be).
Sprinkle the parchment paper with cornmeal, and place the bagels back on the paper using a slotted spoon. If you’re worried that the toppings might not stick like I was, brush the bagels with the egg wash, and then top immediately.
When all of the bagels are topped and ready to go, place the pans in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the pans 180 degrees, switching racks. Bake 5-10 minutes longer before removing the pans, and place the bagels on a cooling rack. Cool about 15 minutes.
Conclusion? I’d say there are no words, but there are a few. Words like delicious. Chewy. Heavenly. And authentic. Cut one in half and spread on some cream cheese and you’ll know what I mean. You won’t be disappointed!
Categories: breads & pastries