Week 8: Bread Machine Bagels, Now with Bread Flour

This weekend I had a lot of activities planned for Saturday and Sunday, so I decided to start early on the bagel-making. On Saturday morning I started tossing ingredients into the bread machine pan, thinking that I was being incredibly reckless and possibly using a procedure that might have some sort of devastating consequence.

I warmed the water for 30 seconds in the microwave before adding the honey. I heated them together for 30 seconds, stirred, heated them for another 20 seconds, stirred, and poured the honey-water into the bread pan. I didn’t even check the temperature first. Then I added the sugar and salt to the liquid (not to the flour!), then some all-purpose flour, then a whole lot of bread flour (I was worried that the dough would be too stiff if I used all bread flour). Then I added the yeast, pushed a few buttons, and away we went!

Then I checked the recipe. (NOTE TO SELF AND OTHERS: For best results, one should usually check the recipe before measuring and combining ingredients.) Apparently this was the order I was supposed to put everything in the bread machine pan. Never mind, move along folks, nothing to see here….

While the dough began to be “processed,” I sliced, toasted, and consumed (with unsalted butter) the remaining Brady Street bagel from last weekend. As much as I’m looking forward to seeing how the current batch of bagels turns out using the bread flour, I’m really looking forward to experimenting with creating an Italian bagel tonight with flavorings inside and out. I’ll have the chance to get to Penzeys today, too, and pick up some Fox Point seasoning — my favorite of their blends. I put it on everything and love it. What kind of bagel will it make?

This batch got a nice initial rise.
Just look at that awesome dough.

I divided the dough into eight balls, rolled them out, and shaped them. With a wetter dough I think I could do what I’ve seen professional bagel-makers do in a video: wrap the snake of dough around their hand, break it off, and roll the ends together to make a seamless join. What I’ve been doing with my drier dough is to wrap one end of the rope around the other, sort of tuck the dough in, and hope that the join smooths out during the second rise.

Extreme Join Close-Up!

Well, hope rises eternal. (Or something like that.) I set the timer for a 15 minute rise, and turned the burner under the water to 8.

Before the rise…
…and after.

I did do a couple of things differently this time. They were small differences; we’ll see if they turn out to have the long-term impact of the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings on the other side of the world.

First, when I put the bagels in the boiling water (which, of course, was not boiling after a 15 minute rise; when will I get this right?) I put them in upside down from the way they had been rising. I did this so that after I flipped them in the water, then took them out and put them on the baking sheet, they would be “right side up” again.

Right-side-up on the left, bottoms up on the right

Second, instead of using a whole egg for the wash, I used the leftover egg whites from the challah that I baked on Thursday night. That recipe always leaves five egg whites, and I have tried making egg-white omelets and found that I don’t enjoy them. So instead of breaking more eggs, why not use these egg whites instead? Five egg whites a week should be able to wash quite a few bagels.

post-wash (it’s subtle)

The bagels went into the oven for 15 minutes, so I could turn the baking sheet around halfway through the baking time and put them in for another 15 minutes. I could just set the timer for 30 minutes and tell myself to check on them halfway through… but you know how that goes.

Aren’t those smooth joins amazing? #sigh

I have bagels! I’ve been enjoying the bagel-making process more with every batch (it probably helps that the bagels have been turning out better as I go). Now I’m fitting them into my schedule so I have bagels when I want them, instead of trying to completely clear my schedule so that they only thing I can do in a day is make bagels. And I’m gradually finding more people who wouldn’t mind trying a free fresh bagel every once in a while — which helps.

Resting comfortably….
…and cooling off.

Mary at Penzeys, your bagel was from this batch. What do you think?



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