Yield: Yields 12 large or 24 mini bagels.
A tight, perfect crumb. Honor it with a smear of cream cheese, a layer of lox, and a thick slice of a juicy, ripe tomato. Be sure to use instant or quick-rise yeast (available in most supermarkets)—not active dry.
Cinnamon-Raisin Bagels: Increase the yeast in the bagel dough (not the sponge) to 1 tsp., and add 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon and 5 Tbs. sugar in with the flour. At the start of mixing, add 1-1/2 to 2 loosely packed cups raisins, rinsed with warm water and well dried (to wash off surface sugar, acid, and wild yeast). For a cinnamon sugar crust, after baking, brush the bagels with melted butter and dip in cinnamon sugar while they’re still hot.
Look for malt syrup at natural food stores under the name barley malt syrup and for malt powder at beer-making supply shops or through baking catalogs.
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Is this recipe correct: Does it really call for 8 cups of flour? Before I use nearly half a bag of precious (!) bread flour, I'm trying to check this is accidentally doubled or even tripled over sponge and dough. Another two bagel recipes I've used (one similar in approach to finecooking's) uses less than 3 cups for eight 4-oz bagels. I know bagels should be chewy, but 2.25 lbs of flour seems high to this novice baker, even for 12 large bagels. I'm hoping someone can confirm the recipe as shown is right. :)
I've made a lot of bagels recently, because as convenient as store-bought bagels are, they are just not the real thing. Not living in NYC a few feet away from a delicious bagel deli, sometimes you have to get creative. My absolute favorite bagel variety is whole wheat everything, and they are very difficult to find outside of New York.
I followed this recipe very closely, halving it, which I always do with a new recipe - just in case - with only two substitutions: I substituted whole wheat flour for the bagel mix, but used the high-gluten flour for the sponge. I also used a premixed everything bagel topping.
I selected the hand-kneading option for the dough (approx. 16 minutes total) and opted to use dark brown sugar in the mix.
I also agree that if you have a little experience with bagel-making, you can skip the float test and you won't have to time or count your knead. Substituting flours and flavors also becomes a lot easier once you've made a few practice batches.
The bagels that resulted from this recipe are some of the best bagels I've ever eaten, including the ones I've bought from my favorite bagel deli in New York.
I could not recommend this recipe more highly. I will definitely be making a big batch again soon!
I am so happy with the way my very first batch of Bagels came out, that I created this account just to express my gratitude and joy! This recipe is fantastic. For those commenting that it didn't work, I have to question how well it was followed. If your dough is sticky after resting, it was probably too moist to begin with, or it simply "over-proofed" (too much rise- either the wrong yeast for your flour/altitude, or sat out at room temp too long).
Using a high protein bread flour, AND/or adding high quality powdered wheat gluten will also help retain body (and chewiness).
My advice to all: if you know your baking, skip the float test. You should know by the look of the freshly formed bagels and a familiarity with yeasted doughs what "15-20% increase in size" looks like. If not, you can use the float test, and surely that will work out quite well. I did not float test, but rather eyeballed it with no prior bagel-crafting experience, and it worked out excellently.
Brown Rice Syrup is perhaps a more malt-like substitute than Honey or sugar. It worked well for me, using 1 full Tablespoon.
Living at high altitude, I did have to make a few adjustments, but I'm getting the hang of how to do that in all my baking. If (and only if) you're over 5,000 ft above sea level, like me (8,000ft), you'll want to reduce the amounts of yeast, and avoid the "rapid rise" type, just use regular "active dry," and less of it if you live at altitude...otherwise expect over-proofing issues like stickiness, wobbly shape or collapse (i learned the hard way with Pizza dough). I only rested briefly at room temp, up here in the mountains, before retarding in fridge as well. leaving the dough out for than a few min after shaping could easily lead to over-proofing at high altitudes, even with yeast adjustments.
Just returned home to SW Florida after 2 years in NYC. The bagels were the ONLY thing I miss and I have solved that dilemma with this kick-butt recipe. Thank you Peter Reinhart. You are a bagel god to me...These are just as good as the ones I got from The Brooklyn Bagel Boys. I've got just a little personal tweaking to do the next time. (Little too judicious with the salt and I'd like to hand roll them the next time!!) Only thing missing is the slight aura of diesel exhaust that permeates everything in the City. This is the best bagel recipe anywhere and all is now right with my world!!!
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