How A Pinch Of Brown Sugar Will Improve Your Homemade Bagels

Bagels on a parchment paper
Bagels on a parchment paper - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

There's something magical about the scent of freshly baked bagels filling your kitchen. It's warm, inviting, and has that nostalgic feel that reminds you of your favorite bakery on a Saturday morning. If you've made bagels at home, you know they can be quite good, but if you haven't added a bit of brown sugar to your recipe, you're missing out on a small but significant boost to your baking game.

Bagels are all about balance. They should have a crust that's crispy but not too hard, and a center that's chewy but not too dense. Traditionally, the taste is slightly malty yet not sugary, thanks to the barley malt or malt syrup that purists swear by. But instead of going through the hassle of tracking down a specialty ingredient, you can simply substitute the malt syrup with brown sugar.

So what does brown sugar do to bagels? The most noticeable impact is in the color: Your baked goods will have a deeper golden hue. This is because the brown sugar has molasses in it, which caramelizes in the heat of the oven. This caramelization process not only creates that attractive golden-brown shade but also contributes to the slightly crispy crust. When you pull those bagels out of the oven, you'll see the difference right away.

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The Flavor Advantage And How To Add Brown Sugar To Your Bagels

Brown sugar in scoop
Brown sugar in scoop - Vitalina/Getty Images

Beyond the color, brown sugar brings a subtle sweetness to your bagels that makes them even more enjoyable to eat. It's not the kind of sweetness you get from candy or desserts, but a gentle hint of flavor that balances well with the other ingredients. The molasses in the brown sugar gives a touch of depth and complexity, enhancing the overall taste without making your bagels too sugary.

The best part is that adding brown sugar to your bagels is pretty straightforward. When you're preparing the dough, simply add the sugar with the rest of the dry ingredients. You don't have to change your process or invest in special equipment — just stir it in and continue to knead the dough as usual. Another place to add brown sugar is during the boiling step. Before you bake your bagels, you typically boil them in water and baking soda, known as a baking soda bath. At this point, you can add your brown sugar to the water and stir it in together with the baking soda. These simple changes are sure to produce perfect homemade bagels every time.

Read the original article on Tasting Table