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Aug 10, 1998 02:42 PM

re: Bagels must be small, dense, chewy, dark, and blistery

  • g

Hey Jim,
A message from "The Jewish Baker"
Blistery? When unbaked bagels are left over in the
bakery they are stored under refrigeration. Often,
bagel bakeries prepare extra bagels to be baked first
thing in the morning so that they can begin to work
later. If the temperature and humidity in the fridge
is not quite right the dough begins to blister. The
longer the dough is refrigerated the worse the
blister. Blistering is a sign of old dough. It's a
sign of a lazy baker or a crummy bagel. The problem is
that there are not too many people around anymore who
know how a really good bagel tastes. Maybe you should
try to make your own.

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  1. "Blistering is a sign of old dough"

    No, no, you misunderstood me!

    By "blisters", I refer to those tiny crispy raised
    bumps you get on the skin (usually on the bottom side)
    of really well-made bagels; they effortlessly burst
    with a delicate crunch as you chew.

    Lender's bagels don't have 'em. Neither do H&H. All the
    good hand-rolls (and, rarer, machine-punched) ones out of the oven, too.

    It's at least partially a function of long-enough
    baking...undercooked bagels don't have them. But
    mediocre ones never get them even if you cook 'em dark
    brown. I suspect it's a matter of proper boiling (with
    NY water...out-of-town bagels don't get these blisters)
    plus long-enough baking.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Jim Leff

      Sheila's Kitchen on Francis Lewis Blvd around 35th Ave.
      is the real deal for bagels!!!
      They are definetly worth the trip.
      Regards, JK

      1. re: John Knoesel
        Lisa Antinore

        I live just up the road from Shelia's and am a regular there- nothing like a hot-from-the-oven salt bagel just after a treadmill session at the nearby gym.... Heaven! John, I bet if you and I ever met we'd do a doubletake- we both frequent the same places in the nabe. We've probably run into each other on various lines a dozen times.

        BTW, if you haven't already, you have to sprint to Cafe Italiano for the fresh lunch panini sandwiches. It's become a once a week thing for us. The made to order panini bread is out of this world. Best is the basil chicken stuffing. Yum Yum. The dollar coffee ice at D'Aquila on Franny Lew makes the perfect summertime dessert. The best ices in NY hands down.

        Your neighbor,

        1. re: Lisa Antinore

          Thanks for the tip on the coffee ice!
          Taking my first cruise next week to Bermuda on the
          Celebrity Horizon.
          We chose Celebrity because we were told they serve up
          the best chow on the HIGH seas.
          I'll have a report when I get back.
          Regards, JK

      2. re: Jim Leff
        jonathan gold

        Jim's right (at least as far as the
        qualitative thing goes). Those ``blisters''
        he's referring to are fermentation bubbles,
        formed by wisps of gas that escape as the
        live yeasts expire, and are generally a sign
        that the baked good in question has been
        properly proofed. Tiny fermentation bubbles
        are a good thing.

        The fermentation bubbles, however, have
        little or nothing to do with the boiling of
        the dough. A bagel is boiled to tighten its
        surface gluten, which acts as sort of a bagel
        girdle and keeps it from assuming the bloated,
        puffy proportions of, say, an H&H bagel.

        1. re: Jim Leff
          Frank Language

          Big Dog writes: >

          Oh must be all the chlorine and lead that
          gives you the perfect blisters.

        2. j
          Joan Munkacsi

          Does anyone else remember when bagels were so dense
          that if you didn't chew carefully they'd give you the
          hiccups (no, I'm not making this up)? This was back
          before they inflated them with bicycle pumps and the
          holes disappeared into the bloat.