Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What did I do wrong?

Last Tuesday I made bagels, to have for Wednesday breakfast. I'd made bagels once before, and they turned out looking like this:

Not bad looking, huh? I was pleased with their appearance, and the recipe I used (cinnamon-raisin bread dough) was absolutely delicious.

But it really just tasted like...bread. It lacked that special chewy "bagel" taste.

So last week, I tried again. I used the exact same recipe...though I probably altered it a little bit in the making. I hardly ever do the same thing twice with bread dough. :)

When it came time to boil the bagels, I made sure the water was hot enough, and I boiled the bagels a little longer than last time. Then I fished them out, and put them on a waiting cookie sheet. The first batch had to wait awhile for me to finish boiling all the bagels, 'cause I made 2 dozen, and each batch (4 bagels) took three minutes.

The bagels actually looked cooked this time, when they came out of the water, but they didn't look as nice and round as they had last time. I hoped baking would solve the problem, but it didn't. They came out looking like this:

Not too bad (I'm not showing the three that burned black!) but certainly not beautiful.

At least they tasted great - better than last time. They tasted like bagels! And really good bagels, too. However, I'd love to be able to make a batch that both looks and tastes great. Can y'all offer any suggestions? I'd greatly appreciate it!


Julia in OK said...

Thats strange! I tried making bagels one time too and they didn't taste like store-bought bagels either.
I'd like to learn how to make them too!

Alison said...

I'm am by no means an expert, but my sister and I made tons of bagels last summer for our farmers market and after many flops we got pretty good at it. Here are some tips:

-Make your dough stiff enough that it can handle a little bit of "handling"- since you move them around so much after shaping them and letting them rise.

-Make sure the water is boiling rapidly. If the water is too rough it can deflate the bagels. You want a calm simmer.

-Experts swear by adding malt syrup to the dough for extra flavor. I tried it, but prefererd seasoning my water with molasses(or malt syrup)and salt.

Hope that helps a little!

Marie said...

I like to make bagels too, but always have at least ten come out deflated. Have any of you figured out how to make good cheese bagels? Mine are never cheesy enough.

Amber said...

Thank you for the tip about stiff dough, Alison - that might be my problem, because my dough was very soft. Making bagels with your sister...hmm, sounds like quite a pleasant cottage industry!
Julia, I hope you find some time to try making bagels - even though mine look funny, I can testify that homemade bagels are much tastier than store-bought ones!
Marie, cheesy bagels sound really good! I've never tried them. What kind of cheese is in them?

Jamie said...

My thought is that maybe you boiled them for a little too long. I usually only boil my bagels for 45 seconds (Only) (and flipping once during this time)and that seems to be enough. I used to work at a bakery and they seemed to only boil bagels a short while...(by the way you posted, it seemed that you left them in for three minutes?) so I would suggest just flash-boiling them, and see how they come out.

Hope this helps,

Amber said...

Thanks for the tip, Jamie.

By the way - I see you're from Pittsburgh. My Dad grew up near there, and I've ridden through it once that I remember. All those bridges! Whew! Do you like it there? I thought it was like a fascinating maze. Memories!

*Anna* said...

We love bagels~I should try making them sometime...I'm quite sure at least *ONE* of my brothers would like them! :)