Ann T's bagels and splitting up tasks

blubirdFebruary 28, 2014

Yesterday I made my first batch of the bagels everyone raves about - Ann T's bagels. They came out just as delectable as everyone promised; they looked almost as good as Ann's. But they're gone and no one complained ;-)

My difficulty with baking bread, any bread, is the extended time it takes for mixing, rising, forming rising again and then finally baking. Bagels add the boiling bit and I rarely have the whole time frame available in one whole chunk, and unless I get up at 4 in the AM, we won't get bagels until well after dinner.

I have read about ways to split up the mixing and rising, perhaps using the fridge, but somehow this blonde head has difficulty with transferring the knowledge from one type of bread to another.

What I'm asking, pretty please, is how to break up the bagel making/baking process perhaps over a period of 2 days. Can I do a slow rise in the fridge? If I can do so, how long do I need to let the dough rest at room temp before forming into bagels?

Please help my poor bagel-deprived family get those tasty bagels.

P.S. Ann, thanks for sharing your recipe.


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Now that you have enjoyed success and know the process, you should read through other methods. Peter Reinhart's 2-day bagel recipe does break up the labor. You could prep the dough on friday and bake Sunday morning. (or Sat, next morning).
It is the first time that requires brain overload. Once you are familiar after a few times, you will know what to look for in your dough and how much time it needs out of the fridge. Depending on your kitchen temp, it is usually 1 1/2- 2hrs rest before oven. Making day-of bagels can be 3-4 hrs before oven. (and ya gotta work) Not hard work really, but not what i want to be doing all morning on my day off.
Read through this recipe....

Here is a link that might be useful: bagels

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:52AM
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Helene, You can definitely breakup the process. Make your dough one day, let it rise, knock it down. Now you can either refrigerate the whole batch, or divide and bake one batch of bagels and refrigerate the remaining dough for a day or two. Dough needs some time to come to room temperature, so plan on at least 1 1/2 hours, sometimes more before you can start to shape the bagels.

One of the things I like about this bagel recipe is that from start to finish is usually less than four hours.

I've tried other bagel recipes and I always come back to this one.

The last bagels I made were a sourdough version.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:28AM
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I figured that I could break up the process, I just didn't know where. Is it possible to make the dough, let it rise, shape it and then refrigerate after shaping but before boiling?

I'm trying to find a method which contracts the time frame perhaps even more. If I would need at least 1 1/2 hours to bring dough back to room temp, then shape and let rise again, boil and bake, I haven't really saved time, just some work.

Sleevendog..I'll look into the Reinhart recipe, but I have to say I've made other bagel recipes, and the only one which comes close in taste to my favorite NY bagels (I'm from Brooklyn) are Ann's. You are so right about making day-of bagels being not hard work but lengthy.

ann t....I saw the pix of those sourdough bagels...they look incredible. That's just what this dumb blonde needs is another step in bagel making. ;-)


    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:09AM
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Ok, so here is how I cheat: put ingredients in bread maker, select dough cycle, set timer for dough ready at 6AM, go to bed.
Wake up to a yeasty aroma filled kitchen.
Set water to boil, shape bagels. Preheat oven. Bake.
Tell husband to run by the deli for salmon on the way home from soccer.
Tell 12yo DS the water is boiling, the oven is hot, the bagels are shaped.
Go do morning yoga wake up and run on treadmill.
Post exercise kitchen is bagelicious!
Bagels are a family funfest. Last weekend 14yo DS made cranberry pecan cream cheese and vegetable cream cheese as special contributions, usually he just makes the coffee and tea.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:18AM
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Helene, I would not shape the bagels and refrigerate, for any length of time or over night because the shaped bagels will continue to rise and over proof.

You might be able to shape all three strands at the same time, put two of the batches into the fridge while you boil and bake one batch. By then the other batches will have risen enough that you could proceed with boiling and baking. You don't really save much time. The only advantage I see with this method is that you get the shaping done all at once, rather than in three steps.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:47AM
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I have a copy of a great baking book called "Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking." Its recipe for classic New York water bagels includes this quote:

After mixing, the dough is allowed to rest for 20 minutes or so to relax the gluten, and then immediately shaped into rings. At that point, the raw bagels are chilled to below 40 F and kept there for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours."

So, if the overnight rest for the shaped bagels was good enough for NY Jewish bakeries of the 50s & 60s, I'm sure it's an OK method.

The recipe produces a very stiff dough:

5 cups high gluten flour
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 Tbsp. diastatic yeast (syrup or powder)
1-1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. warm water

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:51PM
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Localeater, the bread machine was something I checked first, but mine has a limit of 4 3/4 cups of flour and ann t.'s recipe is too big for my bread maker. And then there's no way I'm getting up at 6 am anymore. I have to get up by 7 weekdays, but can I borrow your husband for a nova and lox run?

Ann, I actually wanted to know if you cover your shaped bagels during that 20 minute rise?

Shambo, that' stage sort of timing shortcut I'm looking for. Maybe I'll test that one out with my next version. NY has always claimed to have the best bagels because of NYC water. Ironically, here in central NJ, a new bagel place called strangely enough NY Bagels and Pizza advertised that they used water from NYC exclusively. Don't know how they got their water ...wonder if NY caught them stealing water because they were only open for about 3 months and then disappeared into the night.

I was originally expecting company tomorrow, but we're expecting a significant snowfall and they won't be coming. It looks like I have lots of time to experiment as long as I don't lose power.

I'll post my successes and/or failures, although according to my husband, there's no such thing as a bad batch of home baked bread. We'll see.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:04PM
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Looking at the OP's title quickly, I was thinking it was about the dangerous tasks of splitting bagels. :-)

In the news:

"The number one injury in the Long Island emergency rooms on Sunday mornings was knife wounds from improperly cutting a bagel."


    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:05PM
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Helene, after they are shaped and left to rise, I leave them uncovered.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:58PM
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shambo, that should read diastatic malt, (syrup or powder) not yeast. It's a mis-print.
Diastatic would be fine in the water bath, but non-diastatic might be better in the dough. Diastatic gives a rise but can also make the dough gummy...
You must have a first printing. Check their list on-line. I think maybe as much as four pages of corrections to recipes. (They were talking about it on a bread forum when i was looking for a Bialy recipe.)
It will give it the nice chewy texture. A bagel should be chewy, not light and fluffy.
I really think a bagel needs the malt powder. Not sugar. It adds so much to the texture and flavor of the crust. Also the nice brown color. And in the water bath.
I'm a NewYorker so i don't even eat bagels, lol. But i've had plenty. I'm a Bialy gal by leaps and bounds. Same dough, (with non-diastatic malt powder) but not boiled. Shaped the same, the hole pinched shut, filled with finely diced and sauteed onion,
then baked.
Then again, a bagel is a different thing to different people.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:27PM
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Sleeve, sorry I didn't see your post until today. You're right, of course. I didn't even notice the error because I knew what diastatic malt is and have used it before. Yes, I have an autographed first printing. I was so excited when I heard about the book, that I pre-ordered 3 copies -- one for me, one for my daughter, and one for my daughter-in-law.

I'm an LA girl, so my memories are of the Jewish bakeries in LA county. So much good stuff. Nothing close to it here in Sacramento.

I wanted to add that the recipe used might determine how to break up the tasks. The recipe from the Jewish Bakery book uses 5 cups of high gluten flour, 2 tsp. salt, and only 3/4 tsp. yeast. That's a dense dough with a relatively small amount of yeast. So shaping first and letting everything rest overnight in the fridge will work out fine -- no overproofing. However another recipe with more yeast might not work well at all. In that situation, Ann's advice to let the dough rise in the fridge and shape the next day might be better.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:26AM
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