How to Make Chewy Bagels with a Shiny Crust
Many people enjoy bagels with a crispy and shiny crust and a chewy interior. If you want to make your own bagels, you can get that type of result by using the right ingredients and techniques. Here are some tips to help you make the perfect bagel.
To get chewy bagels, you need high-gluten flour. When it is mixed with water and kneaded, the protein in the flour forms gluten. This gives bagels strength and chewiness. High-gluten flour contains more gluten protein than any other type of flour. You can order high-gluten flour or buy it from a natural foods market or bagel shop. If you cannot find it, you can use unbleached bread flour.
Malt syrup gives bagels their classic flavor. It is also known as barley malt syrup. You can use either diastatically active or nondiastatic syrup, but diastatic malt syrup will give your bagels a better flavor. If you cannot find malt syrup, you can use honey or brown sugar.
Using a sponge starter can improve the bagels’ flavor and texture and help them freeze and thaw better. The sponge starter begins the fermentation process before you make the dough. You can make it from a mixture of yeast, high-gluten flour, and water that sits at room temperature for two hours. The yeast will convert the wheat sugars into carbon dioxide and ethanol. Then you can combine the mixture with the other dough ingredients.
You can extend the fermentation process by letting the dough rise in the refrigerator overnight. This will slow the fermentation process and allow the enzymes to release their flavors.
Bagel dough should be stiff. It needs to be kneaded for a long time to spread the ingredients throughout the dough, hydrate the yeast, and develop gluten bonds. Start kneading the dough in a stand mixer and finish by hand. You will know the dough has been kneaded enough when you can stretch it and it is translucent, firm, stretchy, and not tacky.
Bagels need to be boiled to get a shiny crust. Boiling gelatinizes the starches in the surface to make the bagels shiny and chewy. Adding baking soda to the water makes it alkaline, which makes the bagels shinier after they are baked.