whole wheat bagel
From both of his fantastic baking book A Bakers Apprentice and Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Bread, what I wanted to bake at first was bagel, even though I never have been a big fan of it. Once in almost every other week, people brought in bagels from Einstein bagel located right across the street from the office, and I barely ate it. The beauty of bagel is that chewy texture, but I never like it.
However, I really wanted to bake myself at least once to see whether I can really achieve that chewiness or not. In addition, I thought that whole shaping and boiling process was pretty cool. So I tried white wheat version first, and the result was OK; it was definitely chewy, and also a little bit tough.
Once making the white wheat version to get the hang of it, I tried whole wheat version right away to see that whole wheat baking thing is really working. The result of white wheat version was kind of given, even though it was a bit more tougher than I had expected, since it was just standard process of baking. However, baking with whole wheat flour is a little bit of different story as it is believed that with whole wheat flour, developing gluten is a challenge. In fact, I have tried to bake quite a few whole wheat version of my baking repertoire by simple substituting as much as the half of white wheat flour into whole wheat one, and the result was without a doubt, drier and tougher. I really didn’t care about that driness and toughness, but always wondered how to make it better with better guidance.
Finally, I could try with Peter Reinhart’s recipe for whole wheat bagel, and it was near disaster until I saw the final result. I really don’t feel like to elaborate the recipe here, since I will do it on my Korean blog, but I think I should mentioned that the dough was way too sticky than I had expected after mixing all the ingredients as the book directed, with that ‘delayed fermentation’ method, and I still can’t get why.
When I first tried white wheat version, the dough was extremely stiff so that the motor of my kitchenaid mixer was overload, and I ended up dividing the dough into half to finish the kneading. Since I had expected the whole wheat version would be the same as the book had indicated, I could not understand why the dough was like that; it was too sticky so that the devided dough could not retain its signature bagel shape after the second proofing. In fact, the dough did never form a ball after the second proof. It just collapsed. For the boiling, I had to reform the dough since it just could not retain its form.
Anyway, everything settled down after baking. Since the dough was very sticky, it turned out to be softer than the white wheat version I had baked before that, and tasted nice and nutty. For the topping, I put the coarsely chopped pecan I had kept in the fridge and it went very well with the flovor and texture of the bagel.
I ordered huge batch of domestic whole wheat flour and it is on the way, so I will bake more once I have them on my hands. I wonder domestic, not imported flour is the key of difference, as there can be difference in the ratio of gluten from in the flour.
And the other thing I should point out is that the baking time for whole wheat bagel is much longer than white wheat one. I had to underbake slightly than the book had indicated as I was afraid of buring the dough. I think I have to look at other recipes to crosscheck.