Flying Flour, Splashing Spices, Roomful Aromas

Sunday, January 23, 2011

BBA Challenge week #3 Bagels

Bagels, bagels, bagels, the ever elusive perfect bagel.  In the 80's the Combsman returned from a business trip toting in a huge bag of NYC Bagels... my first NYC bagel and oh boy, was it ever good.  Dense tooth, great flavor with or without the traditional smear of cream cheese.  Far too soon they were gone and we were hooked.  I did in the 80's make my first bagels with a recipe from a NYC cookbook I borrowed from the library.  Hey, this is before I had a computer or the internet evolved to the everything you need source it is today.  The procedure was to make the dough, rest, shape, rest, boil broil and bake.  They turned out fairly well for a novice and only one experience of eating a real bagel.  We were happy.  It was involved and cumbersome for the bread baker of only an Italian loaf and the occasional pan of sticky buns.  Now fast forward to the present and we arrive at my second and third attempt at bagels.  BBA's procedure with the cold fermentation produced a flat, less thick bagel more akin to the bialy. I found all the rise times to take longer.  I am in South Florida where we think it is cool, but not winter cold. They were tasty with a good tooth.  From the photo, you can see my skill of shaping the bagel needs much work.  How much does the cold fermentation add flavor to the bagel?  Checking bagel recipes and directions in Jeff Hamelman's Bread, he doesn't use the cold fermentation.   Curious bakers need to know.  I also must confess I had no malt... so I poured a Sam Adams Lager into the boiling water.  it did produce a bit of the sheen and crust texture desired.  I will be making bagels again because there are no real NYC bagels in my area and we gotta have a bagel fix from time to time.  I catch a King Fish occasionally, which makes a great fish dip spread tat screams for a homemade bagel.  Maybe, I should get on this brioche recipe for next week and make time for some fishing while the bagels cold ferment next weekend.  Oh, wait, I have this other thing called a job.... teaching.... I have papers to grade and science labs to prepare as well..... juggling all the fun events to fit them into a week is an art!!  Since that is a juggling act everyone attempts, we must all be artful by daily living, indeed.


  1. Like your bagel tree! I also had problems with rise times, mine took a LOT longer than it said in the book, but I thought it must be because my house was so cold. I didn't use malt, but had some honey that I put into the dough.

    I think I will look for a sourdough recipe for them if I do this again, they were good, but all that wait time and having to check on them numerous times was a bother.


  2. Your bagels are so cute on the bagel tree and I love that you added some beer to your bagel, how unique!! Looks good!!!

  3. I wonder why you and Joanne both had rise problems? Also, I'm pretty sure the malt powder didn't add too much. At least, nowhere near the revelation that BBA's description made it sound like it would.

    Also, you'll have to post the recipe for the fish dip at some point. It sounds tasty!

  4. Beer and in bagels..either way yum!