BBA – Bagels

The next bread for the BBA challenge is bagels. Begun yesterday, only the boil and bake was left this morning.

Yesterday started with a preferment dough

That rose nicely! I use SAF instant yeast. It’s amazingly reliable, and if you bake anything yeasted on a regular basis, I’d recommend it. The usual grocery store yeast works just fine, of course, but the difference between the two is marked. I’ll never go back to that type again.

The remainder of the ingredients were added. It’s the first time I’ve used malt syrup, so that was fun to taste.

I’ve also recently switched back to a brand of flour I used to use. I’m trying it for bread baking again, because the stats I’ve found on it say that it has about 14% protein and the co-op I use is carrying it again. I also like the bread because it’s from a small company, is organic and unbleached. Plus the germ has been added back into the flour, making it an even better nutritional choice. A flour with germ that performs like a white flour! If you can’t read the label, it says Swany unbleached.

Here’s the lovely dough that was made. It’s a bit small, because as you can probably see from the photo above, I’m currently a bit low on flour. I halved the Reinhart recipe.

The next step was forming rolls, which gave me a chance to practice the technique described in the book. A few of the best things about The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is how excellent the photos are, and how clearly the techniques are explained.

After a rest, the bagels shapes were formed. Although Reinhart gives two techniques, I decided to go with only one of them. A lot of people tried both, and I’ll be making more bagels soon and trying the other technique I didn’t use. However the one I chose for this time seemed to give more consistent shaping for other BBA challenge participants, and sometimes I just want something that looks more likely to work. You know?

Amazing! These actually look like real bagels! Okay; so at this point they get popped into the fridge overnight. This morning we decided that the six bagels (two for each of us in the household. Good to keep these things fair and all!) would get either asiago cheese or sesame seeds.

The bagels are boiled, and it’s at this point that I realize they were slightly overproofed yesterday. It’s not a terribly big deal, but I can tell because some of them don’t get as much spring as others from the hot water. That’s okay though, because they’re looking good!

After the boil the toppings were applied, and into the oven went bagels. Real bagels! In my kitchen!

Here’s the result. They’re superb. At least as good as any I’ve had from a bakery. Next time I’m going to make a whole batch and boil them for just a bit longer to make them chewier. Maybe we’ll try something in half the dough, too. Or everything bagel topping; that’s our favorite: garlic, onions, poppyseeds and sesame seeds. Yeah!

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