This is a first for me…and I do not think it will be a last either. My first bagel baking experience was very successful. I know there is room for improvement, but it was a fun experience and I can’t wait to make them again!
A friend and I decided to go at this challenge together. Little did we know when we decided to get together to do it, it was a two-day recipe. So we decided to go ahead and each make a batch at home on our own and then meet the next day to do the easy part, baking them. We made cinnamon raisin bagels and then also plain bagels with some great toppings. We followed Annie’s Eats recipe which you can find here for the cinnamon raisin and here for the plain with toppings. The recipes are VERY similar. The cinnamon raisin ones obviously needs the addition of the cinnamon and raisin and for the plain ones, the topping that is sprinkled on top after boiled, which the cinnamon raisin does not have.
A few suggestions/tips we have learned and will use next time we go at baking bagels:
1. You can start mixing the dough with a Kitchen Aid BUT if you do not have the large one, you will want to continue kneading the dough with your own hands; unless you want a reason to get a new one, by all means, go ahead and overwork yours!
2. When letting the sponge sit (for 2 hours) or the shaped bagels rest (for 20 minutes), I suggest heating your oven to the lowest temp and turning it off then placing the sponge/bagels in the oven so it is in a warm place – unless it is a hot summer day, then that probably isn’t needed. This will especially be needed if you let the shaped bagels sit for 20 minutes and they don’t ‘float’ (see recipe). Then put them in a warmer place, checking every 5-10 minutes. You kind of have to use your own judgment for this.
3. When covering with plastic for the overnight rest, you do need to keep the plastic tight so no air can get it but I would probably let them rest in pans with a higher edge than my one-inch sheet pan. This may have pressed them down and didn’t keep them as thick as I thought they would become. Also be sure to spray the wrap OR bagel with cooking spray/oil so your bagels don’t stick to the wrap and get stretched out when removing.
4. When ready to boil and bake, we added 1/4 cup baking soda to our water instead of 1 T. This is what we decided to do, not sure if the outcome was changed dramatically because of this.
5. If topping with cheese, we suggest leaving it off for the first 5 minutes of baking and then topping it with cheese during the last 5 minutes — as you can see in the picture ours turned a bit brown, but I really LOVED the cheese bagels!
6. AND finally…instead of using malt powder, we used brown sugar and it seemed to work out fine!
If you have ANY questions about making bagels please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to try and answer your questions, especially if you’re going to take the adventure of bagel making!
I sure hope these tips don’t discourage you to try this recipe out. It is a bit more invovled, but very worth it in the end! Please remember you can divide the work over two days (or three if you want to skip a day). The second day is definitly easier than the first. Have fun with it!