Everyone’s tried baking bagels at least once haven’t they? Some turn out like biscuits and some are a bit tasteless. There’s a longer article on this website about how to create the authentic bagel flavour and texture, about barley malt syrup and boiling to encourage the chewy crust. But look no further for a quick and easy recipe for bagels with an authentic bagel flavour. When I say “quick”, I mean quick to prepare. It’s the overnight proving that makes these bagels special.
What are bagels made of?
Bagels are made from a handful of easy to source ingredients being flour, salt, yeast, water and barley malt syrup. It’s what you do with the ingredients that makes a bagel taste and feel the way it does. This includes allowing the dough time to rise, letting the dough ferment and briefly boiling before baking. The is a fat-free recipe, using no oil.
What’s the secret to a bagel’s flavour?
The “secret” to baking the best tasting bagels is to let them prove slowly overnight. Science Direct says: “Traditional bagels develop much of their flavor and distinct crust characteristics from a long, cold fermentation step called retardation.” To you and me, that’s 18 hours in a fridge! But if you’re the impatient type and can’t stand delayed gratification, skip that step and get baking your bagels the same day. Don’t complain though if they aren’t quite as tasty as the overnight bagels in this recipe!
Recipe for making 6 overnight bagels
2 cups (400 g) of strong white bread flour
1/2 tablespoon of “easy bake” yeast
1/2 tablespoon and a bit of salt
1.5 tablespoons of barley malt extract
210g of lukewarm water (around 36 degrees celsius / 97 fahrenheit)
Preparation time: 100 minutes, waiting time approx 18 hours.
Baking time: 16 minutes
Day One: Start preparing at 10am. Bagels should be covered and in the refrigerator by about 11.30am
Day Two: Take the proved bagels out of the fridge around 7.15am and let them come to room temperature for an hour. They should have filled out, looking puffy but firmish to the touch. Boiling and baking takes about 25 minutes.
We use weight measurements to keep everything accurate as cup measurements can vary. This recipe should produce approx. 660g of dough which will make 6 x 110g bagels. We’re aiming for an optimum 57% hydration as bagel dough is quite dry by nature.
Bagel baking method
- Add 1 x tablespoon of barley malt extract to the lukewarm water and mix in
- Put the yeast in a bowl, pour in the water mixture, stir, cover with a tea towel and leave to stand for 10 minutes – you should get an even froth across the top of the water.
- Add the remaining barley malt extract and stir.
- Add the flour and salt to the mixing bowl then add the yeast mixture. Combine the flour, salt and yeast mixture, kneading by hand for 10 minutes. ( Stand mixers can’t easily handle the heavy dry dough mixture )
- Leave the dough ball to rise to double size in a covered bowl for an hour
- Divide the dough into 6 equal parts using scales to weigh the dough balls
- Shape bagels by rolling out into sausage shape and wrapping around hand and rolling to join
- Place the bagel rings on a floured tray, in a sealed plastic bag for 18 or more hours in refrigerator (12 hours is OK)
The Next Day – Bagels for breakfast
To complete this bagel recipe, breakfast ingredients ready, to go we need to be up early. I remove the bagels from the refrigerator around 6am.
- Next day, remove tray from fridge, place bagels on room temperature surface for an hour and cover
- Boil a wide pan of water and add half a teaspoon of baking powder (this promotes caramelisation and can give the bagel a pretzel-like flavour) – you could add sugar, honey or barley malt syrup to improve the glaze but we like baking powder
- Boil your bagels for 15 seconds each side – use a slotted spoon to retrieve and drain the bagels
- Stand boiled bagels on a rack for 5 minutes then transfer to a baking tray
- Bake at 200c for 16 minutes turning tray 180 degrees after 8 minutes
- Turn out onto a rack and let cool for 20 minutes
- The bottoms of the bagels should be a golden brown colour when they’re fully baked. The surface of the bagel should be covered in small blisters.
Leave a comment
This overnight bagel recipe is quite simple really but it needs patience, and eating anything fresh from the oven is so satisfying. If you’ve tried this recipe for bagels why not leave a comment and let us know how it went?