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Peter Reinhart’s Bagels

kept bytihleigh
recipe bySmitten Kitchen

Adpated from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Yield: 12 extremely large, 16 regularly large or 24 miniature bagels

In his introduction to bagels, Reinhart mentions two ingredients that are not exactly ordinary, but completely essential to the bagel texture and flavor. The first is barley malt powder or syrup, more for that typical bagel shop flavor than anything else, and something that was readily available at Whole Foods and a bunch of other stores. Sadly, I cannot tell you if this ingredient is as essential as he said because I woke up with a startle at 7 a.m. the next morning, “Oh my god I forgot to add the barley syrup!” Don’t you hate it when that happens? Later, I read a recipe that suggested you add the barley syrup to the boiling water bath, and I did so in my later batches, figuring it wouldn’t hurt to get the flavor in somewhere. I ended up feeling that these bagels had a slightly darker, and more stereotypically-bagel color than the earlier batches, so I am adding this as an optional step.

The second is high gluten flour, a step above the extra gluten in bread flour. (Though he says regular bread flour will work in a jam, I’m used to getting top-notch bagels, and was convinced I’d be able to tell the difference.) This can be ordered online or available in a specialty store (though I couldn’t come up with one in NYC that had it). Or, you can beg your local bagel shop for some of theirs, and given that the other two options would take time and energy, I turned to our beloved Murray’s on 8th Avenue. They came through, and then some, and I am now the proud own of some ten pounds of super-high gluten flour, and a sinking feeling that I’ll be making bagels again or some very tough cookies (bah!) this winter. The crazy, it keeps coming.

I had difficulties getting my seeds and onion bits to stick to the top of the bagels. Though the recipe does not call for an egg wash, I would definitely use one next time to get them to stick, after the boiling and before the baking.


1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour (see note below)
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons malt powder or 1 tablespoon dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar (see note below)

To Finish:
1 tablespoon baking soda

Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting

Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, rehydrated dried minced garlic or onions (Deb note: this was what I chose, and found the taste very authentic), or chopped onions that have been tossed in oil (optional)



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