So bagels. There is no other food that can incite a riot quite like bagels can. You have the steamed bagel side, the boiled bagel side (boiled in lye or baking soda?), New York style, Montreal style and the list can go on. What is a true bagel? Heck, I don't know. It would be easier to solve world hunger than answer that. My opinion is, and I think the majority agree, a bagel HAS to be boiled to be a bagel, end of story. Now, some insist you have to boil them in lye, while other say baking soda, malt power, or honey.
For this however, I tested two ways. I boiled them in lye and in baking soda.
Lye produced a softer, chewier bagel. The lye has a distinctive flavor that you can taste on the crust. While this flavor is great on German pretzels (see my own German pretzels HERE) I don't think it pairs well with bagels.
|Baking Soda Bagels|
Makes 12 bagels
Adapted from The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
What you'll need:
1 teaspoon - instant yeast
4 cups - bread flour
2 1/2 cups - water, 72 degrees
1/2 teaspoon - instant yeast
3 3/4 cups - bread flour
2 tablespoons - vital wheat gluten, optional
2 3/4 teaspoons - salt
1 tablespoon - honey
For boiling water:
2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) - water
1 tablespoon - baking soda or 2 1/2 teaspoons food grade lye crystals
Stir all of the sponge ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover and let set at room temperature for 2 hours. Sponge will become bubbly.
When the sponge is ready, add all of the dough ingredients. Mix on second speed for about 6-10 minutes. The dough should be very stiff and pass the windowpane test. Add more flour or water to get the right consistency.
Turn the dough out onto a cutting bored. Shape into 12 - 4 1/2 ounce balls. Cover with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes. This will make shaping easier.
Roll the balls into about 6-8 inch ropes. If the ropes snap back on you, let them rest for 5 minutes.
d sheet tray. Let the bagels sit, covered, for 15-20 minutes. Place the covered bagels in the refrigerator and let them sit overnight.
Remove the bagels from the refrigerator. Gently drop three bagels (or however many fit comfortably in your pot) into the boiling water. Boil for 1 minute. Flip the bagels and boil for another minute. Remove the bagels from the water and place on a parchment lined tray. Be sure to spray the parchment with cooking spray. Repeat with all bagels.
Let bagels cool for at least 20 minutes before you devour them.
I like to top my bagels with sesame seeds or Parmesan cheese but of course you can get creative and throw whatever you would like.
You can make blueberry or cinnamon raisin bagels by added the desired amount of inclusions when you mix the dough.