This Wednesday, two members of our Test Kitchen team went live with you on Facebook to answer some of your most pressing questions for this month’s Better Baking Academy Module: Pumpkin Spice Bagels. Here, we’ve rounded up five of those questions along with our team’s expert answers.
If you’re looking to learn more about the Better Baking Academy and our partnership with Bob’s Red Mill, be sure to check out our Better Baking Academy homepage here. We also have a Better Baking Academy with Bob’s Red Mill Facebook group. Here, you can share your bakes, interact with other home bakers, and tune in for our next Facebook Live Q&A on November 17, 2021. We can’t wait to see you again next month and talk all things Pecan Hand Pies!
But for now, let’s see what our experts had to say about baking the perfect bagel!
Question 1: If I wanted to boil these in malt barley syrup instead of honey, can I do that?
Answer: Yes! You can use it as a 1:1 substitution by volume for the honey (in this recipe, ½ cup).
Question 2: I’m thinking about adding chocolate chips or raisins to the dough. When should I be adding them?
Answer: You can definitely add some mix-ins to the dough! You would add in with your dry ingredients in step one. We would recommend not adding more than ½ cup!
Question 3: Can I use all-purpose flour in this recipe?
Answer: You can, but you’re not going to get the same chewy texture, and that’s one of the key features of a good bagel. High protein flours typically contain 12 to 14 percent protein, while all-purpose flour usually only contains around 8 to 11 percent. High protein flour allows for a more robust gluten network to form, giving bagels their signature chewy, slightly crisp texture.
Question 4: My bagels won’t hold their ring shape. What am I doing wrong?
Answer: When stretching and shaping your bagels into a ring, it’s important to remember that the dough will shrink a little as the gluten pulls it back, then expand when the bagels are boiled and baked. If the dough isn’t stretched into a wide ring, the effects of shrinking and expansion will be double trouble, producing bagel balls instead of rings. Also, if your dough is under-proofed, this can result in a far too rapid rise in the oven that will render your shaping useless. So, it’s important to make sure that your dough gets a proper second rise after being divided and shaped; they should look about doubled in size.
Question 5: Have you tried using different flours like Einkorn flour and Spelt flour?
Answer: For this recipe, we haven’t tested with flour other than Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour. That being said, if you wanted to experiment using other flours like spelt or einkorn, we recommend using the same total volume of flour, but using 75 percent bread flour and 25 percent einkorn or spelt flour to start. This should add a little flavor and color without messing with the overall structure of the bagel.