Are Australia’s Bagels Half-Baked?


I’ve never met an Australian bagel I didn’t dislike. (I know that’s grammatically a triple-negative, but it feels much better to vent this way.) And yes, if you’re thinking of that place that’s supposed to be really good, I’ve been there. All the Jewish bakeries in Bondi? Yep. That one in Bellevue Hill? Tick. Those places in Melbourne’s Caulfield, St Kilda or Fitzroy. Yessiree. The cool new bakery in Bronte? Love their bread, hate their bagel. I’ve done the research, and the reality is, our bakers just don’t get it.

For a country that produces so much good food, bagels are a blight on our record. For some reason there’s an epidemic of round bread going around, an apparently contagious syndrome that takes bread dough, moulds it in the shape of a bagel and produces a dry piece of bread baked as the letter ‘O’. No wonder everyone toasts their bagels – it’s the only way to conjure a sliver of palatability. Oh, and if you feel like mentioning your love of those sugary, alien-looking Aussie abominations called blueberry bagels, don’t do it. Just silently admit to yourself that you really like donuts. And really, wouldn’t you be better off stuffing your face at Krispy Kreme?

The shame in all this is that bagel-making isn’t rocket science. That’s what I assumed and confirmed over the past 24 hours in my own experiment of making bagels – which, in truth, put every mediocre bagel I’ve ever bought in Australia to shame. Not only did it turn out to be distinctly possible, it was achievable in my paltry home oven. And most of my bagels shapes were just plain wrong. And some were shrivel-skinned, oblong and with unholy large holes. But no matter – they were easily the best bagels I’ve had since returning from New York last October.

So what were the keys to my success? Well, let’s start with the challenging cooking method that most bagel-makers around here find difficult to comprehend. Boiling. I’ll say it again. Boiling. Boy-el-eeeng. How hard is that, really? A bagel, is not a bagel, doesn’t even approach being a bagel, can’t be admitted the school of fair-dinkum, real-deal bagel … unless you BOIL it first.

Did I say “steaming”? No, I did not say steaming. Did I say “Inject heaps of moisture into your commercial oven?” Nup. but just in case there’s still any confusion, I’m talking about a large pot, filled with water, heated to 100C degrees. It is not optional. It is not an extra step. It is the basics – nay, the core essence – for producing a bagel: a beautifully moist and chewy, steamy, flavour-packed yeasty creation with a slight outer crunch that makes for a magnificent contrast in textures.

Now that we’ve got that straight, I can admit that making my own bagels wasn’t exactly a cakewalk. First off, I needed to find an inspired, reliable recipe. And after plenty of online research, I can report that there are as many moronic bagel recipes out there as there are cutesy-cringing cupcake blogs and George Dubya Bush highlight reels.


To help me in my bagel-making pursuit, I enlisted long-time friend and fellow food writer Deb Elkind, who’s spent enough time in North America to know her bagels from her bialys. After days of research, I tracked down an intricate recipe drawn up by Johanne Blank entitled “Real Honest Jewish Purist’s Bagels”. I mean, how can you not love a recipe that warns about bagel shaping like this: “DO NOT, however, give in to the temptation of using a doughnut or cookie cutter to shape your bagels. This will pusht them out of the realm of Jewish Bagel Authenticity and give them a distinctly Protestant air.” Or like this: “The bagels will not be perfectly shaped. They will not be symmetrical. This is normal. This is okay. Enjoy the diversity. Just like snowflakes, no two genuine bagels are exactly alike.”

Deb, on the other hand, proved her time-efficiency skills by merely raiding her cookbook collection and conjuring Rose Levy Birnbaum’s The Bread Bible. My aquired recipe waxed on for three pages. Deb’s was an eight-page diatribe about all things bagels. We agreed on Birnbaum’s bagel thesis; it be would be our non-simple, no 30-minutes-or-less, no use-stuff-around-the-house, no compromise guide to making kickass bagels.

The next challenge was getting the ingredients. And, really, how hard could it be to get ingredients for making dough? Well, time-frickin-wastingly hard it turned out. Let’s start with our pursuit of bread flour, the real stuff that contains 11-15% gluten to get the texture, taste and structure you want. Botany’s Brasserie Bread has been my favourite go-to bakery for all things leavenly, but they were closed for the holidays. So hoping to stay close to home, I started my search at Thomas Dux, which had a gazillion types of flour – millet, spelt, organic wholemeal, rice, tapioca, self-raising, pastry, pizza, 00 – but nup, no bread flour. The expensive Italian grocer down the road had multitudes of pasta flour and plenty of semolina, but not a one on the bread front. The health food store? More multitudes of everything, and lots of versions of bagel’s arch enemy – gluten-free flour. By late afternoon I finally hit up Surry Hills’ famed Bourke Street Bakery and was told I couldn’t buy dough there… but that I could buy it from their Alexandria outlet, which now does all the baking. But it was shut. Luckily they still answered their phones, so I hurriedly placed my order (they recommend ordering in advance), all for a whopping $2.50/kg, and ran down the following morning.


More wild good chases ensued getting the other key ingredients: malt and molasses. I’ll spare the sordid details and the pleas for help on Twitter, and tell you that I found the molasses at the local health food shop, and the malt, of all places, at Coles. Coles! And adding insult to inquiries, they also had a token bag of bread flour in the baking aisle. Sometimes, you gotta keep things simple.

But yawn, that’s enough bagel-geek to bore anyone for one day. I need to get some shuteye, so I’ll have to follow up with another post (and possibly another rant) with more details the bagel baking process. But for now, all I can say is that they were amazing. And for those dying for details, here were some of the topline keys to success:

– Use real baker’s (bread) flour
– BOIL the bloody bagels
– Give them a glaze in molasses or malt water
– Use a slow-rising dough technique (1-2 days)

Stay tuned for more bagel madness. But for now, it’s been a long day baking, so this bagel doughboy is off to sleep with the yeast fairies.

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30 responses to this post.

  1. naturally like your web site but you have to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the truth on the other hand I’ll definitely come back again.

    Reply

    • Hi Sam. Thanks for the input. I took your prompt and re-read the Half-Baked bagel story and fixed up a couple of minor grammatical errors. I can’t see anything that would make you think it would be factually incorrect, however. Unfortunately, my Gosstronomy staff of one doesn’t afford me a proofreader, and anyone who’s written a blog knows that it’s extremely hard to see the forest-for-the-trees and edit yourself (unless you let a couple of days pass, and you actually have the time), but I try my best. It’s often readers like you who I need to rely on to catch the odd blooper, so if you see anything, definitely point it out and I’ll fix it up right away!

      Reply

  2. Hey There – Just thought I would let you know that there are real delicious New York style Bagels here in Sydney. And YES, they are boiled. The Great Bagel & Coffee Company have two outlets in Sydney. Macquarie Shopping Centre in Ryde and at the Castle Towers Shopping Centre in Castle Towers.

    Reply

  3. Good day.

    John Parish is my name. I need to inquire from your company if you do have ( Bagel Divider ) instock. Let me know the possible models andkl; types that you do have in your Inventory as now. Also let me know the possible lead time for orders that are placed in your Company and if possible the Payment Terms as well.

    Thank You
    John Parish

    Reply

    • Erm, yes John, I have a bagel divider in stock. It’s called a serrated knife. Sadly I only have two of them, and I like having a spare.

      Actually, I don’t sell equipment and have never heard of a bagel divider, so thanks for letting me know about some of the commercial tools out there. I did see a model for sale on bakingequipment.com, and via a Google search, I’ve seen numerous other sites that sell them. I’m not 100-percent sure what it does, but from a quick look I’m guess it’s pre-makes the bagel holes and cuts the dough for even portions. At the moment, I’m more inclined to make them the traditional, hand-rolled way, but I understand the need for a larger-scale commercial production.

      Reply

  4. Comparing a bagel to a krispy kreme doughnut? Surely not!!!
    I have never been fortunate enough to try a true NY bagel, so my palate is quite happy with the bastardised aussie version, and believe it or not the blueberry one is my favourite *shame*
    But really, the ones I’ve had are nothing like doughnuts, let alone the abomination that is a krispy kreme. EEEEK!!!
    Thanks for the post, if I ever get to the states, I will make sure to eat a true bagel.
    In the mean time, I may try making my own (blueberry ones *grin*)

    Reply

  5. Posted by carolina on September 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Here is the full recipe

    Sunday, August 14, 1994 6:13:01 AM
    rec.food.recipes Item
    From: CRODRIGU@ucs.indiana.edu,interNet
    Subject: VEGAN: Jewish Purist’s Bagels
    To: rec.food.veg.cooking,interNet
    rec.food.recipes
    This is a recipe by my friend Johanne Blank. She has
    a wonderful array of
    foolproof recipes, of which this is one of the greatest
    ever. It is
    vegetarian, and can be made vegan if you omit the egg
    wash and use sugar
    instead of honey for the dough.

    Johanne’s Foolproof Recipes presents

    Real, honest, Jewish (Lower East Side)
    P U R I S T ‘ S B A G E L S

    Gentle reader, it is assumed that you know from bagels. The bagel, in its peripateic history, has moved from the shtetls of Eastern Europe to the delis of the United States, survived the onslaught of many a foreign formulation and flavoring, and also has managed to remain relatively dignified in the face of mass-production, freezing and other procedural adulterations and bastardizations. In the United States, however, most people’s idea of a bagel seems to be of a vaguely squishy unsweetened doughnut,
    possibly with some sort of godawful flavoring mixed into it (with the “blueberry bagel” being perhaps
    the most offensive), generally purchased in lots of six in some supermarket… possibly even frozen. These are not those bagels.

    These bagels are the genuine article. These are the bagels that have sustained generations of Eastern European Jewish peasants, the bagels that babies can teethe upon (folk wisdom has it that the hard, chewy crust encourages strong teeth), the bagels about which writer and humorist Alice Kahn has so aptly written that bagels are “Jewish courage.”

    This recipe makes approximately fifteen large bagels,

    The bagels are made without eggs, milk or any type of shortening or oil, which makes them pareve according to Kosher law. These bagels are plain, but I will provide suggestions as to how you may customize them to your tastes while retaining their Pristine and Ineffable Nature. May you bake them and eat them in good health.

    INGREDIENTS:
    6-8 cups bread (high-gluten) flour
    4 tablespoons dry baking yeast
    6 tablespoons granulated white sugar or light honey
    (clover honey is good)
    2 teaspoons salt
    3 cups hot water
    a bit of vegetable oil
    1 gallon water
    3-5 tablespoons malt syrup or sugar
    a few handfuls of cornmeal

    EQUIPMENT:
    large mixing bowl
    wire whisk
    measuring cups and spoons
    wooden mixing spoon
    butter knife or baker’s dough blade
    clean, dry surface for kneading
    3 clean, dry kitchen towels
    warm, but not hot, place to set dough to rise
    large stockpot
    slotted spoon
    2 baking sheets

    HOW YOU DO IT:

    First, pour three cups of hot water into the mixing bowl. The water should be hot, but not so hot that you can’t bear to put your fingers in it for several seconds at a time. Add the sugar or honey and stir it with your fingers(a good way to make sure the water is not too hot) or with a wire whisk to dissolve. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the water, and stir to dissolve.

    Wait about ten minutes for the yeast to begin to revive and grow. This is known as “proofing” the yeast, which simply means that you’re checking to make sure your yeast is viable. Skipping this step could result in your trying to make bagels with dead yeast, which results in bagels so hard and potentially dangerous that they are banned under the terms of the Geneva Convention. You will know that the yeast is okay if it begins to foam and exude a sweetish, slightly beery smell.

    At this point, add about three cups of flour as well as the 2 tsp of salt to the water and yeast and begin mixing it in. Some people subscribe tothe theory that it is easier to tell what’s going on with the dough if you use your hands rather than a spoon to mix things into the dough, but others prefer the less physically direct spoon. As an advocate of the bare-knuckles school of baking, I proffer the following advice: clip your fingernails, take off your rings and wristwatch, and wash your hands thoroughly to the elbows, like a surgeon. Then you may dive into the dough with impunity. I generally use my right hand to mix, so that my left is free to add flour and other ingredients and to hold the bowl steady. Left-handed people might find that the reverse works better for them. Having one hand clean and free to perform various tasks works best.

    When you have incorporated the first three cups of flour, the dough should begin to become thick-ish. Add more flour, a half-cup or so at a time, and mix each addition thoroughly before adding more flour. As the dough gets thicker, add less and less flour at a time. Soon you will begin to knead it by hand (if you’re using your hands to mix the dough in the first place, this segue is hardly noticeable). If you have a big enough and shallow enough bowl, use it as the kneading bowl, otherwise use that clean, dry, flat countertop or tabletop mentioned in the “Equipment” list above. Sprinkle your work surface or bowl with a handful of flour, put your dough on top, and start kneading. Add bits of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking (to your hands, to the bowl or countertop, etc….). Soon you should have a nice stiff dough. It will be quite elastic, but heavy and stiffer than a normal bread dough. Do not make it too dry, however… it should still give easily and stretch easily without tearing.

    Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with one of your clean kitchen towels, dampened somewhat by getting it wet and then wringing it out thoroughly. If you swish the dough around in the bowl, you can get the whole ball of dough covered with a very thin film of oil, which will keep it from drying out.

    Place the bowl with the dough in it in a dry, warm (but not hot) place, free from drafts. Allow it to rise until doubled in volume. Some people try to accelerate rising by putting the dough in the oven, where the pilot lights keep the temperature slightly elevated. If it’s cold in your kitchen, you can try this, but remember to leave the oven door open or it may become too hot and begin to kill the yeast and cook the dough. An ambient temperature of about 80 degrees Farenheit (25 centigrades) is ideal for rising dough.

    While the dough is rising, fill your stockpot with about a gallon of water and set it on the fire to boil. When it reaches a boil, add the malt syrup or sugar and reduce the heat so that the water just barely simmers; the surface of the water should hardly move.

    Once the dough has risen, turn it onto your work surface, punch it down, and divide immediately into as many hunks as you want to make bagels. For this recipe, you will probably end up with about 15 bagels, so you will divide the dough into 15 roughly even-sized hunks.

    Begin forming the bagels.

    There are two schools of thought on this. One method of bagel formation involves shaping the dough into a rough sphere, then poking a hole through the middle with a finger and then pulling at the dough around the hole to make the bagel. This is the hole-centric method. The dough-centric method involves making a long cylindrical “snake” of dough and wrapping it around your hand into a loop and mashing the ends together. Whatever you like to do is fine. DO NOT, however, give in to the temptation of using a doughnut or cookie cutter to shape your bagels. This will pusht them out of the realm of Jewish Bagel Authenticity and give them a distinctly Protestant air. The bagels will not be perfectly shaped. They will not be symmetrical. This is normal. This is okay. Enjoy the diversity. Just like snowflakes, no two genuine bagels are exactly alike.

    Begin to preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

    Once the bagels are formed, let them sit for about 10 minutes. They will begin to rise slightly. Ideally, they will rise by about one-fourth volume… a technique called “half-proofing” the dough. At the end of the half-proofing, drop the bagels into the simmering water one by one. You don’t want to crowd them, and so there should only be two or three bagels simmering at any given time. The bagels should sink first, then gracefully float to the top of the simmering water. If they float, it’s not a big deal, but it does mean that you’ll have a somewhat more bready (and less bagely) texture. Let the bagel simmer for about three minutes, then turn them over with a skimmer or a slotted spoon. Simmer another three minutes, and then lift the bagels out of the water and set them on a clean kitchen towel that has been spread on the countertop for this purpose. The bagels should be pretty and shiny, thanks to the malt syrup or sugar in the boiling water.

    Once all the bagels have been boiled, prepare your baking sheets by sprinkling them with cornmeal. Then arrange the bagels on the prepared baking sheets and put them in the oven. Let them bake for about 25 mintues, then remove from the oven, turn them over and put them back in the oven to finish baking for about ten minutes more. This will help to prevent flat-bottomed bagels.

    Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks, or on a dry clean towels if you have no racks. Do not attempt to cut them until they are cool… hot bagels slice abominably and you’ll end up with a wadded mass of bagel pulp. Don’t do it.

    Serve with good cream cheese.

    TO CUSTOMIZE BAGELS:
    After boiling but before baking, brush the bagels with a wash made of 1 egg white and 3 tablespoons ice water beaten together. Sprinkle with the topping of your choice: poppy, sesame, or caraway seeds, toasted onion or raw garlic bits, salt or whatever you like. Just remember that bagels are essentially a savory baked good, not a sweet one, and so things like fruit and sweet spices are really rather out of place.

    END OF RECIPE

    Reply

  6. Posted by carolina on September 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    OMG, I got this recipe from Johanne back in 1994, and posted it on rec.food recipes. It made it to an archive, and it has sure made the rounds!

    Having fallen in love with NYC bagels, and being imprisoned in graduate school in Indiana, Johanne’s recipe was a little piece of East coast salvation in the middle of Midwestern Hell. We used to have bagel baking parties. Many bagels were baked and eaten, many smiles were seen and felt.

    They are the best bagels I have ever had. The recipe will not fail you if you follow the directions.

    Bon appétit!

    Reply

  7. Posted by Phoebe on August 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    searching for bagel stuff. I’ve not been to NY but think that Australia needs to get their bagel act together. I own a cafe and think it’s a niche market we could capitalise on as long as I don’t eat the profits. So far all I can find commercially is frozen (ew) par baked bagels or frozen baked bagels. Have a ripper of an organic bakery here in Sunny Gippsland. May have to put them onto the job of bringng a bagel revolution to town.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Catherine White on July 25, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    #NewYork BAGELS WIN for variety, $$$ and imagination. I’ve never met a New York Bagel I didn’t like.

    BUT, I believe Sydney could produce an equal bagel experience if it wanted to knuckle down the right dough. 

    Reply

  9. In my search for a bagel oven in Australia, sad to report, I cant find an oven to bake 30 bagels at one time. We have a 30 section bun divider. We have been boiling and baking bagels in the home ilve fanforced oven since Feb 2010.
    The reason for my search for an oven is that the new emelia non fan forced oven in the new kitchen in the dual occupancy kitchen just will not do the job as recommended, even after oversizing the gas jet.
    My interner search bought me to your site where BOILING bagels were efficiently pronounced, good job. We have been boiling and baking bagels for 6 months and the orders from the Coffs Harbour Donut Co have grown to 15 dozen every week. So someone up here must be doing something right.
    I am considering making a bagel boiler and baking oven where one or two people can operate a bagle business from home. I have already Tim the toolman Taylored the emilia to cook 8 bagels in 24 minutes.
    My goal is 10 dozen in one hour, as the profit margin demands that much output to be a feasible business.

    Reply

    • Hi Stephen. Great to hear how you’re sorting out the production issues with making a good boil and baked bagel. I’ll be curious how go with attaining your 10 dozen/hour goal. I might have a poke around a couple of bagel places when I’m in NY, so I’ll let you know if I learn anything eye-opening. So is Coffs Harbour Donut Co your business?

      Reply

  10. Posted by Bel on June 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Hey Guys,

    Can I just say that there is the most amazing bagel place in Rozelle. Its called Bagel House and they are the proper boiled bagels that you just die for!!! I got some for a party i had and the people are nice there too (PLUS!!). You can get them filled for plain

    This is their webstie – http://www.bagelhouse.com.au/

    Just reading it then. Apparently they have other sites as well in hte city.

    Try the blueberry sugared ones.

    Hope this helps

    🙂

    Reply

    • Hi Bel. Yes, I mentioned in another reply that I thought that Bagel House was the best of the current bagel producers in Sydney. They actually boil their bagels, which is a good start. That said, while I’d give Bagel House an 8 out of 10 for Australia, they’d get about a 3 out of 10 in NYC. There’s lots of room for improvement, from making a chewier and more flavourful dough, to a crunchier crust and the most important bit – selling them hot out of the oven. Serious Eats did a bagel comparison in NYC and determined that eating bagels more than 15 minutes after they’ve been baked makes for a quickly downgraded bagel. As for sugared blueberry bagels, I’d put them on par with tandoori chicken pizzas. I’m hoping I can make you forget them once you’ve had a good, hot bagel from an artisan bagel-maker. If you get the chance, go to New York and visit Ess-a-Bagel on 20th Street or the highly lauded Bagel Hole in Brooklyn’s Park Slope. I’ll be there in September, so I’m happy to meet you there 😉

      Reply

  11. Hello Debs, I followed here from your comment on Rose’s forum. I applaud your search for the perfect bagel. I actually haven’t made Rose’s recipe for bagels (and I am a huge fan of Rose Levy Beranbaum) but used a fantastic recipe from Peter Reinhart’s book, ‘The Bread Baker’s Apprentice’.
    The very first entry on my blog was my first attempt at bagels! I live in England (but am a American) and found the bagels here very disappointing also. My quest for the the ingredients was similar to yours, except finding the best high gluten protein bread flour was easy. The super markets here sell Canadian winter wheat bread flour, gluten protein 15, right on the shelf! It really give the best authentic texture to the bagels.
    My first bake of the bagels was brilliant. It was wonderful to have baked something superior to anything I had ever had in the UK. So I really understand your elation at making your own bagels!
    I should try Rose’s recipe, I have her wonderful book, The Bread Bible and make loads of her recipes from it, but for some reason, Peter Reinhart’s recipe has stayed in my heart as the perfect bagel. I remain his devoted bagel fan!
    I should give you warning. You mentioned that you had your Kitchen Aid at speed 7. I hope that is not during the kneading phase as it can and will burn the motor out. For kneading with the Kitchen Aid it really shouldn’t go above 4. But maybe you were just at 7 in a mixing part which is different, so I will poke my nose out!
    So, cheers to you for finding your bagels! If I lived in Oz, I would help you start that bagel store!

    Reply

  12. More Michael, More! I want bagels!!!! Now wishing I’d been at your place instead of snotty at home 😦

    Reply

  13. I hope you do post another rant, I mean another post with more information about the bagel making process. I don’t pretend to be a bagel expert, but had thought that the basic starting point was that the bagel must be boiled. I was very surprised to hear that this step is missed by most of the popular bagel places. Your bagel looks great, as does the shiny red mixer in the background!

    Reply

    • Yeah, I’m loving my fire-engine red KitchenAid Deluxe. That’s the “refurbished” one I bought for $600 (it’s normally $800, and only has an unrecognisable scratch on it) at the new Chef and The Cooking in Camperdown. I highly recommend the place – it’s my weekend option to the weekday-only Chef’s Warehouse, http://www.chefandthecook.com.au.

      Reply

  14. Mmm… bagel with everything. I want to be around for that one too. My bagel was just as delicious today reheated via toaster. I put some cream cheese and smoked salmon on it and was temporarily transported. Sydney bagel lovers need you to persevere. You are right that Aussie bagels just don’t compare to the real deal, sadly.

    You remember that thing RLB does with turning the oven off but leaving the bagels in for another 5-10 mins? In doing some more bread research this morning I discovered this technique is meant to dry the bread out slightly and thus help the crust crisp up.

    A delight to see you as always and an honor to be a part of the Great Bagel Baking Experiment.

    Deb

    Reply

    • Thanks Deb. It was great having you as my bagel-making right hand, not to mention your sourcing the winning recipe. Can’t wait to do it again.

      I’m interested in the crisper crust, but at the same time I’d like to keep as much moisture in the bagel as possible. We’ll give it a go next time and see what happens.

      Reply

  15. You’re making me hungry for the bagels I enjoyed in Seattle – at PIke Place Bagel Bakery. See:
    http://picasaweb.google.com.au/hollingt/AmericanFoodHighlights#5258633369316256178

    Sounds like you’ve tried them, but Wellington Cake Shop (cnr Bennet and Bondi Rd) does my favourite bagel: with poppyseed. Pretty sure they are boiled the traditional way.

    Iggy’s in Bronte (as you allude to in your post) does steam theirs – and I find them a little too tough and chewy for my liking. However Iggy’s ficelle loaf is fantastic (I will be using it on Saturday at our school netball fundraiser to complement my home-made lentil vegetable soup – come visit us Michael – Waverley Park 730am-230pm)

    The bagels at nearby Glicks are reportedly good but I haven’t tried them:
    http://www.timeoutsydney.com.au/venue/shop/glicks.aspx

    My favourite remains the Wellington poppyseed bagel, with smoked salmon, cream cheese and fresh chives.

    Thanks for posting on bagels!

    Tony Hollingsworth

    Reply

    • Yeah, I’ve been to Wellington, Glicks and Iggy’s. All are among the better bagel-makers in town, but all have large faults. I think Glicks is slightly better than Wellington, but both are too bready and dry for my liking. Iggy’s is interesting, as they make it with sourdough, but it’s far too dense. I agree – some of Iggy’s other breads are fantastic.

      We’ll have to get you over for a taste test so you can tell me how our bagel experiments compare with your beloved Wellington bagels. I’m feeling pretty confident that even my amateurish bagels are going to fare well. It’s not just the boiling, but the right dough flavour, chewy texture and the shaping. I think you have to have tried the real thing to at least know what you’re working towards. It’s certainly not due to my amazing breadmaking skills (yet).

      Reply

  16. Posted by Anna on June 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Garlic flakes and Salt Bagels I could go for now 🙂

    Michael, do you think chili flakes bagels would be a hit?

    Reply

    • Haven’t thought about chilli flakes, but you don’t see much chilli-accented bread. I think the reason is that you need something to balance it out so it doesn’t overpower the bread. That said, I kind of wonder how well it would go on an everything bagel, with the onion and garlic adding a bit of balance. You’ll have to give it a go 🙂

      Reply

      • Posted by Anna on June 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

        I don’t mean Chili Bagels but Chili sprinkled on top just like Onion or Garlic.

        Now I want bagels for lunch, garlic bagels would go nicely with my soup 🙂

        So when do we get a taste them?

  17. congratulations on cracking the bagel code. now, perfect the toppings {make me an Everything Bagel} then open a bakery and run all those other places out of the country!

    Reply

    • I’m working on it. Next up is having a go at dehydrating onion and garlic flakes, which will put the everything bagel firmly in hand: poppy, sesame, onion, garlic and salt.

      Reply

  18. Posted by @5pandas on June 15, 2010 at 1:23 am

    great post! looking forward to the next instalment!

    Reply

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