I have been testing different bagel recipes over the past couple of months. I will get into the different recipes I have tried below, but before that, I have a few general observations about making bagels:
- Most recipes I have come across suggest rolling the dough into a rope and then creating a circle by pinching together the ends. Whenever I try to do this, the ends come apart during the boiling process. I have found that it is much easier to roll the dough into a ball and make a hole in the middle with your thumb.
- Boiling the bagels makes them plump up a bit, so if they seem a little small after you’ve formed them, don’t worry.
- Put bagels in a large zip lock bag and freeze them to make them last longer! Slice the bagels before freezing them to save yourself some time later.
The first recipe I tried was from the Food Network. The bagels came out a little thin, because I had formed them into balls and then pressed them down. I tried the recipe again without squashing them a couple weeks later. The bagels flatten a little in the boiling and baking process, so the shape comes out ok in the end. Unfortunately, the bagels didn’t have much flavor, so I moved on to a different recipe.
For my second attempt, I tried New York-Style bagels from the Sophisticated Gourmet blog, but the dough came out so sticky and unmanageable that I had to dump it (what a waste).
Finally, I used a bagel recipe from AllRecipes.com, which has never steered me wrong before. I think that using bread flour instead of all-purpose flour adds the flavor that was missing from the Food Network recipe. The All Recipes batch made six very large and somewhat doughy bagels on my first try and eight slightly-too-small bagels on my second try. I have found that I can make eight good-sized bagels from this recipe if, after I shape them into bagels, I let them rise again before boiling them.