Sunday, March 24, 2013
Flour, salt, barley malt, yeast and water. That's all that goes into the base dough for Bruegger's bagels that are made fresh every day throughout the country. Simple ingredients that transform into so many amazing flavors and result in a perfectly chewy New York style bagel.
I was recently invited to go behind the scenes of a local Bruegger's Bagel shop here in Minneapolis as the company celebrates its 30th year. It was so much fun seeing how the bagels come together in their beautiful bakeries, and of course we got to eat bagels, and even help to make some!
Chef Philip Smith walked us through how the bagels were made and then took us behind the scenes to see exactly how it was done. Each bagel is formed and then allowed to rest in a cooler for up to two days before it's boiled and baked. This allows the flavors in the dough to develop as well as for the outside crust of the dough to harden up somewhat. This is different than how I normally make them so I was excited to test this out at home afterwards.
After their resting period, the bagels and boiled in small batches in a large vat of just simmering water. After bobbing around in the water for a few minutes they're removed and placed on these canvas wrapped trays.
Toppings are added here and then they're placed in the large stone hearth oven to finish baking. They start out upside down and are flipped off the trays onto the hearth partially through baking. The result is a perfectly shaped bagel, that's lightly browned with that crispy shell and chewy center. This process goes on all day, resulting in always fresh bagels no matter when you stop by.
I've made bagels a few times before and my wife has been asking for them again lately so I was excited to try some of these new techniques at home. Remember those canvas wrapped boards? I was asking Chef Smith so much about them, he broke down and just handed me one and told me to take it home. Awesome. So of course I had to integrate that into my process as well as letting them sit in the fridge at least over night. Here's my original egg bagel recipe you can try it with. Even without the board, use a pizza stone in a very hot oven and you'll get similar results. To form the bagels this time, I made them into individual balls and then poked my finger through the center and then expanded it to the size I wanted.
Here are some photos from my newest bagel home experiment: