I made some tweaks after my last attempt at homemade bagels didn’t turn out as well as I had liked. I figured that there wasn’t the right proportion of water in the last batch. The dough was too dry, which made it nearly impossible to work with, leading to lumpy bagels. I also had probably baked them for a little too long. This time, I set out to try the same King Arthur recipe again with a few changes:
-I split the dough into two batches, with two different hydration ratios
-I boiled the bagels instead of trying to steam them
-I baked for less time
I didn’t adjust the starter recipe, but it looks less dry this time. The difference is probably due to the fact that I still measured flour by volume rather than weight. It may also have been a bit warmer.
I decided to aim for a target hydration ratios (amount of water/amount of flour) of 40% (left) and 60% (right). I think I did some math wrong and ended up with ratios of 38% and 51%. I didn’t know at the time that I think most hydration ratios cited in other sources are by weight. By weight, the dough had ratios of 56% (right in bagel territory) and 76% (higher than ciabatta territory!).
The dough on the left started a little scraggly but came together pretty quickly. The dough on the right was sticky and stayed that way.
Here’s a photo of the doughs after a 90 minute rise. The dough on the right looks like oobleck.
Boiling went okay. I used regular sugar instead of brown sugar or malt powder, which wasn’t that great of a move. The goopy and floppy wet bagels ended up absorbing a lot of the sugar and had too sweet of a taste to them in the end. They kind of reminded me of dumplings. The drier bagels still had some wrinkles but were a lot smoother than the last batch I made.
Here’s the batch from the drier dough. I thought they looked pretty great! They felt good too – the last batch had a bit of a hollow, hardened feel to them. These felt softer and.. bagely. The crust was still a bit hard but not too hard. Note that the garlic is slightly burnt – which is fine with me. I think I started with frozen garlic chunks to slow their baking/burning process down a bit so that they weren’t completely charred at the end.
I didn’t bother taking pictures of the “wet dough” bagels, but they tasted okay – like a super chewy pizza crust. One or two of them were a little too doughy inside maybe because they took on too much additional water in the boiling process. I wasn’t too unhappy though – I ended using the higher hydration recipe for pizza dough. More to come in Part 3!