Hi Everyone, I’m Back! Back in cyber world that is! Many thanks to those of you who generously donated so that I could get back on the internet and keep my site going. It is an ongoing expense, so donations are very much appreciated. I was able to get satellite hookup here in the remote area of Puna, Hawaii. It is ten times slower than the cable hookup I was used to, so I have some adjusting to do! I have been doing much baking here in Hawaii since I arrived two months ago.
I have had problems with the flour which I bought at the Costco here on the island. I did some research and it seems that Costco buys and has labled the poorer quality flour from a flour mill in the midwest. Some of the other flour the mill carries might be great flour, but the flour Costco buys sure isn’t. I have had poor quality, pale crust, slack dough which needs way more water than should be necessary (a symptom of damaged wheat starch), dough which lets the water back out when bulk fermenting, so that when you think the dough is finally right, it slackens, gets sticky and is hard to work with. I have had an easy time getting real “sour” breads with the warmth and humidity. You don’t even need a proofing box as the temps are right in the middle 80’s most of the time. Fermenting times are quite altered. Half the time as usual is standard proofing times… here plus cooling down the dough to extend proofs or trying to get a better quality loaf. It as been challenging. I hope to find another source of flour, even begging at the bakeries if I have to. I went online and saw that many others have complained about the low quality of Costco’s flour. Shame on Costco! The purchaser for Costco certainly isn’t concerned about baking a great loaf of bread!
The experience has been good for me, it shows me what kinds of problems you put up with when you write me about bread problems. I can’t stress enough to get good flour and forget the generic flours. When flour mills process flour, they all have to deal with starch damage. My guess is that the starch damaged flours end up… in generic or special label (Costco) flours. If you are not happy with your flour, go to a bakery where the bread is terrific and ask them if they would order an extra bag of flour for you. Get the 25 or 50 lb size. I have done this before, bakeries generally get great flour or they wouldn’t be in business for long.
I have some chewy, delicious sourdough egg bagels to share with you this week. You might notice that the color is a bit pale, I had to crank the oven way up to get any color and then the bagels were too crunchy. You shouldn’t have this problem if you have good bread flour. A lack of color is not a symptom of starch damage, so I am not sure why I keep getting pale, cracker-like crusts. It doesn’t seem to matter how hot I get the oven, the bread will eventually brown in a very hot oven, but not with the natural bloom the crust should have.
This recipe makes approximately 4 lbs of dough at 60 % hydration for thirteen large bagels.
Feed the starter in the evening on the day before mixing the dough. Next morning mix together in your mixer:
In your mixer add:
- 2 cups sourdough starter – 18 oz (510g)at 166% hydration
- 1 cup water – 8oz (226g)
- 3 large eggs – 5.2 oz (147g)
- 2 Tablespoon Oil – 1 oz (28g)
- 1 Tablespoons non diastatic malt syrup or honey – .8 oz (22g)
- 1/4 cup Gluten Flour (get this at the health food store)- 1.2 oz (34g)
- 7 cups of Bread flour – 1 lb 15.5 oz (893g)
- 3 ½ teaspoons salt – .7 oz (19)
Mix all of the ingredients including salt on a medium speed just until mixed, this takes about three to four minutes. Then allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.
After resting, mix dough on low speed for about four more minutes. This is a stiff dough. Allow the dough bulk ferment for 4 – 6 hours until doubled.
Turn the dough down at least twice during the bulk ferment which helps develop and line up the gluten strands. To do this hit the start button and let the hook stir the dough about twice around the bowl on the lowest setting. Or alternately, pour out the dough, when done mixing, into a covered rectangular dough folding container and fold the dough twice during bulk ferment.
After bulk fermentation, pour out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple of times, then gather into a ball. Divide the dough into approximately 13 pieces weighing about 5 oz each. A standad bagel is closer to 4 oz, so these make large bagels. Shape bagels by first shaping into a 5 oz ball and then by punching a hole through the middle and twirling around your fingers to stretch the hole bigger. Set the bagels onto a baking sheet which has been sprayed with pan sprayor floured tea cloths.
When all of the bagels are shaped, put a cotton cloth over the bagels and spray the cloth with water so it is damp. By the time you are done with shaping the last bagel the first pan has probably been proofing 1/2 hour. Let it proof another hour and 1/2 (about 2 hours altogether) and then in a large skillet bring about 2-3 inches of water to a boil(around 3 quarts), adding 1 Tablespoon of Malt Syrup, 1 Tablespoon of salt and 1 Tablespoon of baking soda to the water.
When water mixture is gently boiling, carefully drop in two or three bagels at a time, boil gently for one half minute on each side (add more water to the boiling mixture when necessary).Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a greased baking sheet.
As soon as the baking sheet is filled with bagels that have been boiled, brush on an egg glaze (made with one beaten egg + 1 Tablespoon water), and sprinkle with favorite topping (toasted dried onion flakes, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc). If you don’t want a topping you will still want to use the egg glaze as it will make the bagel shiny. Bake the bagels in a 400F/204C degree oven for about 20 -22 minutes or nicely browned. Turn baking sheet halfway through the bake for even browning.