The recipe looks daunting until you've tried it. It gets easier with practice.
I am using a sourdough pre-ferment to improve the flavor of the bagels. The sourdough is contributing ¼ cup each of water and flour plus wild yeast. You can adjust the recipe, replacing the sourdough pre-ferment with those amounts and increasing the yeast to 2 teaspoons. When the dough is made, you can then place it in the refrigerator overnight or up to 48 hours to slow rise. When you are ready, remove the dough from the refrigerator, allow it to come to room temperature and continue with the recipe. Of course you can skip all of this, add the ¼ cup each water and flour, 2 teaspoons of yeast and then just make the bagels.
2 tbs mother starter (100% hydration)*
¼ cup brown rice flour (or oat flour)
¼ cup water
Combine all of the ingredients to form a thick but pour-able mix. You can add a very small amount of water if the mixture is too thick. Allow the pre-ferment to mature on your kitchen counter for a few hours or overnight . Cover the mix with something breathable like paper hand towels. I leave my jar uncovered for at least an hour, longer if I can. I have found this is the best way to introduce the wild yeast to the mixture.
Your preferment is ready when there are clear signs of activity. There should be air pockets throughout and the dough should have doubled in volume. When ready, follow the remaining steps below. If you have enough sourdough or mother starter, you can measure out the ½ cup required in the recipe using this as your pre-ferment. In that case you can jump ahead in the recipe and make the bagels.
My sourdough starter or mother was made with brown rice flour and water. The culture is active, ready to use when I need it.
*100% hydration means, using the same amount of water and flour to feed your sourdough. Some gluten free flour blends need a little more water than flour. I still treat this as 100% hydration
1 cup oat flour
½ cup almond flour (not almond meal)
¼ cup potato starch (not potato flour)
¼ cup tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp yeast
½ tbsp baking powder
½ tbsp sugar
1/3 tsp salt
Tapioca starch for shaping the bagels
½ cup Pre-ferment**
½ cup water (more by tablespoon if needed)
¼ cup aquafaba slurry (see here)***
¼ cup oil more oil for shaping the dough
**If there is a little more than ½ cup pre-ferment go ahead and add it. Continue with the recipe but start with 1/3 cup water adding more if necessary
*** You can sub non diary milk for the aquafaba slurry, the result will differ a bit
1 ½ quarts of water
1 tsp molasses
½ tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp aquafaba (or aquafaba slurry)***
****The aquafaba is optional. I believe that using it in the water bath as added protein, helps with the browning of the bagel. It's a working theory, these bagels browned much better than those in my previous attempts. However, I adjusted a few variables this time around so I will be testing this further. Updates will be posted.
Combine all of the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl, mix well.
Add the wet ingredients. Mix on a low speed to combine. Increase the speed and mix until the dough is “smooth”, holding together and slightly sticky. This will be a soft dough but not “wet” and shaggy as is the norm for gluten free bread dough. Let the dough rest for about 10 mins. At the end of the rest check the dough to make sure that it is properly hydrated, add very little water at a time if needed.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside
Create a floured surface with the tapioca starch to shape the bagels. A silpat mat works great here. Pinch off pieces of the dough, enough to fit in the palm of your hand. This recipe makes about 6 bagels, you can use this as a guide to average the size of the dough pieces.
In a circular motion, roll the dough with the palm of your hands on the floured surface. Working with oiled hands helps. Try to get the dough as smooth as possible without adding too much tapioca starch.
You can place the pieces of dough on the parchment lined tray now or after shaping. Leave at least an inch between the shaped bagels. Flatten the dough to about 2 ¾ - 3 inches in diameter. The finished bagel will be about 3 ½ inches. Flatten, but shape it so that the top is slightly domed. I lightly spritzed the top of the bagel with water and used the back of a spoon to create the shape. This step (creating a domed shape), is not necessary at all. Since the bagel has a very short proofing time, training the bagel to rise in a dome shaped is only about the aesthetics.
Create a hole in the center of the bagel with your finger. In a circular motion widen to about ¾ to 1 inch in diameter. Set the tray of bagels aside for about 10 minutes in a warm area of your kitchen to proof, the bagels will rise a bit more in the oven. The 10 minutes can include the time it takes to setup the water bath. I do not cover the bagels. The spritzing I used to shape the bagels keeps it moist and I can simply spritz again if I have to.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees (F)
Prepare the water bath, you want enough depth in your pot to fully immerse the bagels. Dissolve the molasses and sugar in the water. Add the aqafuaba and bring the mixture to a boil on medium to high heat. The bagels should have visibly “puffed up” a bit by now. If not wait a few more minutes, but do not leave the bagel to double in size or anything close to that. You are looking for somewhere in the vicinity of a 15% - 20% increase in size. You should be able to flip the bagel into the palm of your hand without it falling apart. If it breaks or falls apart simply reshape it.
Starting with the first bagel that you shaped and working with only 1 bagel at a time, place the bagel in the boiling water bath. Cook on each side for 10 seconds. Using a round skimmer slotted spoon, take the bagels out of the water and return it to the parchment lined tray, flat side down.
With a light hand, brush to cover, the top of the bagel with oil. Sprinkle your desired topping on top. Continue boiling and dressing your bagels, working from the first to the last bagel you shaped.
When finished, place the tray in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees (F). Bake for another 10 – 12 minutes. The bagel will sound hollow when tapped if they are fully baked.
Transfer the finished bagels to a wire rack and cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. You can also leave the tray of bagels in the oven or a warming drawer on the keep warm setting.
That is perfect if you are going to have the bagels about an hour or so later.
Wrapped tightly and frozen is the best way to store the bagels.