This is my second try at baking sourdough bagels based on a recipe published by Paul at Yumarama.
The first time was a bit of a fiasco. I had then used Unbleached Bread Flour plus Gluten, and a small amount of rye that was in my levain/starter. The mix was so dry that in a fit of panic I added more water. The resulting dough was wet and sticky. The bagels going into the boiling pot were limp and pitiful.
Moreover, I had opted for the rolling method for shaping the bagels instead of the poking one. The seals were not good at all so that half of the bagels ended up being just long strips of dough! I have now found a neat trick to shape the bagels, which I will share below. It’s not the traditional way, I know. I also know that if I practice, practice and practice some more, I will get the hang of it. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of time. Really! There is still so much to learn in this field that I have chosen to devote time and effort to other aspects of breadmaking. Hence the trick here.
Same goes for mixing the dough. As I wrote in a previous post, I am now using a hand-held drill and a mixing paddle to mix my dough. Mind you, it’s just for the preliminary mixing of autolysed dough & levain & any other ingredients. That tool costs less than $150 and the paddle is $12. It’s easy on my pocket book but more importantly it’s easy on my elbows and wrists. And it works! Here again, it’s not the traditional way and certainly not elegant and posh. It just works for me and my dough.
So here goes the recipe and method - for 10 bagels of 100 g each – total dough weight is 1000 g.
First I must note some changes that I made after my first try. Levain hydration was increased. No gluten was used. Flour mix was 60% Unbleached Bread Flour + 35% Unbleached All Purpose Flour + 5% Stone Ground Rye Flour. Amount of salt used was decreased to 1% from 2% in the first try (baker’s percentage). I found those first bagels to be too salty for my taste. I did not want to eliminate the salt altogether as I understand that salt is an important ingredient in breadmaking.
As for method, here too some changes were in order. I did a partial autolyse instead of full autolyse, i.e. only the Unbleached Bread Flour & the Rye Flour were autolysed with the full amount of water added. The reason behind was that I did not want to find myself in the same conundrum as the first time when the dough ran out of moisture. It was then so very dry that I kept adding water haphazardly and ended up with a messy dough. This time I wanted to keep control over the process. Moreover, keeping in mind that part of the water content of the recipe was held up in the 100% hydration levain, I was sure to run out of moisture had I autolysed the full amount of the flour mix. So, I held on to the 35% Unbleached All Purpose Flour. Autolyse time was 30 minutes. Here I added the salt, working it lightly into the autolysed dough & rolling the dough around a bit in the bowl so it gets well coated with the salt in the bowl.
At that time, the 50% hydration levain-chef has been brought up to 100% hydration. Sugar, malt syrup and 1/8 tsp of cinnamon powder were stirred in the levain mix and that was added to the autolysed dough. I could have held up the cinnamon owing to its nefarious effect on the yeast but that knowledge came a bit late in the day. Everything was mixed using the drill & paddle.
The remaining Unbleached All Purpose Flour was gradually added to the mix as well as part of the olive oil. Some of the oil was kept for kneading after the machine mix. Once the dough looked as if everything has been fairly well incorporated (about 2 minutes of mixing), it was transferred onto a wooden board brushed with some of the recipe’s olive oil.
The dough was then kneaded lightly (about 1 minute) and the remaining olive oil worked in. And here is where I part ways with the original recipe from Paul. The dough was transferred into a wooden well-oiled bowl, covered with plastic film and put into a wine cooler to bulk ferment for 36 hours [approximate temperature: 8º C / 46º F].
Bulk fermentation was followed with two sets of S & F at 20 minutes interval. The raisins that have been previously cut in two were added within the folds. I may soften the raisins a bit next time around as a few of them cut through the dough's skin. Not good. After 40 minutes of S & F and rest, the dough was divided into 10 parts of 100 g each. Working quickly, each part was rolled and put onto a parchment lined tray, underneath a barely damp towel.
Each roll was then re-rolled to a length that would fit around a 2-in cookie cutter (that’s my trick), with a bit of overlap. I found it to be easier to seal the rolls of dough that way.
The shaped bagels were kept underneath the damp towel for a final proof of about 20 minutes.
They were then boiled & baked following Paul’s recipe. And that’s that.
Levain 100% hydration
175 g flour [I always use a mix of 80% Unbleached All Purpose Flour & 20% Stone Ground Rye Flour for my levains]
175 g water
100% Flour – 565 g [Pre-mix flours: 390 g made up of 234 g Unbleached Bread Flour + 136 g Unbleached All Purpose Flour + 19 g Rye, to which is added 175 g from the levain.]
1% Sea Salt - 6 g [I used fleur de sel for this batch]
4% Malt Syrup - 23 g
2% Olive oil - 11 g
3% Sugar - 17 g
7% Raisins - 40 g
60% hydration – 339 g [Pre-mix liquid : 164 g plus 175 g from levain.]
1/8 tsp of cinnamon powder