Everything, Jalapeño-Cheddar, and Dishwasher Bagels
Making bagels was on my list of projects for most of 2016. Once I obtained the hard-to-find ingredients (diastatic malt powder and malt syrup), cleared my schedule for two consecutive days, and watched and rewatched Chef Step's amazing instructional video, I was ready!
A couple things I learned from the bagel project:
- When making bread that will proof for a long time (i.e., overnight or longer), the yeast will eat up all the sugary goodness that would normally caramelize to form a crunchy golden crust. That's fine if you're into Wonder Bread (I am, but only for PB&Js). But if you're going to take a picture of your bread and share it on social media, you want that golden crust! This is where diastatic malt powder comes into play. It converts starches from your flour into sugar, feeding the yeast while your dough ferments.
- One unusual step in the process is to boil your bagels in a mixture of water, malt syrup, and baking soda before you bake them.
- First Pro Tip: The bagels will float at the surface of the water, so a wide and shallow pot is better than a narrow and deep pot. You want to fit as many bagels as you can so that you can boil the bagels in as few batches as possible. I had to do three batches because I don't own any wide pots, and the first batch shriveled up into leathery old-man skin before the third batch was finished. The difference was noticeable even after baking.
- Second Pro Tip: Do not fill your pot with too much water - leave room for bubble-age when you add the baking soda to the hot water. It's ironic because I often use baking soda to clean my stove-top, and after the water mixture boiled over, I used baking soda to clean my baking soda mess.
- Third Pro Tip: When transferring boiled bagels to the baking sheet, move slowly. The bagels are extremely slippery! I had one near-casualty where the bagel slid off my slotted spoon and landed straight into the dishwater that I had been unloading. A dishwasher prong pierced the bagel and deflated its soul. You can see it in cell B1 above.