Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bagels: Plain & Cinnamon Raisin

I didn't complete the Daring Baker's challenge this month. This is my first time skipping a challenge, so I feel really bad about it. I did, however, make the gingerbread dough and took process photos. The dough is now sitting in the freezer in Texas while I'm in Arkansas with my mother. So, there's no chance I'll be making a fresh batch of dough especially considering how much flour is required for an almost inedible creation.

Also, I'm not a creative person; thus, I didn't get excited about this challenge nearly as much as many other DBers did. I did enjoy looking at their work, though. They did a lovely job and worked very hard. I highly suggest going to the Daring Baker's blogroll to see their beautiful work.

Instead of making a gingerbread house, I made bagels for the first time! I've been wanting to make these chewy circles of bread for the longest time. However, since I'm not that crazy about eating them, I had to put the making of them on hold till the right moment arrived.

Well, the moment arrived when my mother said that she needed to go to the store to buy more bagels. I asked her if she would prefer to have homemade bagels made by her loving daughter or the store-bought variety. Fortunately, she quickly stated that she wanted the former.

I used the Peter Reinhart recipe because 1) he is one of the masters of bread-making; 2) I love his pizza dough recipe; and 3) most other bloggers prefer his recipe for bagels. Not surprisingly, making bagels the Reinhart way was a two-day affair, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Sure, you could go to the store and buy some bagels in under 10-20 minutes, but making homemade bagels is definitely a fun labor of love that yields bagels that are a million times better than the store version. Based on my mother's preferences, I split the dough into two and made plain and cinnamon raisin bagels.

Again, I made some process photos. Remember that the majority of these photos were made at night, so they don't look great, but they clearly illustrate what I did. Enjoy!

I am submitting this post to Yeastspotting, a great site for makers and lovers of homemade bread.

Plain and Cinnamon Raisin Bagels (printable version)
found on Smitten Kitchen from Peter Reinhart's The Baking Apprentice
Yield: 12 extremely large, 16 regularly large or 24 miniature bagels

1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour (see note below)
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

Plain Dough
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast (I used 1 tsp b/c of the cinnamon raisin dough recipe below)
3 3/4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons malt powder or 1 tablespoon dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar (see note below)

Cinnamon Raisin Dough
1 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons malt powder or 1 tablespoon dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar
2 cups loosely packed raisins, rinsed with warm water to remove surfact sugar, acid, and natural wild yeast

To Finish
1 tablespoon baking soda
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting.

Optional topping for Cinnamon-Raisin bagels: melted butter with cinnamon and sugar on top. (YUM! This was a great topping)

1. Day one: To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl.

Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter).

My sponge didn't look like pancake batter with the required amount of water...
So, I had to add more water until it looked like pancake batter. Add little amounts at a time if this happens to you.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly.

After 2 hours...

It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt, honey, or brown sugar. (I split the dough at this point and added the cinnamon, sugar, and rinsed-off raisins to one half of the dough). [For cinnamon raisin bagels, increase the yeast in the final dough to 1 teaspoon, and add 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon and 5 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the final dough. Rinse 2 cups of loosely packed raisins with warm water to wash off surface sugar, acid, and natural wild yeast. Add the raisins during the final 2 minutes of mixing.]

I didn't have malt powder, so I used brown sugar, and it came out perfectly.
Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients for a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough. Can you see how the sponge has deflated?

I had to knead the dough in the mixer and by hand. It was a tough dough. I don't suggest putting all of the dough in the machine once all the flour has been added. I read horror stories about the mixer not being able to handle it well. Good thing I had divided this dough out for two different flavors!
The plain dough waiting to be, I mean kneaded.
Cin-Raisin dough has been beaten to death!
I had to keep adding flour or water to get the right consistency...
Plain dough has been kneaded...
3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 71 degrees F. If the dough seems to dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

Yeah, my dough was not satiny, but it was pliable. Look at all that flour on the cin-raisin dough!

4. Immediately divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired (my bagels were 3 ounces each and yielded 9 plain and 9 cinnamon-raisins). Form the pieces into rolls.

5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment or Silpat and mist lightly with spray oil. Proceed with shaping the dough balls into bagels.

SHAPING: Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough, and...

...gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter (half of this for a mini-bagel).
The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots.)

7. Place each of the shaped pieces 1-2 inches apart on the pans.

Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and slip each pan into a food-grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20-30 minutes.

8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water.

The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it.

If it floats (YEAAAA!),...
...immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float. Return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.

9. DAY TWO (or when you are ready to bake the bagels): Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda.

Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds) for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, flip them over and boil them for another 2 minutes. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined or Silpat-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you decide to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil to prevent the bagels from sticking to the surface.)

If you want to top the savory bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water (top the cinnamon-raisin bagels after baking them!). You can use any of the suggestions in the ingredients list or a combination.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled,... the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 5-10 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown (I baked mine for 5 at 500 and then 10 minutes at 450). You may bake them darker if you prefer.

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: When they come out of the oven and are still hot, brush the tops with melted butter and dip them in cinnamon sugar to create a cinnamon-sugar crust, if desired.


  1. I've used Peter Reinhart's recipe for bagels before too. I loved it!

    You shaped thm so nicely!

  2. My gosh that is labor intensive. I think for someone like me, it would be best to watch this process first, as I am TERRIBLE at following directions... although your instructions were very detailed!

    Your pictures look great and I bet your bagels were delish!


  3. Wow oh wow. In my opinion, creating bagels are even more challenging than a gingerbread house—kudos!

  4. Homemade bagels! I'm so impressed! You have a very lucky mom!

  5. I missed this month's challenge too but am glad you posted your bagels anyway - I have got Peter's book too but the first recipe I tried from his book was so-so... I should just give it another chance... Thanks for sharing!

  6. How did I miss these? These look great and you didn't use lye. I have only made bretzel buns and used baking soda.

  7. I didn't make the DB gingerbread house either, and I also didn't make the bagels that we had Christmas morning, so you're ahead of me. I would have loved to have some of these -- they look great!

  8. Your bagels look fantastic! Homemade cinnamon raisin bagels taste so much better than storebought. The cinnamon is so much more noticeable, which I love.

  9. The bagles looks great. The Idea to make sweet bagels with cinammon and raisins is new to me but what a great Idea!

  10. WOW. Just amazing. I am not a big fan of bagels (surprising since I'm a NY girl), but yours look delicious. I bet homemade makes all the difference. I think your bagels more than made up for missing December's DB (I missed it too :P).


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