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problems with bun rounder/divider in bagel shop

picnicman's picture

problems with bun rounder/divider in bagel shop

Hi everyone.  About 10 months ago my wife and I started making artisanal bagels on a commercial scale in Rome, Italy as kind of a pandemic pivot and it's been doing really well and productions numbers have been increasing to the point where we bought a bun rounder/divider to help shorten one of the more time sucking part of the process. 

In the beginning we were following the pretty conventional approach to make dough, shape, then retard overnight in the fridge then boil/bake the next morning, but we often had overproofing problems and the next morning would have to reform everyhing, so we decided to just bulk, cold proof overnight in fridge and cut/form in the morning.  This also helped because we can fit a lot more dough in the fridge than we can formed bagels. 

However, now that we've bought this divider/rounder, it turns out it's not that great working with cold/risen dough.  It has a hard time pressing out the air and they don't close well nor are they smooth enough to get good results.

Some things I've tried are to throw the cold risen dough back in the mixer for about 10 minutes, totally deflating it, and this helps in that the divider/rounder does it job better, but then the bagels are so flat that if we continue this way we'll need to readjust the amount of yeast and time for them to rest (which creates a space problem in that in Rome we don't have much of it). 

Also, I find that our dough the following day, especially after being remixed in the mixer, feels too elastic/tacky and weak. 

We use a 55% hydration and 2g dry yeast per kilo of flour and we use diastatic malt powder (as we can't find an affordable supplier of malt syrup on the scale we'd need it).  I have some suspicions that the malt powder, although helping in flavor, isn't doing the dough any favors strength wise.

So my question is whether anyone has experience using bun rounders on cold risen dough and whether they have any suggestions of how to get better results with it.  If not, and we have to rethink our process and form the bagels the night before and cook in the morning, does anyone have any experience with malt powder and whether it effects the dough negatively over night (something that doesn't matter much when we're reforming in the morning but is a disaster if they need to be ready in the morning and there's no time to fix them if they've overproofed or weakened so much that they can't be handled to get into the water).

Thanks in advance everyone!