Of all of the sourdough bread products we have worked to perfect, by far the most challenging one has been the bagel. Getting the dough texture just right, figuring out how long to boil the bagels on each side before baking, it is all way more art than science. None of the recipes we tried to follow ever really delivered for us, which was always disappointing because nothing beats a great bagel at nearly any meal.
We are needless-to-say, thrilled to announce that we have finally nailed the bagel. For those sourdough bakers out there, here are some tips to help you:
1) We found that sourdough needs to be boiled much less than other kinds of dough. As a result, if you are trying to make sourdough bagels from a recipe that is not sourdough, you have to cut the boiling time in half, or even more. We boil ours for only 10 seconds on each side before taking them out and letting them strain before baking. If you boil them too long, they will get flat and wrinkly. They will still taste good. But, they will lose a lot of their texture. Plus, who wants a wrinkly bagel?
2) The dough should be dryer and more firm than most other sourdough bread products. If you are accustomed to making sourdough bread, you are going to want to start by making bread dough and then kneed quite a bit more flour into it. It needs to be fairly firm and sturdy before you shape them for proofing.
3) Make sure you leave enough space between the bagels during proofing. They will rise up a lot and expand out. You do not want them to end up touching each other. Getting them unstuck from each other can result in unnecessary handling, which can deflate your fluffy, proofed bagels.
If you like baking, we definitely recommend you give bagels a try. They are fun, delicious and versatile. But don't feel bad if it takes you a few tries to get them just right. Alternatively, you can always pop into our online store and order some. We just added them and have them on sale for those who would like to give them a try!