I Made Bagels :) Tips For Successful Baking
I cannot stop with my new standmixer. CANNOT STOP. And because I am resisting the urge to bake ALL THE COOKIES by instead baking any type of bread imaginable, I made bagels. Damn, they’re good.
I cannot take credit for this recipe, as I used this one. Both Dallas & I are super happy with the results. These are bakery bagels for sure, not like store-bought. The original recipe suggests boiling them in a mixture of honey & water for a chewier texture. I used agave, which achieved the same result. I don’t recommend omitting the honey/agave. It makes all the difference!
On a side note, I had no idea that BOILING bagels was a thing. Apparently it’s a crucial step! And it was quite fun to do. If you have some spare time & want to try something new, make bagels. I really enjoyed the process.
Moving on, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to talk about my failed projects so that other bakers out there may learn from my mistakes. I have often struggled with getting my dough to rise, and I’ve learned it’s for a variety of reasons. Here are a few important things to remember:
1) Make sure the water that you dissolve your yeast in is WARM but not HOT. For awhile, I was boiling water in the kettle to use for baking. Bad, bad idea. Extremely hot water will kill your yeast, and water not warm enough won’t activate it. I recommend using the tap, turning it onto the hottest setting & waiting until it is hot to the touch. This method has been working well for me. Many websites will say that your water should be between 105-110 degrees, but for those of us too cheap to buy a thermometer, tap water will do. Let your yeast dissolve for about 10 mins in warm water. It should create a nice foam on top. (If it does not foam, your yeast is likely inactive. In this case, buy new yeast.)
2) Do not skip the sugar. Many times, people will cut out sugar in a recipe in an effort to save calories or eat more nutritiously. I can’t stress this enough, sugar FEEDS the yeast. While it’s easy to get away with it in cookie or brownie recipes, you need it for breads that need to rise (such as pizza dough, bagels, bread, etc.). I like to sprinkle the sugar into the yeast/warm water mixture to give it more opportunity to grow.
3) Mix the salt into the flour, NOT the yeast. I didn’t realize this until recently, but mixing salt into yeast will kill it. Instead, mix it well with your dry ingredients & slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet when ready.
4) When in doubt, avoid bread flour. Maybe it’s just me, but I have very little luck with bread flour. I find that anything I make with it turns into a solid rock, more like a weapon than an ingestible food. I typically use all-purpose white or whole wheat flour. Other times, my go-to’s are brown rice flour and/or oat flour, with additional xantham gum.
5) Knead the dough at least 10 minutes. In order to rise, your dough must be worked through very well. Typically 10 minutes by hand or 8 minutes by standmixer. If you’re dough is stretchy & pliable, it is ready to rise.
6) To retard the rising process, stick it in the fridge. You know when you get the urge to bake late at night & then realize, “actually, I want to go to bed.” If you’re wondering what to do with your dough, have no fear! If it is done rising, DO NOT PUNCH IT. Cover it with a damp, CLEAN kitchen towel & stick it in the fridge. This will stop the rising process & keep your dough fresh. When you are ready to finish your project the next day, punch it down & carry on.
And that’s all! Let me know if you guys have anymore questions about baking. Good luck in your kitchens!
peace, love, food <3