For the month of MARCH we’re making:
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For March, we’re making Bagels.
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Tip 1: Use Bread Flour!
I don’t recommend substituting the bread flour with all-purpose flour in this recipe as the texture will suffer. The high protein content in bread flour is what allows the gluten to develop to create a stiff dough that turns into chewy well-shaped bagels. If you’re going to the trouble of making bagels from scratch, you may as well use one of the primary ingredients required for the best texture! Bread flour is the only flour that this recipe has been successfully tested with.
Tip 2: How to Shape Bagels
Bagels are made with a basic stiff yeast dough. We basically let the dough rise, shape it into 8 balls, then let those balls rise again. Then, in order to get the bagel shape, you simply use your index finger to poke a hole through the center and twirl it around your finger to stretch that hole out.
Tip 3: Boil Bagels Before Baking
In order for the bagels to develop that well browned exterior and slightly dense chewy texture, they’re actually boiled briefly before baking. This works because the boiling water sets the exterior crust before it hits the oven, preventing the bagels from rising very much (which also maintains the bagel hole shape) while further developing that browned exterior.
The reason we add barley malt to the boiling water is to further develop that browned crust and to give it that distinct flavor we all know and love. I also add a little bit of baking soda to elevate the pH of the water solution to encourage more browning on the bagel’s crust.