These may be the best bagels I have made yet, they are also very different in technique then others I have made. I bought myself Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor book last Christmas and have already made many delicious things from it including raisin bread and focaccia. However, when J commented the other day that, the island, (where we currently are and our cabin is) has no good bagels, it got me craving them too.
So here we are, this recipe is delicious and produces soft beautiful bagels using 100% whole wheat flour, but it is definitely a time investment because it includes a biga, a soaker and two days. Plus, if you have no dishwasher then you will be washing dishes non-stop making this. I made a double recipe and am glad I did.
Whole Wheat Bagels(6 bagels)
Adapted from Whole Grain Breads
Mix all biga ingredients together until it forms a ball. Using wet hands, knead the dough for 2 minutes to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated. The dough should be tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minute and then knead again for another minute. It should still be tacky but less so. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours to 3 days. Remove from fridge 2 hours before forming final dough. This will allow it to come to room temperature.
Mix all Soaker ingredients together for 1 minute or until all flour is picked up and it forms a ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave out at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
In your mixer bowl combine water and yeast and attach dough hook. Chop up the biga and soaker into 12 smaller pieces each using a knife or dough scraper. Add the biga, soaker and salt. Mix on slow speed for one minute. Once it has formed a ball add the flour and continue to mix on stir or low speed for 3 to 4 more minutes until all pieces incorporated. Add more flour or water as needed, the dough should be firm and not sticky.
On a floured board knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes, adding as much flour as needed to get a stiff dough. Let it rest for 5 minutes and prepare a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Knead for 1 more minute, it should pass the windowpane test. Transfer to the bowl, cover loosely with plastic and allow to rise for 45 to 60 minutes or until increased in size by 1 1/3 times.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board, and divide into six or seven 4-oz pieces. Roll each piece into an 8" rope, wrap around your hand and roll the seam to attach the ends. The hole should be about 2" in diameter. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and form the remaining bagels.
Preheat oven to 500F and boil water in a wide pot, about 4 inches deep. When water comes to a boil add the 2 teaspoons of baking soda, careful it will bubble. Bring to a steady simmer.
The bagels are ready to boil after bout 25 to 30 minutes, so when the oven is hot and the water is simmering you are ready. Prepare another parchment lined sheet which has been sprayed with pan spray, if you have a silicon mat use that instead.
Try adding a bagel, if it floats the water is ready, boil the bagels for 30 seconds on each side. You can do 2-3 at a time. When the bagel is done boiling transfer to the oiled sheet and add your toppings. Repeat for all bagels.
Put the bagels in the oven and reduce the heat to 450F. Bake the bagels for 15 minutes, turn the tray 180 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until browned on both sides.