How about a homemade sourdough bagel to go with your chevre?

Ok, for all of you lucky enough to live next to a New York or Detroit-style bagel bakery, you can skip to the next post. For the rest of us, I thank Susan at Wild Yeast for her not-so-hard recipe for Sourdough Bagels. They are a favorite way to start the day, and just the perfect perch for a slab or a schmear of fresh goat cheese and whatever other herbs or jams you want to shake or slather on top.

Yield: 8 bagels (I would double the recipe, myself)

Time:

  • Mix: 10 minutes
  • Rest, divide and shape: 35 minutes
  • Proof: 4 hours at room temperature plus 4 – 8 hours in the refrigerator
  • Boil: 10 minutes
  • Bake: about 24 minutes

Desired dough temperature: 80F

Ingredients:

  • 349 g high-gluten flour, or 339 g flour plus 10 g vital wheat gluten
  • 121 g cold water
  • 28 g milk powder
  • 16.4 g non-diastatic malt powder
  • 10.1 g (1 2/3 teaspoons) salt
  • 301 g active 100%-hydration sourdough starter
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda for boiling

Method:

  1. Combine the starter, water, flour, malt, milk powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed to combine.
  2. Mix on medium-low speed until the dough is very smooth and strong, almost rubbery. How long this takes will depend upon your mixer.
  3. Turn the dough out onto an unfloured counter and work a few turns by hand. Form the dough into a smooth ball; the surface should feel satiny and tight.
  4. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 8 pieces of about 100 g each. Form each piece into a light ball, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicon baker’s mat (Silpat) and dust it generously with semolina.
  7. To shape each bagel, roll the dough into a cylinder about 8 – 10 inches long without tapering the ends. Wrap the cylinder around your hand, with the ends overlapping by about two inches in your palm. Roll your palm on the (still unfloured) counter to smash the ends together. (Note: if the dough is a little dry, give it a quick spritz of water with a fine spray bottle before shaping. This helps it roll more easily, and the ends stick to each other.)
  8. Place the bagels on the prepared cookie sheets, and slip into a large food-grade plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap. Proof for about 4 hours at warm room temperature, until the bagels look and feel a bit puffy. Then refrigerate them for 4 – 8 hours.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425F and put a large pot of water on to boil.
  10. When the water is almost boiling, place a cooling rack on the counter with a dishtowel underneath it. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator, brush the semolina off their bottoms, and place them on the cooling rack.
  11. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add the baking soda. Drop the bagels, three or four at a time, into the vigorously boiling water for 20 seconds. They may or may not float right away, but they should float by the time the 20 seconds are up. If they float right away so the tops are not submerged initially, flip them over about halfway through the boil.
  12. Remove the bagels from the water to the cooling rack with a slotted spatula. Let them drain for about 30 seconds before replacing them back onto the semolina-dusted, parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  13. Turn the oven down to 400F once the bagels are in. Bake until golden brown, about 24 – 26 minutes. About halfway through baking, open the oven door briefly to vent any steam.
  14. Cool on a wire rack.
 Since I am a cheesemaker and have constant access to the world’s best goat milk, I feel odd about buying and using milk powder. But sourdough bagels are completely worth it. So I save the milk for making chevre. No biggie!
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