Friday, June 1, 2012

Peter Reinhart's Bagel Recipe--My Last Batch of Homemade Bagels

Not everything is better homemade. Bagel, is an example. After trying out a one day bagel recipe, I went for Peter Reinhart's bagel recipe, which I read from Smitten Kitchen. The second recipe definitely taste better than the first because of the honey and additional time for flavor to develop. However, it's such a tedious process, and I still didn't find the NewYork flavor in my homemade bagel.

When my bagels first came out from the oven, it had a harder crust and a chewy body. Something is lacking here. Something flavorful. Maybe it's the water? I've heard how some bagel shops in LA boast that they import water from New York just for their bagels. Does it taste better?

Anyhow, the homemade bagels lost its crust the next morning. The interior lost its bouncy-ness. What replaced it was a leather shoe sole texture. Bummer. I took two days for those babies to marinate in the fridge, and they won't give me a longer shelf life. Since Ii is impossible for me to finish 10 bagels or a batch of bagels in one day, I'm calling an end to my bagel journey.

Bagels, you will be my lazy breakfast when I'm late for class. On second thought, I'm never going back to school, so scratch that! Bagels, you will be my craving till I visit New York again! Or when I take my lazy bum to Beverly Hills for one of those made-with-water-imported-from-NYC bagels.

a plain bagel slice in half and stuffed with cream cheese and smoked salmon
Homemade bagel with salmon and cream cheese
Even though I've had enough of bagel making (after two tries), you should still try them at home. Maybe you will like your homemade flavor more than the store-bought ones. Some bakeries may claim that they use the best ingredients, but you can't get that commercial taste out of your food from time to time. I believe in trying everything before giving up. If you never try, how would you know that it isn't for you?

First off get the recipe from Smitten Kitchen by clicking on the hyperlink provide above. The first thing the recipe calls for is a sponge. You mix your yeast with flour to get porous batter like below.

the dough has visible holes all over, very sticky, and gooey looking
bagel sponge
Then you add rest of the flour into the sponge and knead everything into a hard and stubborn dough. It will be more difficult to knead than a tang zhong dough. Even though the recipe said it will take you 15 minute to knead, it took me 40 minutes for the dough to pass the window-pane test. When you feel the dough is smooth on the outside, snitch a little piece off, press it down against the counter, then hold between your middle and index fingers in both hands, stretch the dough out. The dough is ready to shape once a thin layer of dough is visible when you stretch it out. If the dough rips before you see a thin film, then continue kneading till you get the right consistency.

Afterwards, divide the dough into 100g pieces. This will make small to medium sized bagels. For larger ones, similar to the size you find at coffee shops, divide dough into 120g pieces. Next roll each one into a ball. Press both of your thumbs into the middle of the dough, don't be too eager to poke a hole though it. Rotate the dough between your hands with your thumbs pressing lightly into the middle. This way you'll stretch the middle out evenly. When you feel like you got a shallow dip in the middle, poke a thumb through. Now put both of your thumbs into the hole and stretch it out while rotating the dough between your hands. It's easy to put your index finger through and spin the bagel to get a close to perfect circle in the middle.

bagels are shaped and laid out on a baking sheet while you shape the rest of the doughs
weight, roll, then shape
When you shaped all your bagels, cover them in light cloth or plastic wrap. Place the tray in fridge for up to two days.

When you're ready to bake them, preheat the oven and get a pot of boiling water. Next boil the bagel for one to two minutes on each side.

give the raw bagel a bath before baking it
fresh mini bagel from the oven

a light golden crust forms right out from the oven
I hope you enjoy your bagel journey!

No comments:

Post a Comment