Monday, November 21, 2011

Olde Fashioned Bagels

I have never made bagels prior to yesterday. Now after trying one just out of the oven, with the simmering honey water cooling slowly on the stove top, I can admit to this shame. What a delightful baked item. Bagels come in all sorts of styles, some are boiled and then baked, others are simply baked. There is a lot of discussion on the impact of the water on the finished product. New Yorkers believe they have the best bagels. People from Jersey think they have the best. My personal favorite comes from a bakery in Up state New York. My roommate during my Junior year of college brought these bagels home, and of all the bagels I have eaten, these are the best. These were only baked, not boiled. The sourdough bagels from this shop have left the most memories on my palate. I think we ate close to 24 bagels in three days; they were that good.

Olde Fashioned Bagels do not have sugar, unlike their modern counterpart. Today, bakers are using a fair amount of sugar in their formulas, where as the only sweet item in the old fashioned bagel is malt powder.  Everyone should try this authentic variety, before they are taken for granted by the sugary and sweet bagels of today. I have been officially converted to the old fashioned bagel, and I think if you follow this formula, you will be as well.

Jeffrey Hamelman instructs to add malt syrup to the boiling water until it resembles the color of strong tea. I did not have malt syrup, so I used honey after I was recommend by my pastry puff friend named Cielo. She knows the answers to all of my baking problems.

Bagels only really need an hour f bulk fermentation. Then they are shaped and placed on a sheet pan lined with corn meal and put in the refrigerator covered with plastic. Because of this and because the bagels are boiled prior to being baked the formula has a fairly small amount of yeast by weight. The bagels are really only boiled for about 45 seconds, make sure you have a slotten spoon on hand as well as a bowl of ice water to shock the bagels for at least 3 minutes.

Then the bagels are supposed to be baked on wooden boards that are soaked in water. This helps to keep the boards intact for a longer period of time. The bagels are baked for three minutes seed side down on the wooden board and then they are flipped directly on the baking stone. They are then baked for 10-15 minutes or until they are done. I urge you to have good quality cream cheese on hand or even better soft fresh goat cheese....that is my favorite.

Here are the pictures to chronicle the baking

Bagels just out of the cooler

Bagels boiling water
Bagels boiling 

Bagels chilling in the ice bath

Bagels just out of the oven

The prettiest one!
My steam burn: be careful! Steam burns are the most drastic due to surface area and rapid expansion.

1 comment :

  1. I've made this recipe before, and they do turn out great! I remember the apricot-almond and everything bagels were great! By the way, instead of malt syrup I added Ovaltine malt drink mix to the bagels and the water, and it gave them a nice malty flavor.