Lily’s Blog, Dragon Absconded!
Baking Until I Drop

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Saturday 12th, July 2008

Peter Reinhart’s Bagels! Wooohooo!!

A Peter Reinhart Poppy Seed Bagel with Cream Cheese, originally uploaded by Lilandra.

I have been successful in my desired task.

After making the Bagel Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Breads, I wanted a better method and decided on using the recipe from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

The results were excellent.

They were quite chewy and did not look shrivelled.

My niece enjoyed sucking on hers and even managed to get pieces in her mouth and was most upset when her mother took the bagel from her (she kept snatching it back) and when her mouth was emptied of huge chunks of bagels (to be fair, she acts the same when they take the paper out of her mouth).

Mom loved it.

Dad said when he had bagels, they were okay. The frozen ones were … plasticky? He (and we all!) don’t know what “real” bagels taste like but whatever these are they are great and we love them.

Instructions follow.

Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Sponge First you have to make a sponge. Stir together 4 cups of flour (I used about 1 1/2 cups of gluten flour and the rest was bread flour), 1 teaspoon of instant yeats and 2 1/2 cups of room temperature water. Stir it until it gets like pancake batter. THen cover with plastic wrap and leave for about 2 hours (with me in the tropics things took quicker). When it’s foamy and bubbly and doubled in size (about after 2 hours or 90mins for me) it’s ready as in the picture.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Stir Sponge and yeast Now, add a 1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast to the sponge and stir. Before I stirred in the yeast I was worried because it didn’t look spongy. Mom assured me it was ready. As soon as I turned the spoon it all collapsed and you could see the sponge. I was so happy.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Add other ingredients I continued with the dough by adding 3 cups of flour (about 1 1/2 cups gluten flour and 1 1/2 cups of bread flour), 2 1/4 teaspoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of honey (I didn’t have two teaspoons of malt powder).
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Stire the dough I stirred all this up while adding 3/4 cup of bread flour to stiffen it up.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Knead the dough Unfortunately my dough wasn’t stiffening up. It still looked spongy. Regardless I turned it out onto the counter and started to knead and let the dough (or my mother and Chennette dictate to me how much more flour to add). We didn’t measure but maybe between 2 cups to 1 lb were added? It was supposed to get stiff and firm but pliable and smooth. I never kneaded it enough for it to be smooth. But it was getting stiff (I hope).
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Make balls Then I separated the dough into balls. His book said 4 1/2 oz boules but oh well. I measured out 4 oz of dough and approximated (so some bigger, some smaller and some intentionally tinier for dear niece). Then I covered them with a damp towel and left them for 20 minutes.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Roll into a rope It was now time to shape the bagels. I rolled out each ball into a rope of about 8 inches (of course this varied depending on the size of the ball) and then joined it into a ring. To seal the ring, he said wrap it around your fingers and rock the join back and forth on the counter. It worked sometimes for me. Remember I’m new at this bread making thing! :-)
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Shape Place the shaped bagels onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper and misted with oil.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Let Rise Leave them for about 20 minutes covered with plastic wrap. They’re ready to be refrigerated when one floats within 10 seconds of being dropped into room temperature water. If they’re not ready just keep waiting and then checking. If they are, cover them with the plastic wrap and put them in the fridge.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Take them out of the Fridge They need to stay overnight in the fridge. I left them in two nights. He said they can stay up to two days. Take them out and preheat the oven to 500 F with the racks in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a tablespoon of baking soda and of honey.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Boil Drop the bagels into the boiling water gently. Let them boil 1 minute on each side. If you prefer chewier bagels, let them boil two minutes on each side.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Top After dusting the same trays with cornmeal, put the boiled bagels back on the trays. I topped some with chopped onions tossed in olive oil (I should’ve chopped them finer…lazy!).
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Top Or you can leave some plain.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Top I even topped some with a poppy seed and sea salt mix.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Bake Bake them in the oven at 500 F for 5 minutes. Then rotate the trays 180 degrees and their positions in the centre and then bake them for 5 minutes more at 450 F or until they’re an acceptable colour. This is my niece’s bagel.
Peter Reinhart's Bagels - Baked You need to take them out of the tray and let them cool for at least 15 minutes on a rack.
A Peter Reinhart Poppy Seed Bagel I took this one for pictures! Isn’t it pretty?

Yes it was so much work for the cookie baker who bakes cookies in less than 10 minutes and never makes refrigerated cookie.

Was it worth it? Completely!

They were very chewy and good.

I had them with tuna, cream cheese, butter, bologna (NO! not all together).

Thrilling! :-)

Would I do it again? YES!

I’m working on changing my mentality about multi-day baking. The lemon meringue pie was really tough and exhausting. The marble rye was actually pretty easy and satisfying. This was great. I did get tired from rolling all the dough…but I do tire easy.

In fact, I made a poolish this evening so that I can make Ciabatta. And the poolish is in the fridge and I don’t have to start on my Ciabatta until Sunday and thus Sister the Elder and her offspring can have fresh baked bread on Monday. Wish me luck. I think I love Ciabatta but never thought I could make it.

It’s great, yes?

All the multiples of the pictures are in the set on flickr.


  1. see, once you’re this cycle of baking bread, the multiple days don’t seem like such a big deal to plan, as opposed to if you approached it out of the blue!

  2. yeah
    it was weird
    but i get so excited and i haven’t een reached beyond the poolish
    my poolish doesn’t look like the other guy’s i linked u to

  3. Nice bread days ……..and they all taste so good….yummy yummy….thanks lilandra..

  4. […] I mentioned that I was going to try making Ciabatta from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and that I had a poolish in the fridge. Well, it is done. I think I did it over many days. Who can tell! Who can remember. Okay…if you look at the exif data on my pictures, you can. […]

  5. […] Chennette took four pictures of me while I was making bagels. […]

  6. […] is Peter Reinhart’s from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. You can also find it here, here, here, here, and a lot more places…It has a good reputation, so I decided to try it. There are […]

  7. […] is Peter Reinhart’s from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. You can also find it here, here, here, here, and a lot more places…It has a good reputation, so I decided to try it. There are […]

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