This project’s second base recipe was so similar to the first one that I surmised its “failure” was due simply to having too little dough in the bread machine for all the ingredients to be adequately mixed. I put the word failure in quotes because two of my tasters said that their bagel from that batch tasted just fine. But I knew what it looked like at the prior stages, and I wasn’t impressed. I knew it should be able to look better than that.
While I was getting ready to try the recipe again this week, I noticed a little tip in the cookbook: “If you like chewier bagels, boil them for 1 minute longer before baking.” I suspect that the choice of flour might have a greater effect on a bagel’s degree of chewiness, but I did keep this in mind when it was time for the boil.
At this point all the ingredients were in the bread machine. I had my reservations about sticking with exclusively all-purpose flour, but I did want to try to make this recipe the best it could be on its own terms, rather than make all the changes that would turn it into another honey whole wheat bagel. This recipe calls for less honey than the previous one, so perhaps it will be better to eventually take it in a more savory direction.
This was a very nice dough, rising to the viewing window of the bread machine. It punched down nicely, and I did not need any extra flour to divide the dough into eight bagels (rather than the six suggested in the recipe). I set the bagels on a Silpat sheet and covered them with a thin cotton towel to rise for another 30 minutes, recalling that last week they hardly rose at all.
This week, however, the bagels got a great second rise, and would continue to do so while the water came up to the boil. Yep, I didn’t start the water heating when I should have. I could blame my oversight on my having had to take the dog outside for an evening constitutional, but it’s really not his fault. Anyway, the ten minutes (or less) it would take for the water to boil still falls within this recipe’s recommended time range for the second rise, so the yeast shouldn’t overdevelop.
These are some great looking bagels, and they’re HUGE. I can only imagine how terrifyingly large they would have been if I had made only six from this amount of dough.
Boil two at a time (the two on the left are on their second side, and the two on the right haven’t been flipped yet) – egg wash – into the oven you go! for 30 minutes.
These are really nice looking bagels — definitely more handsome than last week’s — but I need to do a better job of seaming them so that I don’t end up with all these lumps and bumps. Or am I being too particular about an aspect that won’t make a difference in the taste?
I think I’ll have this one for breakfast in the morning. Look out, bagel. You’re going DOWN.