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Montreal Bagels

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The perfect crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, cavernous, yet dense, boiled and baked bagel is as elusive as any other "holy grail" food item.  Coveted by many, perfected by few, the ability to bake a delicious bagel is truly an art form.  After hanging out with Blake and Amy from Beauty's Bagel Shop in Oakland, CA for a few mornings to watch how they make their delicious Montreal style, wood fired bagels, I have learned a whole lot about the process from watching the pros and am excited to share it with everyone here in this Instructable.

Before we get on with the show, let's take a brief moment to learn some bagel history.

Although wildly popular as a breakfast item now, the bagel was if not invented, then at least first mentioned in Krakow, Poland in 1610 as a baked gift to give to women in childbirth. It is not clear whether the bagel was a symbol of fertility, or simply a tasty object for the woman to bite down upon in labor.  A rival creation story tells of a Viennese baker who created the bagel in 1683 to honor the Polish King Jan III Sobieski for saving Austria from the Turks. The Baker molded the roll into the shape we now know and love into a stirrup (German for stirrup: beugel) to symbolize the King’s passion for horses.  However, the childbirth story from Krakow pre-dates this event and is believed to be the actual beginning of the bagel. 

No matter what it's history, bagels are a delicious baked good that's been around since the 17th century and can be made by following these specific steps, either in the professional kitchen, or at home.
 
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CobyUnger made it!5 months ago

Bagels are my second favorite thing to bake after pumpkin pie. Thanks for the tips.

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Thanks guys, fantastic 'ible, a wealth of detail and deservedly featured in the email, so glad I made time to try it straight away, here are the (imperfect) results:
http://shillingandflorin.tumblr.com/post/41402730636/first-beigel-run-complete-using-this-cool
wow, yours look like they rose too much. That would explain your complaints wouldn't it?
Update: I finally made them and they were great, even though mind came out all strangely shapen. I stretched the dough to make the rounds instead of just using the right length and wrapping it. I baked on a pizza stone and the plain stuck like crazy. Not sure what I'd do differently, but frankly, I'm not as fond of plain, so I might just not worry about it.
Is it ok to freeze the dough at some point in the process?? In a family of 3, 18 or so bagels don't go before the last few are bricks.
t.rohner1 year ago
Very nice instructable 5*

As a avid baker, i will definitely try this.
Last weekend, i made indian "naan" bread with yoghurt and browned butter.  I sould have "instrucablized" it... Maybe next time.

Now this recipe really sounds promising.
I'm a big fan of long slow fermentation. It brings out the flavour like nothing else. I also do it in my bread instructable and for my pizza doughs.

Thank you very much for this work.
I lone naan. Please write that process!
Affects not Effects
Peak not Peek

'Love' not lone?

If we're going to be pedantic about English and the written word, then let's put an 'up' in the 'Please write sic [up] that process!'

Do please note the square parenthesis not (brackets) and the 'sic' denoting the Editor's comment rather than the direct quote.

Waddya say hey Jimmbo?

or shall we simply let these minor idiosyncratic grammatical errors pass without getting ourselves up onto little high horses.
I don't understand, what you're referring to.
Maybe a deleted comment?

If it's about my English, i was born and raised in Switzerland.
There are four official languages spoken here. English isn't one of them.
I startded learning English at age 13. It was the third foreign language i learned.

Although i also like to read a decent English, the topic of the instructable is more important to me.
It has nothing to do with you, sir. I made some comments about incorrect words in an attempt to be helpful to the author of the piece, and someone decided to take offense and hijack your comment in his rush to pass judgement on me.

I truly would love to see your naan recipe.
Hello Justin

Here is the recipe i started with:

7g instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar (dark sugar might be interesting)
250ml water
600g wheat flour (i used type 550 bread flour)
4 tablespoon browned butter (it was Ghee in the original recipe)
(i browned around 150g butter for the dough and for brushing the baked breads)
240g natural yoghurt (no low-fat bullshit)
18g salt

I added the ingredients into my bread maker, always adding the salt and the fats late during mixing.
My Panasonic takes 45 minutes in the pizza dough program.
So i add the salt and fat only after 6-8 minutes, while the other ingredients are already incorporated in the dough.
You can do this by hand or with your kitchen machine as well. I use my Kenwood for larger batches. It's 20 years ago, i did it manually...

After 90 minutes rising, i divide the dough into 18 pieces and form balls.
Leave them covered for 20 minutes to relax the gluten (dough).(If you don't relax the dough, the stretching will be a nuisance.)
Form oval or drop-forms about 10mm (half-inch), put on on cookie-paper.
Let them ferment and rise for another 20 minutes.

Then sprinkle them with water by hand and then with sesame seeds. You can take dark and light ones mixed.
Puncture them with a fork, otherwise they will blow up like balloons.

Bake them 8 to 10 minutes on a pizza stone at around 200°C or until light brown. Don't bake them too dark, if you need to reheat it.
After they come out of the oven, paint them with browned butter.

If you have a "Tandoor", smack your "naans" to it's walls. I could bake them in my wood fired pizza oven, but now it's freezing outside ;-)

Naan is served in linen covered baskets. It's not crunchy when served. But still, baking them to a golden brown in the first place, gives the right flavour.

Happy baking

You are a scholar and a gentleman. Thank you for this!
No Mr Rohner, my comment wasn't directed at you at all. Quite the opposite; it was an aside to JustJim who clearly feels that he needs to be everyone's English grammar tutor on here.

Indeed, if JustJim speaks and writes Italian, French or German to level of competency that you do vis a vis English, he is a fortunate man. My guess is that Jim doesn't. There is a good reason why this forum has a 'be nice' policy, and I simply get irked at 'know lotses' who frankly take the joy out of many amazing instructible comment pages. Shame really Justjim couldn't discern the humour (albeit dry and of the sisterly nudging variety) in my comment.

James, jim, just jimmbyjimbo, jimbarella... learn to laugh at yourself and others may laugh along with you rather than as now, at you.

Enough! Jimsiebaby, you've become 'low hanging fruit' so I shall desist from sport with you, as people with humour challenges are too hard work.

I am reminded of Dante Alighieri's view that as such " A mighty
flame followeth a tiny spark ....."
And, while you're at it, "its" denotes the possessive, as in "a bagel gets its dense, chewy texture from gluten" while "it's" is a conjunction of "it is" --"it's an ongoing discussion as to whether one should correct grammatical errors or not"!
Well, I say I was trying to be helpful, not pedantic. I hate it when I notice grammatical errors in my own work, and am glad when others help me correct it.

You may have noticed, in your rush to educate me, that I make no such effort on comments. The actual published Instructable is the important thing.

It is unfortunate you jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Waddya say we leave it to the actual author to decide whether I succeeded in my intention?
danzo3211 year ago
So many people are acting like they are afraid of gluten these days. What's up with that?
Modern wheat hybrids (since the "Green Revolution" in the '50s) contain some proteins that are difficult to digest; humans do not have the enzymes to break gluten down. Gluten and other compounds in today's wheat promotes gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, and other problems which can cause an aberrant immune response, leading to autoimmune diseases.
Celiac disease is genetic.
http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/
Do you know if the gluten in proto-wheats (spelt, farro, and other "primitive" precursors to wheat) cause the same reactions as modern hybridized wheat does?
It seems so. According to Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for the U. of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research, no one can properly digest gluten. He says it all depends on how well our intestinal walls close after we ingest it and how our immune system reacts to it. For more info, check there or read Dr. Wm. Davis' book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health.
Very well written and tasty instructable! I really miss Montreal's bagels! Thanks to you, I'll be trying to cook some soon!
mickryobe1 year ago
I know this is an argument that will never be resolved.
Sweet Montreal bagels vs not sweet Toronto bagels.
I am a Torontonian. To me a Montreal bagel is a semi petrified donut. Rather effeminate. Often too soft. Merely a circle of sweetened bread. Suicide for us diabetics who should not be eating any bagels at all but who are inexorably drawn to those lovely, wholesome Toronto creations that go Thunk! when they reach your stomach.
This article, nevertheless is excellent. I'm hungry.
[delete]. I knew if I posted this someone might try to cut me off at the Ontario, Quebec border for merely voicing my preferences and superior taste.

Fear not Blake and Amy. A little controversy will boost business. You have a winner.

When I was a kid (1930's) my mother would send me to the baker's to buy a dozen bagels. There was only one kind then - plain. I would come home with the bagels dangling from a string through their holes - no bag. A dozen bagels to our neighbourhood baker was 13. Try it.
suayres1 year ago
For high gluten flour, look no further than King Arthur Bread Flour--gluten content 14-15%. I'm a KAF convert, since coming to the realization that every KAF variety I use (AP, cake flour, or bread flour) guarantees uniformly excellent results, every single time. Their website is www.kingarthurflour.com --and, by the way, their store is a baker's dream: great tools, terrific recipes, fantastic cookbooks, and, of course, wonderful flour. And no, I don't work for them, nor am I paid to post about them, I just love their products.
Brilliant Instructable.
Thank you so much for sharing.

Kind regards,
Anna.
PS I have tried this and the results are utterly delicious. Truly fabulous!
heather341 year ago
yes..the pizza and the bagels. If your a north easterner and move anywhere else...there is just nothing else like it. Sometimes I think I would KILL for a real slice of NY Pizza. Sad..I know...boo hoo.
justjimAZ1 year ago
Five stars for sure. Always wanted to make bagels!
justjimAZ1 year ago
"During peek times managing the oven is a full time job as the beast can hold literally hundreds of bagels at a time."
Probably peak times? The idea of a manager busy managing the oven while a bunch of people try to get a peek was entertaining tough!
justjimAZ1 year ago
"Boiling effects the chewiness by setting the crust before the bagels are baked limiting the amount that the bagel can rise within the oven."
Affects, not effects.
Thanks for this 'ible!
wrksnfx1 year ago
OMG THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, FINALLY SOMEBODY WHO KNOWS HOW TO MAKE REAL BAGELS and not rolls. Sorry for the shouting but my bagel lust took over, oh boy I see super-sized garlic bagels w/ smoked salmon and cream cheese in my future yum. :) :) :)
pcelica071 year ago
Bravo!Thanks for sharing!:)))
Drayon841 year ago
I have experimented with bagels before but I have never had very clear instructions. This has given me really great ideas for the next time I make them. Thank you very much for this instructable.
Lovely instructable! I feel like I've just been visiting Blake and Amy's bakery, and had a thoroughly good - and interesting - time with you all. I'm definitely gonna give this a try - they look too good not to :D
tbone1881 year ago
This is the reason I love Instructables. Every one is a new adventure. GREAT JOB!!
This is awesome - I've taken to making my own bagels since moving to the Bay Area from Montreal two years ago, having not found good substitutes. I will definitely try the recipe plus visit the shop!
danzo3211 year ago
Thanks, I had no idea they rested 24-48 hours
daytona6751 year ago
Superb Instructable! We live in France where bagels are unavailable, so I have made them myself with acceptable results. But this Instructable will help me tidy up my methods to achieve even better results. Merci beaucoup!
marnieC1 year ago
oh wow, i never thought of boiling in honey water. The recipes i have read all suggest salted or baking soda water.
Thank you for this Instructable! Gives me some ideas for my own bagels.
Wow! Thanks so much! This was great lunchtime reading. I especially loved the animated gif in Step 19...
Great write up.
Burlington VT has Myers Bagels. AMAZING Montreal style. They are pretty much sold out of the best of the stock by 9 or 10am each day. That and having moved an hour away 4 years ago means none of that for us anymore... so this instructable is an Illuvatar-send and I so hope we can pull it off. NY bagels = blech comparatively.
thanks so much!
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