Making bagels at home

Mod addition: (this thread was originally from the Introduce ourselves thread when @acsss mentioned the following:

@Notjrvedivici 's reply: (end mod note)

I would sincerely enjoy hearing of his at home process for this.

Welcome to Hungry Onion! Look forward to your contributions!!

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Agree on at ‘at home’ bagel process. PLEASE share!!!

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Making bagels at home isn’t that difficult, but you do need the correct flours. I use a hybrid formula, combining Peter Reinhart’s and Breadtopia’s methods into the bagel I remember from my youth, growing up in Forest Hills. No one has called me an “expert” but they do put in orders for bagels regularly. If there is interest, I could rewrite the formula in my own words and post.

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Please do, I’m all ears! (Or eyes! :eyes:)

Okay then… I will put it on the to-do list. Maybe tomorrow or Monday…

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Aha, which brings the question back to, what is a good bagel? To me, its not a big fat ball of dough with a hole in the middle. It’s got a good crust and a good flavor, even the plain version. It’s not fat, it’s thin. I’m all ears if that’s the bagel we’re talking about!!!

For me a good bagel is what I grew up eating in Forest Hills Manhattan and the general New York area. They are not fat; they are not thin; they are just right.

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Thank you.

I will try to be precise as I can, but I can’t tell you how much room temperature (90 degrees is optimal), humidity (approx 70%), how long you knead, how you shape, if while you are working - the dough becomes too dry, if you break the dough too much - all can contribute to a bread baking failure. So, just getting ingredients and instructions is not enough. You need to try and retry and retry and retry until you get the results you want. A true “original NYC Lower East Side Style Bagels” is a small chewy, slightly crispy on the outside, dark shade of brown.
First things first - with regards to the flour. Breads like bagels, challah, brioche, pitas, ciabatta - all of which use sugar (and some use butter too) - in our experience do not require a high quality flour - so anything you have on hand will do. We personally look for unbleached, but we use cheap flour (which we buy in bulk) for these breads. When you get into the more quality breads, like Vollkornbrot, which requires rye flour, or the bordelaise, baguette, sourdough - which don’t use sugar, butter, etc - the flour has more of an impact taste - because it is the main ingredient - so a high quality bread flour is essential.

Ingredients:
Flour 908.5g
Ice cold water 454.3g
Salt 12.7g
Instant Yeast 5.5g (we use Saf-Instant)
Malt Syrup 18.2g
Brown Sugar 40.9g

*If you don’t have malt syrup you can just use 50g of brown sugar

In a mixer combine the flour, yeast and water. The mixing time depends on the mixer you have on hand - we use a professional floor mixer and it takes about 2 minutes. For a counter top kitchen aid, I would say about 5 minutes.
Then comes the autolysis - turn the mixer off - and let the dough sit for about 15-20 min.
Then comes the kneading - add the salt and restart the mixer. Knead for about 5 minutes (again, with experience you will know how much time - the dough should be smooth and have a soft look to it).
Then add the sugar (and malt if you are using it) and mix just until it is incorporated - about a minute.
Then add about a tablespoon of oil to a large glass bowl, put the dough in the bowl (don’t knead or handle it too much). Make a nice round ball out of the dough by mixing it with the oil
Cover it tightly with saran wrap.
Next comes the bulk fermentation - where the bread sits in a room with the temperature and humidity as close to optimal as possible. Do this for 1 hour (btw, if you plan on baking the bread the following am, this step is skipped).
Next is the cutting - put the dough on a counter - and cut into pieces that weigh exactly 120g each.
Cover them with a linen proofing cloth or dry towel.
Next is the pre shaping (folding) stage - take each piece and flatten it with the palm of your hand and then fold 1/3 toward the middle and the outer 1/3 over that - so the result is a small rectangle with 3 layers. Cover with a dry towel or a linen proofing cloth.
(make sure each piece is covered when it is cut, then when it is folded - so no piece is in the air while you are doing this - which can make the dough dry out - and result in a bread baking failure)
After all the pieces are pre-shaped, let them rest, covered for 1/2 hour.
Now comes the shaping phase - where you will shape each piece into the final bagel shape - this is also a very important step that with experience and trail and error, you will learn how to shape it so it will result in the final bagel shape you love.
After you shape all the pieces, you will do the Proofing. I have a special wooden sheet that I place all the bagels on - and I do the proofing in my oven that has a Proof setting. If your oven does not have one, put the bagels in the oven, close the door and turn on the light. That is the closest to the proof setting you can get in my experience. Let the bagels proof for 1/2 hour (btw, this step is also skipped if no bulk fermentation was conducted - i.e., you want to bake your bagels the next am).
Take the bagels out of the oven and put them in the fridge - cover so that the dough doesn’t dry out (most saran wrap isn’t large enough, so you can use a large plastic bag).
Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour - meanwhile boil water in a large pot and preheat oven to 470 degrees
Take out the bagels and place them in the boiling water for about 10-15 secs.
Drain each one well and place on a parchment covered baking sheet and bake for 15-25 minutes - depending on your oven.
Take them out and let them rest a bit - and then - DIG IN!

*Note: I posted in bold the key terms to any bread baking - to make it convenient for you to google the terms and look them up if you are interested in what each one means (weekendbakery dot com has a glossary for example - but many others do as well)

**Note: I take my bread baking very seriously - so apologies if the above is too detailed :wink:

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Wow!!! Awesome information! Thank you very much for sharing!!! (I’m not the baker so I have to pass this onto my wife and see if I can get her to try this, so please don’t mistake my lack of specific questions as dismissive of the sharing in anyway!!)

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LOL and thank you. I’ll pass it on. It is my husband who is the expert, not me. Although in the past two years, I’ve tried to learn and become very passionate about it, I am still very very far behind him when it comes to baking bread. He loves to talk about it - so we had fun this morning - him talking (and baking), me writing it down and sharing with you all. Now, we eat!

Trust us winecountrygirl. I don’t think that home baking is a snap, or that my results with this will necessarily be earth shattering, but… I grew up in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Little Neck. If this one turns out even close to what I grew up on, it’s better than 90% of the bagels I’m likely to get at anywhere other than a really good Jewish deli. Of course, most of the people I discuss this with have no real concept of what that is, so there’s that too. :wink:

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For me it was the Bronx. Same as you describe

I would kill for good Jewish deli. We have a couple left in westchester but not great.

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Where I grew up on Long Island, there was a genuine bagel bakery. As I recall, the only other things Rose and Julie (a man) sold were bialies and a sort of mini-challah shaped thing made from bagel dough, which they called a bagel bread. It had “everything” topping. Theirs were small and super-chewy bagels; if you could finish one, your jaw would be sore. I miss them.

Yes, I grew up in Yonkers right near the Bronx border. There was a dedicated bagel/bialy place on Jerome Avenue. It had two entrances, I kid you not. One said bagels and the other said bialys. Same store. We actually called it the bagel place - not a store. I miss it. They were always hot.

Look at this, member only a couple days and your own thread!! Lol Congrats and thanks again!

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Thank you sooooo much. Reaching for the grams to ounces translator as I type.

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divide by 28.35

two pounds of flour, a pound of water, about 2-1/2 tsp salt, yeast is light so maybe 1-1/2 tsp, and up to a quarter cup of brown sugar or brown sugar plus malt syrup

I almost always prefer the slight sourness that develops from a long cold rise in the refrigerator over wham-bam 2 hour bagels. Also makes it easier to have them for breakfast without waking with the birds. I add a little baking soda to the boiling water, per P Reinhart in the bread Bakers apprentice. Some recipes may call for sugar in the water, either helps with browning.

On a side note, a catering cook in my kitchen was making bagels recently and used carob syrup, which I had never heard of, instead of barley malt syrup. I had a taste, it was dark and woodsy. I think it would be fine to sub a little molasses or other dark (not too sweet) syrup if you can’t find malt syrup. He also dipped the bagels in an egg wash before dipping in seeds. Unfortunately it didn’t help at all with keeping the seeds glued on, so I will not be adopting that step.

You are so very welcome! I wrote in grams because the amounts are more accurate that way. Most kitchen scales have both oz and grams and a good buy if you plan on making breads a lot. If you need to translate to oz - make sure you translate and measure the exact amounts of each ingredient and don’t round them out. The slightest change (even humidity levels) can change the texture, taste and overall results - even more so for ingredients. In any case, good luck!!! I would love to hear how they turned out!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold