Bagels: Bagels by Cowgirl

posted by cowgirl 06-04-102 10:30 PM

Bagels
Crust & Crumb by Peter Reinhardt

Poolish-Style Sponge (make one day ahead):
4 cups bread flour
4 cups water
1/4 tsp. instant yeast


Combine with whisk and whisk thoroughly for one minute in large container (should hold batter once doubled). Let sit at room temperature until foamy and bubbly (3-5 hrs.), refrigerate.

Bagels:
1 cup (8 oz.) Poolish, set out one hour before to take off chill
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (water needs to be lukewarm because the dough is very stiff and with cold
water the yeast wouldn’t dissolve properly)
3-1/2 cups bread flour
2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 tbsp. honey or malt syrup


Stir yeast into water and let dissolve. Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl and mix for 1 minute on slow, for 10-12 minutes on medium. You’ll feel really sorry for your machine because stiff doughs are hard on electric machines so you may want to finish kneading by hand. If kneading by hand combine all ingredients (yeast dissolved) in bowl, mix till they form a ball, turn out onto kneading surface and knead about 15 minutes. The dough should be dense and fairly dry (satiny) – this is for both machine and hand. If it’s not add a little water or flour to achieve desired consistency.

Immediately cut the dough into 6 to 14 equal pieces (do yourself a favor and scale (weigh) the pieces, makes so much more uniform bagels. Roll the pieces into balls as if making dinner rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 5 minutes.

Line sheet pan with parchment, sprinkle with semolina or polenta.

Form the bagels by poking a hole in the middle of each ball and stretching this hole gently with your fingers. Move from bagel to bagel and once you’ve finished all bagels do it again on the first one. The gluten will have relaxed and you can make the hole larger now. I have great success with widening the hole once on each bagel. For large bagels the hole should be about 1-1/2 inches wide.

Place shaped bagels on sheets, 2 inches apart, enclose pans in plastic bags (bagels should be sprayed with cooking spray or a tiny mist of water) and let rise for 1-1/2 hrs. or until increased in sized about 25 percent.
To test the dough drop one piece into a pan of cold water, it should float within 15 seconds. If it doesn’t let the dough rise a little longer and test again. (Return the floater to the pan with the others.)
Refrigerate the dough overnight or at least 6 hours.

Heat oven to 475. Line sheet with parchment and sprinkle with semolina if desired.

In a large pot bring water to a boil (the water should be 4 inches high) with a tablespoon of malt syrup or 2 tbsp. of brown sugar. This is not in the book but I find the crust gets shinier if you do so. Reduce heat until water simmers. Drop 2-4 bagels (depending on how large your pot is) in the water, don’t crowd them. After poaching one minute on one side flip to the other side and poach one more minute. Put on sheet 2 inches apart.

If you want to sprinkle them with toppings do it now, if you want them really covered press poached bagels into topping. Bake 10-12 minutes, large ones need up to 18 minutes in my oven. Cool on a rack.

Variations:
For egg bagels: replace 3 oz. of water with 2 eggs per pound of flour

For rye bagels: replace up to 1/3 of the bread flour with pumpernickel flour (I used medium rye flour which was great) and add 2 cups raisins at the end of the mixing cycle.

For chewier bagels: poach 2 additional minutes.

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