Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Daring Bakers present: Bagels


When I read that this month’s challenge was to make bagels, I was very excited – I’d never tasted the famous bread and what a nice chance to do so!

I loved the dough: delicious to be kneaded and rises like no other. I also had loads of fun with the whole “making of”… I just felt sad about the look of the bagels – they’re so ugly, the poor things. Wrinkled like a Shar-Pei. :(

Anyway, I thought the flavor was really good – even though I haven’t tasted a real bagel to compare – and I’ll try to make them again, hoping to get shiny and smooth bagels as it should be.

Liked this sort of Seinfeld post? Check the other Daring Bakers’ blogs – I’m sure you’ll find some pretty good bagels there!



840-1,120g (6-8 cups) bread (high-gluten) flour
4 tablespoons dry baking yeast
6 tablespoons granulated white sugar or light honey (clover honey is good)
2 teaspoons salt
720ml (3 cups) hot water
a bit of vegetable oil
3.8 liters (1 gallon) water
3-5 tablespoons malt syrup or sugar
a few handfuls of cornmeal

First, pour three cups of hot water into the mixing bowl. The water should be hot, but not so hot that you can't bear to put your fingers in it for several seconds at a time. Add the sugar or honey and stir it with your fingers (a good way to make sure the water is not too hot) or with a wire whisk to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water, and stir to dissolve.

Wait about ten minutes for the yeast to begin to revive and grow. You will know that the yeast is okay if it begins to foam and exude a sweetish, slightly beery smell.

At this point, add about 420g (3 cups) of flour as well as the 2 teaspoons of salt to the water and yeast and begin mixing it in – use your hands or a wooden spoon; I prefer the latter.

When you have incorporated the first three cups of flour, the dough should begin to become thick-ish. Add more flour, a half-cup or so at a time, and mix each addition thoroughly before adding more flour. As the dough gets thicker, add less and less flour at a time. Soon you will begin to knead it by hand – do it in the bowl, in case it’s big enough, or on a clean and lightly floured countertop.
Add bits of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Soon you should have a nice stiff dough. It will be quite elastic, but heavy and stiffer than a normal bread dough. Do not make it too dry, however... it should still give easily and stretch easily without tearing.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with one of your clean kitchen towels, dampened somewhat by getting it wet and then wringing it out thoroughly. If you swish the dough around in the bowl, you can get the whole ball of dough covered with a very thin film of oil, which will keep it from drying out.

Place the bowl with the dough in it in a dry, warm (but not hot) place, free from drafts – I always use my microwave oven for this step when I make bread or pizza dough. Allow it to rise until doubled in volume – I let it rise for 1 hour and it was huge when I took it out of the oven.

While the dough is rising, fill a stockpot with about the water and set it on the fire to boil. When it reaches a boil, add the malt syrup or sugar and reduce the heat so that the water just barely simmers; the surface of the water should hardly move.
Once the dough has risen, turn it onto your work surface, punch it down, and divide immediately into as many hunks as you want to make bagels. For this recipe, you will probably end up with about 15 bagels, so you will divide the dough into 15 roughly even-sized hunks. Begin forming the bagels. There are two schools of thought on this. One method of bagel formation involves shaping the dough into a rough sphere, then poking a hole through the middle with a finger and then pulling at the dough around the hole to make the bagel – this is how I did it.
The other method involves making a long cylindrical "snake" of dough and wrapping it around your hand into a loop and mashing the ends together. Whatever you like to do is fine. DO NOT, however, give in to the temptation of using a doughnut or cookie cutter to shape your bagels. Just like snowflakes, no two genuine bagels are exactly alike.

Begin to preheat the oven to 205ºC/400ºF.

Once the bagels are formed, let them sit for about 10 minutes. They will begin to rise slightly. Ideally, they will rise by about one-fourth volume... a technique called "half-proofing" the dough. At the end of the half-proofing, drop the bagels into the simmering water one by one. You don't want to crowd them, and so there should only be two or three bagels simmering at any given time. The bagels should sink first, then gracefully float to the top of the simmering water. If they float, it's not a big deal, but it does mean that you'll have a somewhat more bready (and less bagely) texture – that’s what happened to me.
Let the bagel simmer for about three minutes, then turn them over with a skimmer or a slotted spoon. Simmer another three minutes, and then lift the bagels out of the water and set them on a clean kitchen towel that has been spread on the countertop for this purpose. The bagels should be pretty and shiny, thanks to the malt syrup or sugar in the boiling water.

Once all the bagels have been boiled, prepare your baking sheets by sprinkling them with cornmeal. Then arrange the bagels on the prepared baking sheets and put them in the oven. Let them bake for about 25 minutes, then remove from the oven, turn them over and put them back in the oven to finish baking for about ten minutes more. This will help to prevent flat-bottomed bagels – I didn’t turn them because I didn’t want the toppings to fall down. I baked them for 35 minutes straight.

Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks, or on dry clean towels if you have no racks. Do not attempt to cut them until they are cool... hot bagels slice abominably and you'll end up with a wadded mass of bagel pulp. Don't do it.

To customize bagels: After boiling but before baking, brush the bagels with a wash made of 1 egg white and 3 tablespoons ice water beaten together. Sprinkle with the topping of your choice: poppy, sesame, or caraway seeds, toasted onion or raw garlic bits, salt* or whatever you like. Just remember that bagels are essentially a savory baked good, not a sweet one, and so things like fruit and sweet spices are really rather out of place.

* I used coarse salt and thought that it became a bit wet on the following day.



Anne said...

Although it didn't turn out as you've wanted it to be, still it's good to know you liked it.

Anonymous said...

I like your wrinkled like sharpei description 'coz mine had the same surface. At least yours look like bagels. Great job, Patricia!

Karen Baking Soda said...

I love all those descriptions from fellow Daring Bakers, charpei sounds like some of our bagels.

Anh said...

Pat, this is a first good attempt, seriously... And the most important thing is you like how it tastes.

I have never baked bagels. Too lazy since I used to live to a very good Jewish Bakery that perhaps sells the best bagel in Melbourne (I live a bit further now, but still can go there). If you come here, I'll bring you there for bagels and challah! :D

Anonymous said...

I didn't think shar-pei is ugly - they are rather adorable and cute. :) Hey, you can call your own creation 'shar-pei bagels' (I think it is rather cute) and they taste good too :)

Cheryl said...

Mine had a little sharpei in them too. But I think they look great and they all taste good for breakfast.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Great artisan bagels - that's the description for the wrinklies, which I had too! Yours toppings sound good Patricia.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

Hehehe! i loved your description. The most important thing is that you had a go at these and they really look fine to me! Nice job!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Okay, so these are not the most bagel-looking bagels , but it is always the taste that counts. Hooray for you for trying to make them -- I've never had the courage!

Ilva said...

But who cares about what they look like as long as they TASTE good! And they have a lot of personality! Brava!

Kelly-Jane said...

I'm with you on the bagel looks, but at least we liked them to eat :) Well done!

breadchick said...

Patricia, these look just like mine! You did fantastic on this challenge.

Anonymous said...

You crack me up - Shar Pei bagels. Too funny! I found that my bagels tend to shrivel up that way if I wait too long between taking them out of the boiling bath and putting them in the oven.

Unknown said...

Wrinkly bagels with a great taste!

kellypea said...

I just love seeing how everyone's turned out. I thought that was salt on yours -- I should have tried that!

sher said...

Wonderful job! I think they're adorable. And I know they tasted fabulous. Frankly, I am way too tempted by these wonderful bagels. Now I'm hungry again after looking at yours.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

So now we have Shar-Pei Bagels and Blob bagels! Karen & I got some of both of those just didn't know their name! All individuals!
Great job here Patricia - never forget food should taste good!! and Shar-Pei or Blob they do.

Mandy said...

hey Patricia, don't be bothered by the appearance of the bagels! The most important thing is they taste good! I haven't made a bagel before, although both hubby and I love to eat them..Maybe one day I should try.....

Anonymous said...

Wow! Never had a bagel? I think you're overdue for a trip to New York. Anyway, I think yours look delicious. I distrust bagels that are too smooth and uniform.

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia, I love your 'sharpei' bagels! Mine did the same thing when I put them into their water bath! Ah well, the taste is the most imporatant thing, and yours look delicious!

Lis said...

Well you know what, our bagels are definitely one of a kind and no one will ever be able to say that the bagels are store bought!

Besides I think your bagels are gorgeous and EXTREMELY YUMMY looking!

I can't wait for you to try again, they will come out perfect for you next time! =)


Mallow said...

My first thought is how good those bagels looked! The wrinkles made them look tasty and chewy! I made pretzels once that had a texture like that and they were super yummy.

Unknown said...

You could call them "sharpeigels."

Sorry, long day. I called mine croiggels, so you know.

Alpineberry Mary said...

Mine were all wrinkly too! The shar-pei description made me laugh.

Nora B. said...

You know what they say - never judge a book by it's cover. The same goes with food sometimes, I think. At the end of the day it's the taste, rather than the looks that matters most. And it sounds like your bagels tasted very good, so well done! Fantastic effort for making something that you've never eaten before, wow!

Thistlemoon said...

Nice job, Patricia! Wasn't this a fun challenge - well it was my forst, so I guess it should have been fun! Great job! Love the post! :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Patricia,
Just to let you know, I have dropped you an email :)

Anonymous said...

Well, sharpei dogs are totally cute, and so are your bagels, sweetie!

Helene said...

They look great, sharpei or not! Congrats on completing the challenge. I really enjoyed reading your post!

Elle said...

Isn't it interesting how we describe these wrinkled bagels? Great post with good photos and it's neat that you made wonderful bagels without any prior experience of bagels. A Daring Baker indeed!

Anonymous said...

Job well done, Patricia!

WokandSpoon said...

Wow, making bagels seems like a lot of work! I'm sooo impressed!
I also never realised that bagels had to be boiled as well. Great job!

Peabody said...

I've never known anyone to compare bagels to dogs before :)
Well done!

Pat said...

Well done!!!! It isn't easy trying to make something you have no idea of how it is supposed to look or taste. You did a super job for your first attempt!!!

KJ said...

I like you bagels. So long as you enjoyed making them and they tasted great - it's all that matters. I really enjoyed this task too.

Glenna said...

I think they look great! And I bet they tasted divine too. Mine had a little bit of a funky texture too but it didn't mess with the taste at all. Nicely done!

Jenny said...

Yummy bagels for breakfast!
Thanks for joining in the challenge!

Stella said...

hi Pat!
I'm sure your bagels taste better than they look=) hahaha, they don't look like Sharpei dogs I assure you, they're really cute!=)

babyjorocks said...

they look good either way! good job!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Thanks for the heads up, Patricia. After seeing so many bagels today, I might be making some in the future. I'd still have one of your right now, with no hesitation! ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Pat, shar-pei or no shar-pei, I think we all agree that your bagels still look delicious! And it's the little imperfections along the way that usually makes something unique and delish, so great job! :)

Anonymous said...

Shar-peis are adorable just like your bagels! I think they look great! Great job! I wish I can have one. :D

Patricia Scarpin said...

Anne, I did and I'm looking forward to the next challenge!

Veron, I think it's fabulous to try new things - thank you, sweetie!

Karen, I saw later that some of the girls had the same problem.

Anh, you bet that Australia is one of the places I intent to know and I'd love you to show me around, sweetie!

Hi, Cooking Ninja, I agree! They're lovely!

Cheryl, tks - it was hard not to have seconds. :)

Amanda, I'm glad I'm in such great company, sweetie!

Meeta, thank you - I'm glad we learned something new!

Lydia, coming from you I'm so flattered. :)

Ilva, you are so kind, my dear! Tks!

Kelly-Jane, they tasted great! Thank you!

Mary, I had so much fun reading your post, sweetie. Thank you for the kind words!

Lynn, maybe that was the problem - tks for the hint!

Laura, my thoughts exactly! :)

Kelly, maybe the salt grains should have been smaller, they turned out to be wet on the following day.

Sher, your bagels were professional, dear, I wish I could steal one!

Tanna, I have to check your post, sweetie - I'm off to do that now!
The names were funny. :)

Mandy, you are so talented! I know you'll kick a**!! :)

Sarah, maybe next year - I'll ask your opinion about a good place for a legitimate NY bagel!

Gilly, thank you! And mine floated right away, let's not forget. :)

Lis, you're right, my dear! Our bagels are totally unique! :)

Mallow, thank you! I really like when you stop by! :)

Jenny, I love the name - can I use it? ;)

Mary, at least yours had holes. lol

Nora, I'm glad you liked them - I really had fun making them!

Jenn, thank you! I'm so happy that you are part of the group and had fun!

Hi, sweetie, I've send you one back! Tks!

Marce, thanks! The dogs are cute, indeed. :)

Helen, I went crazy with yours! Wonderful toppings!

Elle, I'm a curious person, I love learning new things. I'm glad you stopped by to check them out!

Ivonne, thank you!

Hi, Wok and Spoon - I had fun while making them. And I didn't know about the boiling either!
Thank you for visiting, I really appreciate it!

Pea, it was the first thing that crossed my mind. :)
Thank you!

Pat, thank you! And I'm also glad to have you around here!

KJ, yours were beautiful, too. I'm glad you liked the challenge!

Glenna, you are such an artist, sweetie! And you did great!

Quellia, I'm thrilled with the challenge you chose, sweetie!

Valentina, my sweet friend, thank you!

Hi, Jovanna! How great it is to have you here, sweetie!

Susan, you are such a darling - I can tell that the minute you decide to make bagels they will be fantastic!

Ovenhaven, thank you, sweetie!

Amy, it's a shame they don't ship well. ;)

Thank you all for your lovely comments and inspiring words, it means a lot to me!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Patricia. Bagels made by someone who has never even tasted one? I am impressed. I'll admit I was a little dubious too, until I read the part of your recipe that you boiled them before baking. Then I knew I should have never doubted you.

Cynthia said...

There is a reason why you are a daring baker! You have done an amazing job for someone who has never had bagels before.

Susan said...

Patricia, they look like bialis, a close relative of bagels. This is an admirable first attempt. I'll take the poppy seed one split with butter, please.

Celine said...

I happen to think they look great. besides, more often than not, breads that aren't shaped the most usual way are the tastiest, so ha!

Amrita said...


Amazing, I'd never had the courage to make bagels!

By the way pat, how would one join DB?

Toni said...

I only attempted them once, and mine, too, came out looking wrinkly and wierd. And I'm from NYC originally, so I know what a bagel should look like and taste like. Mine didn't. I went back to buying them.

I'm amazed that you took on the task in the first place! I mean, for someone who has never eaten one? You deserve extra brownie points!

Kirsten said...

Patricia! First off, I must say that even attempting to make a bagel is a BIG deal. Also, having never tasted one???

You are SUCH a brave and daring baker - I have so much respect for you! Your bagels are a little wrinkled, but if they taste good, that's all that matters.

I, for one, will continue buying my bagels. :)


Anonymous said...

OKay..sniffing, feeling, definitely bagels on the go ! :) Would love some of these for breakfast tomorrow hehe :)

Anonymous said...

Good for you for trying this out and glad to know you are enjoying the flavor :) I am too much of a sissy to even attempt bagels!

Cris said...

Patricia, I love bagels with creamcheese, too bad we can't get them here (at least where I live)...

Patricia Scarpin said...

Terry, you are so sweet, my friend. Thank you - I'm actually blushing right now. ;)

Cynthia, I love the challenges the girls choose. :)

Susan, let me set the table so we can have some together. :)

Celine, I'm glad you feel this way. :)

Amrita, I know that one of the members has to send the person an invitation, I just don't know if they are still admitting people - I'll find that out and let you know, ok?

Toni, thank you, dear!! Coming from a New Yorker, I can't tell you how flattered I am! :D

Kirsten, you are the sweetest, my friend!! Thank you - your opinion means the world to me!

Melting Wok, it's a shame they're long gone. :)

Joey, you are a brave and wonderful cook/baker who happens to make the most amazing cookies (I'm still thinking about them, see?). ;)

Cris, there's a place here in Moema who claims to be specialized in bagels... I should try their bagels to have something to compare mine to.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE bagels. Very impressive, Patricia!

Ashleigh said...

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog- it helped me find yours! Your dishes look amazing! I am adding you to my favorites. I LOVE bagels...I may attempt these! Keep posting your yummy recipes!

Baking Fiend said...

Hi Patricia,

I've only eaten bagels once or twice so far! So u can see it's not so popular in Sg yet. I hope to give this recipe a try soon!

Anonymous said...

half of my bagels sunk as soon as i took them out and put them in the oven.after cooking the good ones were perfect bu the others were dense and doughy...okay for a first try i guess,

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