Friday, August 27, 2010

Secret revealed # 2: Sourdough Bagels

Since I started to babysit my sourdough stater, I had to cope with the urge to feed it too much. Every time I take it out of the fridge, I end up having enough for bread, English muffins, and now... bagels. Here's my favorite recipe so far, which I modified from
A very similar recipe is in  [Reinhart, P. (2009). Peter Reinhart's Artisan Bread Every Day: Fast and Easy Recipes for World-Class Breads. Random House, Inc.], but after trying I disagree with most of the resting times. I ended up over-proofing them (they raised to much) and the result was a mushy texture and a chewy crust...

Cooking time:
Day 1
Active time    ~30 mins
Waiting time  ~4-5 hours
Day 2
Active time    ~45 mins
Cooking time ~20 mins

  • 400 g 100% hydration sourdough starter
  • 150 g water
  • 550 g bread flour*
  • 38 g extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 g malt powder
  • 15 g salt
*The amount of gluten in the flour is essential for the texture of the bagels. If you cannot find brad flour, you can use AP flour and add 1 Tbs of gluten flour for each cup of flour (about 3 Tbs for this recipe). Find more conversion tables here.

  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a blow, especially malt powder, which will dissolve unevenly otherwise. Let the dough rest for up to 30 minutes. This process is called autolyse and it will sensibly shorten the kneading time. The flour will absorb the water, so you will have a better sense of what the dough fells like, and the enzymes in the flour will start breaking down proteins (mainly gluten) and starch. Then mix for about 10-15 minutes, until your dough will pass the windowpane test (I took my pic, but given that I knead my bread by hands, it is unlikely that I will reach a better development than Susan from WildYeast). Save some flour (about 1 cup) to incorporate it in the kneading phase, because this dough is very dry and it would be easier than incorporate al the dry ingredients at the beginning.

  • Make a ball with the dough by folding the outside in the inside and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Let the dough rise for about 3-4 hours.
  • Divide the dough into 80g-100g portions and shape them into balls.
Shape the bagels. There are two ways you can shape the bagels: either poking a hole in the middle with your finger and slightly stretching the hole, or rolling the dough  to form a rope (about 5 inches or 10cm long) and and pinch the ends together. Place the shaped bagels on a oiled pan, cover with plastic wrap and possibly put everything into a plastic bag and retard in the fridge for 7-8 hours or overnight. To see whether the bagels are ready to be out in the fridge, drop one of them in cold water: if it floats immediately it is time to rest! Do not let overrise the bagels because they will implode and get wrinkly in the water. The one in the pic is about right.
The next day, bring 6 quarts water to boil in a large pot (the wider the better) add 2 Tbs of malt powder and 1 tsp salt. Add the bagels to the water, as many as you can fit in one layer. Turn after 30 secs and cook for 1 min total.
  • Drain the bagles and put them back on the pan. Now it's time to make them pretty. Chose a topping (poppy seeds, sesame seeds or a mix of garlic salt, dehydrated onion and mixed seeds)  dipping the bagels upside down in the seeds that you have ready on the counter, in a bowl.
  • Bake in the oven at 350F for about 20 mins, until they develop a nice golden brown crust. Let cool for about 1 hour. Enjoy! You can store the bagels by cutting them in a half and freeze them into a tight plastic bag.

Monday Mania


      Melissa said...

      what kind of sourdough starter do you use? I don't understand what 100% hydration means. I have a starter that I made myself... will this work? Thanks

      Matilda said...

      Hi Melissa,

      I use a liquid starter (100% hydration), which simply means that I feed my sourdough with the same amount (weight) of water and flour. The percentage indicates the amount of water with respect to flower so that 50% hydration is dry than 110% is pretty wet. You can find all the information on how to calculate and maintain hydration in your starter here:

      Thanks for stopping by and contact me if you have any question while making the bagels!

      Melissa said...

      Thanks for explaining! My homemade starter is also 100% hydration- I just didn't know the technical term :) I'm going to give these a try! Thanks again,

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