1 tsp instant yeast
4 cups bread flour, unbleached
2.5 cups water, room temperature
Stir yeast into flour, add water and stir until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature approximately two hours until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly.Dough:
.5 tsp instant yeast
3.75 cups bread flour, unbleached
2.75 tsp salt
2 teaspoons DME
To make the dough, mix the yeast into the sponge and stir. Add 3 cups of flour and all the salt and DME. Mix low speed until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3.4 cup of flour to stiffen the dough.
Knead 6 minutes by machine (or ten minutes by hand!) until the dough is pliable but smooth and it passes the windowpane test. Should be satiny and pliable but not tacky. Adjust water or flour as needed to achieve the consistency required.
Divide dough into 4.5 oz pieces (I usually wing this part.
), cover with damp towel and let rest 20 minutes.
Line two sheet pans with baking parchment and lightly spray with oil. Shape bagels. I punch a hole through the ball with my thumb and work the hole until about 2.5 inches in diameter.
Place shaped bagels on pans, mist lightly with oil and cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest another 20 minutes.
You can check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded (cold fermented) with a water test. Take a bagel, drop it into cold water. If the bagel floats with 10 seconds, the dough is ready to be retarded. If not, let it rise - then try again in 10 or so minutes. If it floats, return it to the pan and place the entire plan in the refrigerator overnight.Following day:
Preheat oven to 500° and bring a large pot to a boil and add one Tbsp of baking soda. Boil bagels 2 minutes to a side, drain and return to the pan that has been dusted with cornmeal. (if you change the parchment, remember to spray it with oil first!)
Top as you'd like. I did some salt bagels with this batch, but you can use poppyseeds, sesame seeds, etc. The book's author suggests a salt/seed blend.
Bake 5 minutes at 500°, rotate pan 180° and turn oven down to 450°. Bake another 5 minutes until bagels are a light golden brown. Remove to cooling rack and let cool 15 minutes before eating/serving.