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New York Style Bagels

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Bagels

This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe provided to me when I attended a bagel baking class at King Arthur Flour’s Baking School in Vermont. I’ve found this to be a very reliable recipe that has produced very consistent bagels for me over the years!

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 15 min to 10+ hours

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Ingredients

  • 4⅓ cups of high gluten flour | 18.9 ounces | 535g
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt | 11g
  • 1 tablespoon malt barley syrup | 22g
  • ¾ teaspoon instant yeast | 3g
  • 1⅓ cup cold water | 10 fluid ounces | 310g

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. Kneading methods: I have found that food processors are much faster and reliable for bagel dough. Bagel dough is a dryer and stiffer dough than most breads. If you have a robust stand mixer like the “bowl lift” Kitchen Aid mixers with the corkscrew-style dough hooks or an Ankarsrum mixer, it’ll likely work fine. Tilt-head Kitchen Aid mixers have a tough time with bagel dough.
  3. Water Temperature: The water should be cold to start unless you are manually kneading the dough by hand. Cold from the tap is fine. It doesn’t need to be ice cold. The kneading in a food processor or robust stand mixer will heat the dough from the friction, and you don’t want the overall temp to get high enough to kill your yeast! If you are kneading by hand, you can start with luke warm water to make it easier to knead. If you knead quickly, it’ll likely warm up over time as well.
  4. Non-Diastatic Malt Powder: I’ve started using Malt Barley Syrup for both the dough and the water bath. For me, I can easily pick up a jar of malt barley syrup at my local natural food store where I shop almost every week. I had been purchasing non-diastatic malt powder online. So, it’s easier to get for me. I’ve been told I can find it at brewer supply stores, but there isn’t one near me, so I haven’t bothered to look. It’s harder to handle as the syrup is like honey, so very sticky, but mush easier for me to source. I substitute the syrup one for one in volume, so a tablespoon for this recipe or about 22g.

Instructions

  1. Fit your stand mixer or food processor with the dough hook/blade. Measure all the dry ingredients and malt barley syrup into the bowl of your stand mixer or food processor. Put the yeast and malt barley syrup on opposite sides of the bowl.
  2. Mix and Knead (3 options):
    • Food Processor: Using the plastic dough blade or the standard metal blade and with the motor running, slowly pour the water into the work bowl. Pour the liquid slowly enough so that it doesn’t splatter — not really going to affect your bagels too much, but it is easier to clean! And, you more readily get all the liquid into the dough rather than splattered on food processor lid and sides of the bowl. The dough should begin to form and clump together. Turn off the machine and scrape it down if it looks like it needs it. Kneading in a food processor is fast — 2-3 minutes maximum. Your dough will get very warm. You should check it after a minute, and then again every 30 seconds or so to make sure it isn’t getting too hot (>90°F).
    • Stand Mixer: Set the mixer to low for a few seconds to distribute the yeast throughout the flour. Add the water slowly with the motor on the lowest setting until it begins to form a shaggy ball. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Then set the mixer to a medium-low speed to knead the bread. Knead for about 8-12 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the dough isn’t just stuck to the hook and just spinning as well as to ensure the dough hasn’t gotten too hot (>90F).
    • Manual: mix in a large bowl with a rubber spatula, dough whisk, or wooden spoon until you get a shaggy dough ball. Turn out the dough onto a table top, and knead dough. This will take a lot of kneading as compared to a regular loaf of bread…potentially up to 20-30 minutes…be prepared for a workout…you shouldn’t need to add any additional flour. This is a relatively low hydration dough, so once you’ve got it mixed together, it shouldn’t really be too sticky. Alternatively, check out my Nearly No-Knead Bagel recipe.
  3. The dough should be a smooth elastic dough. It should pass the “window pane test”. Place into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or an inverted bowl. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes. It will not expand or double in this short a time. That’s OK. The primary goal here is to relax the gluten.
  4. Portion the dough into 8 or 10 equal size pieces. If you have a scale, weigh the dough, and calculate your portion size. Form each portion into a tight ball by gathering the dough to a point with your fingertips. Set seam-side down, and cover with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. Keep your portions organized so you know the order that you prepared them.
  5. Starting with the first ball of dough, and working in order, flatten each one like a mini pizza. Starting with the edge furthest from you, roll the dough back, and press and seal the edge. Repeat until you’ve formed a tiny jelly roll. This is the start of the “rope” for the traditional bagel shaping process. Cover each portion once you’ve completed this pre-shaping step to prevent them from drying out.
  6. Prepare a sheet pan or workspace by sprinkling a generous amount of coarse corn meal to make a thin coating. Shape each ball into a bagel by rolling the rope from the middle outward, lengthening it until it is long enough to wrap around your hand with about an inch of overlap. Try not to roll the ends of the rope so that they retain a larger diameter than the rest of the rope. To “lock” or seal the bagel, overlap the ends, and then roll those ends against the work surface. Place on the prepared corn meal.
  7. After 30 minutes, test to see if a bagel will float in a bowl of cool water. If it floats or sinks very slowly, then they are ready to be transferred to the refrigerator for an overnight cold proof. Traditionally, bagels are not covered during their overnight cold proof, but some home refrigerators can desiccate the crust too much. You will need to experiment with your own refrigerator to decide if you want to cover them. If you do cover them, I recommend either getting plastic “bun covers” that snap onto a standard commercial half sheet pan. These will allow you to stack pans and/or other groceries that are in your refrigerator. If you cover with plastic wrap, you need to make sure the plastic wrap isn’t touching the bagels or you will need to oil the wrap otherwise the wrap will stick to the bagels. You can also use a large plastic bag and tent the bag and fill it with air and fold the opening beneath the pan so the air stays inside the bag and holds the plastic above the bagels.
  8. When you are ready to bake, while you are preparing your water bath and pre-heating your oven (425°F with convection turned on if you have it), you can let the bagels rest at room temperature. Add 3 or 4 bagels at a time to the water bath. Let them cook for about 30 seconds, then flip them over, and let them cook for another 30 seconds before removing them and transferring them to a cooling rack.
  9. If you plan to top your bagels with seeds or some other mix, wait a minute or so to allow the excess water to drip off of the bagels. When they are no longer shiny and wet, this is the perfect time to add toppings. To do so, fill a shallow bowl or plate with the toppings. Gently place the bagel into the mix top side down and give the bowl a gentle shake. If you want toppings on both sides, flip the bagel and give it another shake. Then transfer to your prepared baking sheet pan.
  10. Repeat this with all your bagels (boil, top as desired, transfer to the baking sheet).
  11. Bake for about 18-20 minutes if you have a convection oven, or 22-25 minutes for a standard oven with no fan. If you know your oven browns unevenly, you should rotate the sheet pan 180° halfway through. The bagels are done when they have browned evenly to your desired doneness.
  12. Transfer the baked bagels to the metal cooling rack and allow to cool before eating them. A bagel fresh out of the oven is yummy, but the interior may be a little gummy. All breads are also much harder to slice when they are still hot. Give them at least 10-15 minutes to cool. They will still be warm, but much easier to slice, and the crumb will be better set.
edit: Made some rather significant changes to adjust timing and added a little more detail to the shaping process — 04/29/2024
edit: decreased the time for the water bath – 02/21/2021
edit: added more instructions and notes, added Malt Barley Syrup option, and custom calculator – 09/27/2022

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