You are visiting this page because you would like to learn how to produce a great, chewy-crusted traditional style water bagel, having predictable results each time you bake them. I can assure you, the following simple system will enable you to create and produce a great water bagel; having an exceptional crust, crumb, and flavor, right in your own home kitchen oven. It will be the best water bagel made, this side of a bagel bakers shop.
The following instructions are quite simple, yet explicit and should be precisely followed. After you make the first batch or two, feel free to experiment.
Best of all, you do not need a lot of fancy equipment and if you are a home baker/cook; chances are, you will have everything on hand to begin producing great water bagels.
The first piece of equipment you will require is a large, lidded, turkey roasting pan. Plus, a cookie sheet or baking pan and cooling rack that will fit into your turkey roaster. That's all the "specialized" equipment you will need. That is to say: Unless you prefer to mix and knead your dough by hand. I am lazy, so I use a heavy-duty stand mixer. You could also use a food processor, or re-scale the recipe, if need be, and use your bread machine to prepare (knead) the dough.
You will, of course, need liquid and dry measuring cups and spoons. That's it for equipment! Assuming you do have an oven!(g)
Instead of a turkey roasting pan, I use the inner tray and lid from a stainless steel buffet server, along with a 17 inch dual baguette pan for baking baguettes or an 11 by 17 1/2 flat pan for baking bagels along with a cooling rack. See detailed view in picture 6.
Six fully baked 4 1/2 diameter, 4 1/2 ounce bagels resting on cooling rack. You can eat them while atill warm or room temperature, however, I prefer them toasted.
This picture illustrates the portioned dough ball having been flattened into a 4 1/2 inch disc about 3/8 inch in thickness and ready for final forming.
Bagels have been formed and are ready for proofing prior to the steam cycle. I prefer to allow them to fully proof.
This picture shows the fully proofed bagels ready to be placed in the steamer.
Bagels have been steam proofed and are now ready to be placed in the oven for final baking.
This is a picture of our steaming rig. It is made from the inner tray (I use as the bottom of the chamber.) and domed lid from a stainless steel buffet warmer/server.
Water bagel dough is quite simple and easy to prepare; requiring only a few ingredients. All-purpose flour, active dry yeast, sugar, salt and water. I prefer to add two optional ingredients; a wee bit of whole wheat flour and malt powder or liquid, as flavor enhancers. The latter, also tends to add coloration to the finished product.
If you wish to change the yield of this recipe, just fill-in the new yield and your new ingredient quantity will appear in the right column.
I prefer to weigh all of my ingredients for accuracy. However, I have converted the weights to cups and spoons for your ease of use.
Flour quantities are based upon 5 ounce dry cups.
Water quantities are based upon 8 ounce liquid cups.
Recipe yields: bagels. Required serving: Cups all-purpose, unbleached flour. Cups all purpose, unbleached flour. Tablespoon whole wheat flour. Tablespoon whole wheat flour. Teaspoon yeast, or 1 pkg. Teaspoons yeast or pkg. Teaspoon salt. Teaspoons salt. Tablespoon malt powder (opt). Tablespoon malt powder. Cups water. Cups water. Tablespoons sugar. Tablespoons sugar.
NOTE: Bagel dough may be prepared using various mixing techniques. For this recipe I am going to outline the "Straight Dough" method where all ingredients are dumped in the work bowl of a stand mixer; utilizing it's paddle and dough hook attachments.
- Prepare pan. Lightly oil the pan and sprinkle with corn meal if desired. Reserve.
Get your steam chamber ready. Place the rack on the bottom. Reserve.
- Carefully measure and dump all of the "DRY" ingredients into the work bowl of the mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Turn mixer to speed one to thoroughly mix the dry ingredients. A minute is adequate.
- Measure and add the water (Should be tepid. About 105° to 120° F.) to the dry ingredients in the work bowl.
- With paddle attachment, mix ingredients for three minutes, to a real "shaggy-looking" mess.
- Remove paddle and replace with dough hook. Cover work bowl with a dampened tea towel and let the "shaggy mess" rest for 5 minutes.
- After the rest, turn mixer to speed two and mix for five minutes.
- Dough should be just a bit soft, smooth and neither sticky or hard. If sticky add about 1 tablespoon flour and mix. If hard, add about 1 tablespoon water and mix. Do not over mix.
- Remove dough from work bowl and hand knead for a minute or two and shape into a tight ball.
- Return ball to work bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let ferment until doubled in bulk. About one hour.
NOTE: Very little or no dusting flour should be required in the following procedures.
- When dough has doubled, flatten it out and divide into 6- 4 1/2 ounce pieces.
- Dough should weigh about 27 ounces.
- Form each dough piece into a tight ball and permit to rest for 5 minutes, under plastic sheeting.
- After the dough pieces have rested; flatten, roll and stretch each dough piece into round disc about 3/8 inch thick and 4 1/2 inches in diameter.
- Punch a hole in the center of a disc and carefully form it into the traditional bagel shape. The interior hole should be at least 2 inches in diameter; while maintaining the outside 4 1/2 inch diameter.
- Place each shaped bagel onto your prepared pan. Lightly cover with plastic sheet for pre-proofing.
This is the proofing contraption I use for all my proofing needs.
- Pre-proofing should take about 45 minutes depending upon your kitchen temperature.
- When the bagels have almost doubled, place their pan into your steam contraption atop the rack in the bottom of it. Add 2 1/2 liquid ounces of water to the bottom of the steam contraption and re-place lid. Place steamer in a cold oven directly on it's floor. Set thermostat to 400°F. and steam/bake for 15 minutes. PLEASE resist the temptation to look inside the steamer during this period of time. I can assure you, no harm will befall your bagels while basking in their sauna bath.
- After 15 minutes, remove steamer from oven and carefully remove the steamer lid. (Watch out for hot steam escaping!) Now, just as carefully, remove your bagel pan from the steamer and place it on the top shelf of your oven.
- Time 10 minutes. Half way through the time, turn pan to assure even browning.
- After 10 minutes, carefully remove pan from oven and just as carefully remove the fragile bagels from the pan. Place the partially baked bagels on the top oven shelf and time an additional 10 minutes. Once again rotate bagels to permit even browning.
- Test for doneness. Bagels are baked when nicely browned and tapping their bottoms, produces a hollow sound. More accurately, use an instant read thermometer. It should register 210°F.
- When bagels have baked, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
- Bagels are at their best if eaten at almost room temperature; even better when toasted. Bagels may also be frozen for future use.
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