Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Hamelman's Bagels

In baking through Hamelman's Bread, I made a half batch of bagels last week. His style differs from Peter Reinhart's in that the bagels are formed by coiled ropes of dough, retarded in the refrigerator overnight, and boiled in malt syrup-rich water rather than baking soda, and finally given a quick soak in an ice bath before baking.
I am so used to using baking soda for bagels and pretzels that I was considering adding it to the water as well. I am happy that I didn't though, as another baker found out the hard way that the combination causes a reaction that results in the flooding of your cook-top. Lesson learned, vicariously - thank goodness.
These were dense and chewy and tasty with the Herbes de Provence sea salt that I added.. but I still prefer Reinhart's method and results. Which makes me wonder, baking through Bread right after baking through The Bread Baker's Apprentice.. is it like having a new boyfriend too quickly after the old one? Will I be comparing every little thing? The way they snore, chew, drive...
I mean, recipes, methods, and results? I guess that's only natural, I think there is room in my heart to love both Hamelman and Reinhart... oh yeah, and my husband too.

Jeffery Hamelman
Bread: A Bakers Book of Techniques and Recipes
online recipe sourced from Kevin's Cooking

2 lbs High-gluten flour (7½ cups)
18.6 oz Water (2 3/8 cups)
2 tsp Diastatic malt powder (optional)
1 Tbs Salt
3/4 tsp Yeast

Malt syrup as needed (can be substituted with brown sugar)

1 MIXING: Add all the ingredients except the Malt syrup to the mixing bowl. In a stand mixer, mix on the first speed for 3 minutes in order to incorporate all the ingredients. Bagel dough is quite stiff. It can be mixed by hand but is a chore and a workout. Depending on the flour's absorption, slightly more water may need to be added, but be sure the dough remains stiff. Turn the mixer to the second speed and mix for an additional 5 to 6 minutes. The dough should be tough, strong and well developed. Desired dough temperature 79°F.


3 DIVIDING AND SHAPING: Divide the dough into 4 ounce (12 to 13 pieces) that are more or less square. Roll each dough piece 10 to 11 inches long, with no taper at the ends. Shape the dough into a bagel like the old timers did: Wrap it around the broadest part of your hand. The ends should overlap slightly on your palm. Roll your hand back and forth on the bench in order to seal the 2 ends together. Or shape the dough pieces into tight balls, flatten them, put a hole in the center with your finger. From the center gently pull until you have a two inch hole in the center. I prefer the first method. Place the finished bagels on a sheet pan that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.


5 BOILING: Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. I use a large, deep skillet. Add malt syrup before it comes to a boil---enough syrup to make the water the color of strong tea. The malt syrup will slightly permeate the dough, and once in the oven the bagels will take on a rich color and a good shine. Brown sugar may be used if you do not have malt syrup. The boiling also reactivates the yeast, which is sluggish from its long refrigeration, and pregelatinizes the starch on the surface of the bagels, which contributes to their chewiness.

6 When the water is boiling, take the bagels out from refrigeration. Put four into the boiling water and leave for about 45 seconds per side. They will puff considerably and float.

7 Remove the bagels from the water and place in the bowl of ice water.

8 Once the bagels have chilled for 3 or 4 minutes place on your peel, if you have a stone or on a sheet pan sprinkled with cornmeal if you dont. I place them on parchment paper on my peel and slide the parchment and bagels into the oven. If you want seeded bagels, press one side into a plate of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, onion flakes, or seeds of your choice, then put them on the peel or sheet pan, seeded side down. For salted bagels, a light sprinkling of coarse salt is all that is needed.

9 Bake the bagels at 500°F. After 3 to 4 minutes, when the tops of the bagels have begun to dry out, flip the bagels over. Tongs work well for this step. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes in all. Make sure some cream cheese is close by.

Servings: 13
Yield: 3 lbs. 3.5 oz

These bagels have been Yeastspotted!