Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rings of Rye

Yup, I'm back at it again! Bagels were back on the menu for mom this week, as a respite from a stretch of rolls and loaves I had been trying out. I decided on playing with a new kind of flour (rye) for the body of these ones, as well as giving a pure sourdough - risen batch another go. That choice was almost the death of these bagels!

Let me explain.

I began with a sourdough sponge method of prepping the bread dough - simple enough: starter + flour + water + time. Well, when making a dough that relies on strong gluten bonds for chewiness and body (like a bagel mixture) it helps if you use a flour actually containing gluten. Rye has gluten - less than regular flour, but it is there. However... the dark buckwheat flour - that I grabbed for the sponge by mistake - does not. Thank God I had two hours to recognize my error while the sponge was proofing to adjust the final flour mixture! An extra half tablespoon of vital wheat gluten is all it took, but had I not caught it in time these would have been more like handcuffs shackling me to the kitchen instead of supple snakes of chewy bread that I could shape and boil! Even then, the dough is very sticky given the addition of apple cider and molasses, but the smell your house will begin to fill with as these bake is well worth it. My mom likened it to the cider shack at our local orchard during harvest season - spicy, warm and comforting with an ever so slightly bitter edge. The buckwheat flour actually boosts the apple flavour by giving it a nutty background, and I have to say I'd use it again for the same effect! If you don't have buckwheat on hand, just use regular rye flour in the sponge... it's what I would have done!

Unlike the previous ones I made, these bagels do three rises in total - one for the sponge, one rest at room temp, and a final, 12 hour cold rise in the fridge. It provides an infinite depth of flavour for the sourdough portion, and results in a dense, chewy finished product. I would definitely do this again, especially if using commercial yeast. Passing these off to YeastSpotting, hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast, for this week's round up!

Sour Apple Rye Bagels
Makes ten 4-oz bagels
3/4 cup refreshed (preferably rye-fed) sourdough starter, room temperature
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tbsp molasses
1 cup unfiltered apple cider, warmed
2 cups dark rye flour
1/2 cup rye flakes
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp crushed fennel seed
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp brown sugar
  1. Combine the sourdough starter, water and buckwheat flour in the bowl of a stand mixer, stirring until smooth. Let sit for 1-2 hours.
  2. Stir in molasses and apple cider.
  3. Whisk together rye flour, rye flakes, AP flour, gluten, salt, fennel and nutmeg.
  4. With the mixer (fitted with dough hook) running, begin adding the dry mixture to the blend in the bowl.
  5. Continue mixing to form a stiff, pliable and mostly smooth dough. Knead for 10-15 minutes, until supple.
  6. Place into an oiled bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and allow to rise 2 hours.
  7. Deflate the dough and knead briefly, then place back into the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 10-12 hours.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400F and bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the brown sugar.
  9. Divide dough into 10 equal pieces, shaping into rings. Place them on greased or lined baking sheets.
  10. Two by two, drop bagels into the boiling water and cook 1 minute on each side. Drain and place on the prepared baking sheets.
  11. Bake 25 minutes, then cool completely on wire racks.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 229.1
Total Fat: 1.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 3.6 mg
Total Carbs: 47.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 9.2 g
Protein: 9.4 g


  1. Oh my goodness, amazing!!!! I really need to get on the sourdough starter thing. I tried once but it didn't go well.

  2. Buckwhat and apple is such a good combination -- I 'd say this was a fortuitous mistake, as is so often the case. And with fennel and nutmeg, mmm.

  3. Very creative! I love the idea of buckwheat too.


Thanks for the feedback!