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I made this bagel recipe, and here is the result:

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As you can see, the tops are beautiful, but the bottoms have stuck to the wire rack they were baked on, and have torn upon removal. The recipe does not mention greasing the rack (in either its written or video form), but should I be doing that anyway? Or is there some other way that I'm supposed to keep these bagels from sticking?

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  • FWIW, I've been making bagels for 20 years, and have friend who runs a commercial bagel shop, and I've never seen that wire rack method before. I think you just found out why nobody but Babish does it.
    – FuzzyChef
    Sep 24 '20 at 1:51
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Those look like great bagels, as a native New Yorker living abroad in a place with no bagels I both salute and envy your results! I have also been baking my own to get my fix.

Baking bread on a wire rack is generally a bad idea, and a very bad idea with bagels. Bagels are very sticky because you boil them, this gelatinizes the outer layer of the dough, making it very soft so it will mold around any shape. They will sink onto any shape you put them on no matter what you coat them with and then bake onto that shape, so you need to bake them on a flat surface. They will also stick like glue to a flat surface, and there's one or two ways to counteract that:

  1. Coat the bottom of the bagel. Purists will say you shouldn't do this, I have no problem with it, after all it means double the toppings! The only thing is the toppings don't necessarily crisp up as well when they are trapped between the bottom and the tray. You can also use a thin coating of fine cornmeal or better yet fine semolina. These act as miniature ball bearings and keep things from adhering. I use the same technique when baking pizzas
  2. Bake on a non-stick surface such as baking paper or a reusable non-stick baking mat. In my experience non-stick baking trays do not work with bagels, they will stick to them like glue

I usually do both just to make sure.

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I usually bake mine on a parchment paper lined sheet pan...no sticking. I could see how they might stick to a wire rack. If you insist on using the rack, perhaps a mist of cooking spray would help, before you place the bagels on. Once baked, you can remove them to the rack for cooking. They will not stick at that point.

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  • The thing is that this recipe calls for boiling water in the bottom of the tray, and then the wire rack over that.
    – crmdgn
    Sep 22 '20 at 0:54
  • @crmdgn that's a new method for me. Maybe take a look at some other recipes.
    – moscafj
    Sep 22 '20 at 0:56
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    @crmdgn if I am clear about your description, boiling water in the bottom of a tray is during baking. While your bagles look good, I don't think this is helping you at all. I assume you are boiling before baking. In that case, there is not much more rise that will happen during the bake. So, to me, this sounds unnecessary. I would try it without that set up and compare results.
    – moscafj
    Sep 22 '20 at 11:19
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In my experience bagels stick to almost anything. My theory is that the main reason they are traditionally coated with seeds is to counteract this.

When I prove bread in a banneton I layer the bottom with seeds to reduce the chance of the loaf sticking, and means when I turn it out the seeds are on top and well attached to the loaf, which makes a more successful topping than just sprinkling seeds on before baking. On the same principle I positively dredge bagels in seeds both for their own sake and to keep the tack dough from making contact with baking surfaces.

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