My poor sourdough starter has been sadly neglected. I bet I use it less than once a month. It’s a good thing that starters aren’t as high maintenance as I was afraid they would be.
I am still fixated on bagels, and I figured I’d give sourdough bagels a shot. I used the 100% Sourdough Bagels recipe from Wild Yeast.
I have been mixing my bagel dough by hand. My mixer starts making ominous noises with the stiff bagel dough, and I just don’t want to risk it. No matter how much cheaper it is to make bagels at home than to buy them (never mind how much better they taste) it is not cheaper if you blow out a mixer that cost hundreds of dollars while making them.
This is a smaller recipe, making approximately half as many bagels, though, and I thought I’d try it in the mixer again. I can’t get as much of the flour worked in by hand, no matter how hard I try. So I used my mixer to get all of the flour incorporated, but again it started with the whining, so I took the dough out and finished kneading it by hand.
I did not follow the directions well when making these. First, I shaped them not the old-fashioned way, by making a rope of dough and sticking the ends together, but the way I always do, by sticking my thumb through the ball of dough.
But really, that’s just a matter of aesthetics.
The part I really didn’t follow was the rest periods. My house was cold yesterday, and it took my dough all afternoon to rise enough to “look and feel a bit puffy”. So when it came time to refrigerate them 4 to 8 hours, I refrigerated them one hour and figured that would be fine. I don’t want to be making bagels at midnight.
The extra refrigeration time is really to add to the flavor, not a matter of structural integrity or anything. Although I do also think some bagel recipes require the refrigeration period so that you are putting a cold bagel into the water. That way it doesn’t rise as much, giving a denser final product.
I also didn’t monitor boiling time closely. This recipe calls for a 20 second boil, and I am used to more like a minute, so some got boiled longer than others because I forgot to watch.
Through sheer laziness I didn’t read the instructions at the end of the recipe closely, so I didn’t turn my oven down 25 degrees after the bagels were in, which meant they baked for only 15 minutes or so before being well-browned. If I’d put them in the oven for 26 minute and gone off to do other things, I would have had bagel briquettes, and only myself to blame. Learn from my mistakes, blog readers, because I probably won’t.
But, all’s well that ends well. The sourdough taste was subtle, which my dearest husband prefers. I’ll save this recipe for the next time I look into the back of the fridge and think “Oh yeah, I have a sourdough starter”.
Just a note – if you like to use sesame seeds, they adhere better to the bagels if you brush the tops with egg whites before sprinkling the seeds on between boiling and baking the bagels. They do stick if you don’t use egg whites, but not nearly as firmly, and they come off in the bag, in the toaster, and all over the table.