bagel recipe wrinkly dough those someday goals

When a Bagel Recipe Goes Wrong

We’ve been searching for a bagel recipe that is full of flavor and chewiness. Being a New Yorker, Andy is more specific with his wants, but we both agree that we want to avoid the “bread with a hole in the middle” type of bagels. Alas, my first attempts were better for humor than for consuming (although we did eat them all, of course).

Our first attempt used the Sophisticated Gourmet’s for “New York-Style Bagel Recipe.” I swear, it looked easy enough. I even put the bagels to rest in the refrigerator overnight to get peak flavor. Alas, as you can see by the picture, we were reasonably confident that all was not well before we even got to the bake.

Tips For Avoiding My Bagel Recipe Mistakes

The dough needs to be dry. 

The Sophisticated Gourmet warned that the water in the recipe was only a guide and that you might not need all of it. Yeah, I should have listened to that piece of advice more carefully. When the dough is too wet, it will actually feel wetter after a night covered in the refrigerator. Then it will be too sticky to work with when it comes to divide the dough and create the dough balls.

Knead It More.

Because the dough was too wet, it didn’t get a good knead using the stand-mixer. I should have laid out a lot more flour and kneaded it by hand. As it was, I did a little hand kneading and 6 minutes in the stand mixer, and this was not enough. The dough was smooth, but it was not nearly firm enough.

Careful With the Punch Down.

I did punch down the dough after it had come to room temperature following the night in the refrigerator. But I also kneaded it a bit more to deflate the dough, which wasn’t helpful. It was a pretty big clue that the dough was too wet, though. I should have just done a gentle punch down, followed by the required 10-minute rest.

Wrinkly bagel dough from overworking during shaping.

Don’t put pressure on the dough balls. 

Because the dough was too sticky, we put too much downward pressure on the dough when creating the dough balls. We really needed a more delicate touch. You can see that we handled it too roughly because the dough going into the boiled water was wrinkly.

Stretch Them More.

When forming the ring, I was too delicate with the creation of the hole. Because I knew I had overworked it before, I didn’t want to add to the problems. But that meant that I didn’t stretch the dough enough, and the shape didn’t really hold as well as it should have in the water.

What Did I Do Right With the Bagel Recipe?

I used barley malt in the dough and in the boiling water. So, even though the bagels looked ridiculous, the flavor was there. No matter which bagel recipe we use next time, I know this is a critical “secret” ingredient to making tasty bagels.

And there will be a next time and, probably, another bagel recipe. I’m not giving up on making delicious bagels at home. So, stay tuned!