{bba} Bagels Redux

Prior to joining The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge, I made the bagels from the book once before. They were quite delicious and successful. You can see my previous attempt HERE.

Baking these bagels again for the BBA Challenge has been a bit more fun. First of all there is the kinship of the group and secondly, Twitter.  The first time I made bagels I ordered my high-gluten flour (special flour that gives bagels their chewiness) from King  Arthur Flour as suggested by Peter Reinhart.

This time, although I already had  high-gluten flour I bought the last time I went to Surfas, I tried the other suggested method. This method involves throwing yourself at the mercy of a local bagel shop and asking if you could buy some of their high-gluten flour. I was doubtful about this method because there isn’t a good bagel shop in my area. I live an hour east of Los Angeles. I wasn’t going to drive to Los Angeles just to beg for flour (at least not yet).

Urged on by #bba and my Twitter friends (@kbgerth, @nancyo, @thetortefeasor )I decided to try my best at the one local bagel shop. I ended up going to East Coast Bagels, which is a Southern California chain. I periodically tweeted my status: at shop, spoke to cashier, spoke to manager, denied. It was  a big disappointment because it turns out they get  bagel dough from the ‘company’ and that they don’t have any kind of flour.

Now that I’ve made bagels three times, I have 3x the bagel baking experience as these bagel shop employees. hmmm.

Anyway, I made two different batches with two different flavors. My previous bagels were plain with different toppings. This time I experimented with mix-ins. Both flavors are based on the flavors of other breads I loved from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

The first are my Greek Celebration Bagels. I really liked the flavors of the Christopsomos  I made last week and wanted to try it again in my bagels. The second are my Multigrain Bagels Extraordinaire . Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire is a great tasting bread, but  it starts with the letter “m” and we are only on the “b”s. This is my way of tasting it again sooner. (I know I can always make it again ay time I want, but I can only eat/give away so much).

Greek Celebration Bagels

Added 5 tablespoons sugar, increased yeast to 1 teaspoon in final dough, added cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, almond extract, & orange extract in the same amounts used to make Artos. I also mixed in 2 cups of dried cranberries and chopped dried figs.

All other directions the same.

Multigrain Bagels Extraordinaire

Made a soaker the day before per the instructions for the Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire: 2 ounce mix of millet, quinoa, & amaranth ; 2 ounces of Bob Red Mill’s 5-grain cereal mix and 9-grain cereal mix (I was using odds & ends I had in my pantry); 1/2 ounce of raw wheat germ. Added water, but didn’t measure–just enough to cover the grains with a tiny bit extra.

I only had 12 ounces of high-gluten flour, so I used bread flour and 1 cup of white whole wheat. I also added vital wheat gluten.

In the bulk dough, I added the soaker, 2 ounces of cooked brown rice, and 5 tablespoons of sugar. Because of the additional liquid because of the soaker, I had to add a lot of extra flour to get the dough to ‘feel’ right. I split the dough and added cranberries to half. All other directions for bagels were the same.

The result? Although the multigrain bagels tasted great and had the right texture and chewiness, they did not of the wonderful taste of the Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire. I probably should have added brown sugar instead of white.




I don’t know why I was scared to make bagels. I’ve made croissants, multiple times. It was the extra boiling stage that I’ve never done with a bread before. I didn’t realize how easy it was. How the bagel dough is easy to work with and if you follow the directions it does what it is supposed to do.

Bagel Balls

Bagel Balls

You make a sponge first:  throw  some yeast, high-gluten flour, and water together, stir, and let it rise for 2 hours on the counter. Then you throw in some more yeast, more flour, salt, and barley malt syrup and knead for 6 or 7 minutes (in stand mixer).  Once it’s ready, you turn it out on a work surface and form little bagel balls (I made the “mini” size which were 2 1/4 ounces and were still pretty big).

Formed Bagels

Formed Bagels

You let the bagel balls rest for 20 minutes and then form them into bagels by poking your thumb through the middle of the ball and stretching and rotating the bagel around your thumbs until the hole is a couple inches. You then let the bagels rest for 20 minutes.

The bagel float test

The bagel float test

After they’ve had their nap, you test the bagels to see if it is ready for “retarding” in the refrigerator overnight. You test the bagels by dropping one in water and if it floats right away, it is ready. My bagel floated right away. If it wasn’t ready, I would have let them rest some more and testing again.

Boiling bagels

Boiling bagels

After the the bagels have overnighted in the refrigerator, you take them out and bring a large pot of water to a boil. You add in some baking soda and then place the bagels in the boiling water, flipping them over after a minute or so.

Baked bagels

Baked bagels

Remove the boiled bagels to a prepared baking sheet and top if desired and then bake in the oven.I made plain bagels, salt bagels, cumin seed and salt bagels, cheese bagels, and everything bagels. My everything bagel mix consisted of: flax seeds, raw sunflower seeds, rolled oats, poppy seeds, and  natural sesame seeds.

Cheese bagel

Cheese bagel

The recipe I used comes from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. You can find an adapted recipe HERE.


I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting, a weekly round-up of yeasted goods and bread. This week YeastSpotting is hosted by Zorra of 1x umrühren bitte.