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Nearly No Knead NY Style Bagels

For many, kneading doughs is hard and frankly a scary prospect. For bagels, kneading is generally considered an absolute necessity to get the gluten that results in a nice chew. This recipe throws that out the window, and offers a different approach to making bagels. You may not need this if you have a stand mixer or  a food processor capable of kneading your dough, but if you don’t have the equipment or you find yourself without for whatever reason, this is for you! Read more about the process on the blog!

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours 45 minutes to 12+ hours

Ingredients

  • 4¼ cups of high gluten flour | 18 ounces | 510g
  • 2 teaspoons salt | 14g
  • 1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder | 9g
  • 1½ teaspoons instant yeast | 5g
  • 1¼ cup cold water | 10 fluid ounces | 296g

Water Bath

  • 2 quarts water | 2L
  • 2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder | 18g
  • 1 tablespoon sugar | 12g

Notes

  1. Flour: This recipe is based on King Arthur’s High Gluten flour. It contains 14.2% protein. Generally, you can augment AP or bread flour with vital wheat gluten. To augment AP flour, remove 1 tablespoon + ¾ teaspoon of flour from each cup, and add back 1 tablespoon + ¾ teaspoon of vital wheat gluten to each cup. To augment bread flour, remove 2¼ teaspoons of bread flour from each cup, and add back 2¼ teaspoons of vital wheat gluten to each cup.
  2. Water Temperature: The water should be cold out of the tap. No need to worry too much about temperature, but it need not be purposefully cooled or warmed…just regular cold tap water.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, measure your flour (510g), non-diastatic malt powder (1 tablespoon), and salt (2 teaspoons). Mix to combine and distribute the malt and salt.
  2. Add the water (296g) and stir together with a pair of chopsticks or your favorite mixing spoon until you have incorporated all the water and there is very little loose flour.
  3. Use your hands to form the mixture into a cohesive shaggy ball of dough. Cover with another bowl or plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Give the dough 15 kneads. That is, fold it over and press with the heel of your hand in the usual kneading fashion, give it a quarter turn, and repeat — just 15 times. Then cover again and rest another 30 minutes.
  5. Flatten the dough into a circle, about a ¼-inch thick or so. It should look a bit like you’re about to make a pizza. Sprinkle the 1½ teaspoons of instant yeast over the dough. Then roll it up like a jelly roll. Then roll that up like a snail shell, and give it 30 “kneads” like in the previous steps. Cover and rest for another 30 minutes.
  6. One final round of just 15 kneads, and then cover it once again and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Portion the dough into 8 or 10 equal sized pieces, and form each into a small ball. Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Shape each portion into a bagel and place on a sheet pan or board sprinkled with a layer of course corn meal so the bagels won’t stick to the surface.
  9. Cover and rest the shaped bagels. While you can let the bagels do a final rise for about 30-40 minutes at room temperature, then boil and bake, I find that the crust of the bagel is significantly improved by letting them rest at room temperature, covered, for about 20 minutes then transferring the bagels into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to about 14 hours. If you know you want to go longer, I would decrease the yeast to 1¼ teaspoon for a 16-20 hour rest, and perhaps down to 1 teaspoon for a 20-24 hour rest.
  10. When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425°F.  Prepare your water bath and bring it to a simmer.
  11. Boil the bagels for about 20-40 seconds or until they float. Then transfer to a wire rack to let some of the water drip off, then if you are topping the bagels with sesame or some other toppings, do that now. I usually place the bagels onto the toppings poured out onto a plate except for poppy seeds. For poppy seeds, I sprinkle them onto the bagel. Dropping a wet bagel onto a plateful of poppy seeds results in a ton of poppy seeds on the bagel. It’s your bagel, do what works for you!
  12. Spread the bagels out onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Give them as much space as you. If bagels are too close together you’ll find those edges won’t brown as much.
  13. Bake for 22-25 minutes. I rotate my pan 180° after 15 minutes to make sure the bagels brown evenly. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing and eating (if you can!)

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