Bagel questions

I’ve made my first two batches of bagels, and they are indeed delicious, but I have some questions. The main concern is that either in the boiling or in the ice bath, apparently some water is getting in some of the bagels. Then when they bake, the water may boil off, but I’m left with a kinda wet section of the bagel (my daughter called it “bagel snot”!). What is happening? How can I avoid that?

Second, when I roll the dough balls out into a rope, and then wrap it around my palm to make a circle, rolling the part under my hand to “weld” the ends together, I invariably get a bagel that is fatter on one side and thinner on the welded side. I can’t figure out how to do this so I get an even bagel all the way around.

Third, a question about the rising process. If I leave them in the fridge overnight, it doesn’t look like they rose much, but Eric says that they can go directly into the boiling water from the fridge. Don’t they need to rise more? In my two batches, I let them sit out of the fridge for a few hours and they visibly rose. But then they are a bit wobbly when I handle them. Is this why I’m getting water in them?

Finally, I’m wanting “fatter” bagels, or another way to put it is bagels with a smaller hole. Any suggestions for that? I tried making fewer bagels with the recipe (made 16 bagels instead of 18 with the 18 bagel recipe), so that there is more dough per bagel, and that helped a little, I think. I kinda think the issue is that the hole size ends up being determined by the girth of my hand when I “weld” the ends together. Is there another way to make the bagel round other than wrapping it around your hand?

Thanks for any help.

Hi Jeff,

I’ve had that happen too. It’s been a while but I’m pretty sure it was from leaving the dough too long in the ice bath. The dough should only be in there for as long as it takes you to get through boiling a batch of bagels for an oven load. It helps to move through the steps kinda fast.

I think bagels are supposed to be uneven. I mean, not really, but it’s totally normal to have a fat side. I wouldn’t worry about that one.

There are a lot of variables around proofing time before, during and after refrigeration. The wobbly could be water from the ice bath or over proofing or a combination or neither. I can’t really tell. Try to solve the water thing first and then work on tweaking the proofing times. Sometimes it just takes a fair bit of trial and error. Bagels aren’t the easiest thing in the world to get right.

You don’t have to use the wrap around the palm technique to shape bagels. Maybe try forming the bagel dough into a ball and then poking a hole in the middle and shape it that way. Would be a lot easier to get a smaller hole.

thanks, that’s helpful. I’ll give those things a try for the next batch.

Now that I’ve had more time to think about it, I’m starting to doubt my first reply. The water getting into the bagels may have had more to do with over proofing prior to boiling and/or boiling too long which has the same effect as over proofing - the bagels get too poofy and susceptible to water infiltrating them. So unless someone else can chime in here and set me straight, I guess my advise would be to beware of over proofing, over boiling and possible also over ice bathing.

All that makes sense to me. The “floppy” over-proofed bagels are already a problem I suspect, and then I boiled them for 3 minutes, and then put them in the ice bath (didn’t time that, but probably about 3 minutes, too). That’s three reasons that water might get in. Next batch I’ll boil "em pretty much right out of the fridge, and limit the time in the boil and ice baths.

I’m unclear how long they should be in the boiling water.

30 seconds to a few minutes. Depends on how well proofed they are before putting them in the water. It’s one of the many things that you develop a sense for through trial and (hopefully not too much) error.

Wanted to provide an update to my schooling in the world of bagel-making. I took the advice others have offered here. Boiled the bagels essentially right out of the fridge, rather than letting them rise a few hours after coming out of the oven. I only boiled them for like a minute, and likewise, only a minute or so in the ice bath. All this eliminated the wet parts of the bagels.

I also took Eric’s advice about ditching the wrap-around-the-hand method of forming the bagels, and instead formed a ball, then flattened and punched a hole through the center. This works really well, and frankly is easier and faster than the wrap-around-the-hand method in the video, and also allows good control over size and evenness of the bagel. Just simple and works well.

For my next batch, I did all the above, but still used 10% more dough per bagel (used the 18 bagel recipe, but made 16 bagels). These looked fantastic all the way through, until I took 'em out of the oven - they were more like kaiser rolls than bagels - no hole! It just disappeared in the oven bounce, I guess. Still delicious, but lacked that essential bagel shape, and it’s attendant extra crust.

Today I made my next batch, and went back to making 18 bagels from the 18 bagel recipe, and they came out great. So I think i’ve finally graduated from my bagel-making class, ready to go out and populate the world with great home-made bagels.

Thanks to Eric and everyone here.

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Yay! My first batch of organic sourdough bagels! But they are very gooey in the center. I think the problem was that I used quick rise yeast for a bread machine; they rose too much overnight, and the center holes were pretty much swollen shut. Then probably too long in the ice bath. And there are enough sesame seeds all over my kitchen to fill the wild bird feeder…

My first attempt was so disappointing. Thought I followed everything to the letter. I used the Mockmill 100 and ground my own flour 50/50 hard red and hard white berries. Sifted the bran out of the white. All looked good proofed in fridge overnight. Let proof again out of fridge 2 2 1/2 hrs. Boiled 4 min iced about 1min topped and baked. There were some, most were doughy Inside, But good crust, but mostly flat. Basically inedible. So much time and expense to be so saddened. I do see where making the balls and poking a hole would have solved some of the issues. But not sure if there were other mistakes I could have avoided. Now I’m afraid to burn up more time and expense to try again. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I’ve been boiling about 1 minute, and icing 1 minute. As Eric wrote above, there’s some trial and error, and also responding to where the dough seems to be when you pull the trays out of the refrigerator.

I’m guessing based on how well-proofed your bagels looked before the boil, that the boiling went too far. I find that even the time between my first and second batch of nine bagels, the bagels warm up and some further proofing happens. (I should leave the second tray in the refrigerator I suppose.)

Here’s a play by play of a yeast batch I did. Lately I’ve been doing them sourdough.

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Thank you for the reply.:grinning::paw_prints:

You’re welcome. I don’t know if you’re using a stand mixer for your bagel dough, but 18 bagels worth of dough sure gave my KitchenAid (pro 7 qt) a workout. I had to screw this tab back in! All is well though.

Actually I was using my recently purchased kitchenaid 7qt pro. It struggled a bit but got it done. Motor did stay hot for awhile.

That’s a funny coincidence :slight_smile:

I’ve been happy with the mixer – I can mix a lot of dough and also make a perfect pile of whipped cream using only 1 cup of heavy cream in that humongous bowl, so my needs are met lol.