Why do these stupid bagels float?!

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Senior Cook
Apr 8, 2004
My bagel recipe tells me to put the risen bagels in the poaching liquid, and they're supposed to sink to the bottom immediately, and float to the surface after 2 minutes. But they never sink, even when I push them down with a metal spatula. WHY?!
Mine don't either. I just flip em after they boil for a bit. I think there is too much air in the dough. I tried punching them down and then putting them in the water...still didn't sink. Hope someone has an answer for you. I'd like to know too.
Jason: Are you using an egg dough or an eggless dough? Also, do you cook them in plain or sweetened simmering water?

My eggless bagels are cooked in 4 quarts of water mixed with 2 tablespoons of honey. The proportions:

1 Tbsp dried yeast
1 tsp sugar + 2 cups lukewarm water
3 Tbsp oil
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
4-5 cups flour

The bagels made from a richer egg batter are cooked in 2 quarts of water mixed with 2 Tbsp sugar. The proportions:

2 Tbsp yeast
2 cups water + 2 Tbsp water
2 tsp salt
¼ cup oil
6½ to 7 cups bread flour

Bring the pot of water to the boil, then reduce to a steady simmer. Lower the bagels individually into the water; they should rise quickly to the surface, at which point invert them; after turning, they’re boiled for an extra 3 minutes; removed from the pan, brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with poppy seeds, then baked at 400° until ideally browned.
I followed the recipe precisely. It calls for 1 gallon of water with 510g of honey. The dough is eggless. You bring the honey-water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and dump the risen eggs in. I checked the temperature of the water, and it was about 95 degrees Celcius when I put in the bagels. Why didn't they sink?
Here are the ingredients, in case it helps:


1 1/2 ounces (40 g) fresh compressed yeast
1 quart (960 ml) warm water (105 to 115 F)
3 Tbsp (45 ml/55 g/2 ounces) Honey
2 ounces (55 g) sugar
2 TBSP (30 g) salt
4 pounds 4 ounces (1 kg 935 g) high gluten flour

Poaching Liquid

1 gallon (3 L 840 ml) water
1 1/2 cups (360 ml, 510 g) honey

The bagels turned out fine, but I still want to know why they didn't sink. So what the heck went wrong?!
If the dough is risen it is obvious that there are bubbles inside. This will automatically make them rise.

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