I made bagels today

Actually over the past two days. They came out perfectly and are about as close to a NYC bagel as I’m gonna get, I think. The diastatic malt makes a big difference in the consistency, and allowing the dough to retard in the fridge overnight helps a lot as well. This morning, I took them out of the fridge, boiled them for a minute on each side, egg wash, toppings, then baked at 500F. Fucking yum.

I will try that next time. I’ve just used honey, and been less than satisfied.

I’ve seen honey suggested as an alternative to the malt, but it would seem that it would contribute a flavor unbagellike. This recipe called for a teaspoon (or maybe it was a tablespoon) of malt (or malt syrup), but I’ve seen some that call for much more.

Recipe here, by the way.

The one thing I’m not seeing in that recipe is potato starch. Traditionally in the form of “potato water” - water in which potatoes have been boiled.

In my own experience, it adds another, needed, layer to the chewiness.

This one calls for adding baking soda to the water. Also, if you boil them for more than the one minute on each side, they become chewier. I’m not sure how potato water would cause that effect.

Doesn’t that make them a pretzel?

While barley malt is the key to capturing the true bagel-y flavor of bagels, I have found that blackstrap molasses comes close (or at least closer than honey, karo or sugar).

The consistency of a bagel is similar to that of a soft pretzel, IMO.

It adds… Differently textured starch? To be clear “potato water” is an ingredient in the mix, not something to do with the boiling stage.

All I’m telling you is what my cookbook from the 50s told me to do, and its the only recipe I’ve found acceptable after trying 4 or 5 allegedly “awesome” bagel recipes. Bagels are pretty terrible healthwise, so I wont eat them unless they are perfect. I’m so picky about bagels, there’s only a handful of places in NYC I’ll even buy them, and I live in Queens. The surface bubbling and shiny, crispy looking crust seen in your recipes puctures concern me. the outer part of a bagel should be only slightly tougher than the interior.

But if you’re happy that’s all that matters. Just sharing my insanely picky experience.

Pretzels are made in a solution of lye, but baking soda is a common substitute. But I believe bagels are also sometimes made in a lye or baking soda bath, and I agree that bagels are somewhat pretzel-like. Plus there’s different kinds of bagels, like Montreal-style bagels (my favorite), which are boiled in water (often sweetened with a little bit of honey) and baked in a wood-fired oven (this is one of the most important parts.) There’s many different ways to make a bagel.

Ah, I stand corrected and may have to try the potato water thing. The texture is just as you described: crisp and chewy surface, not so much in the interior. I wouldn’t go too much by the photos. I think you’re seeing normal deformities from shaping the dough rather than bubbling. At least that’s how mine came out. They really are excellent.

How do you keep diastatic malt from hardening into a solid block? I have to break it apart with a hammer (and I wonder what my townhouse neighbors think when I do it).