I ♥ Bagels

go directly to the recipe

summary: recipe for “real” bagels made with strong flour and parboiled in malted water before being baked; (click on image for larger view and more photos)

bagels Bagels are so amazingly wonderful, aren’t they? And I’m not talking about those fake doughnut shaped buns posing as bagels. I’m talking about bagels that have been made with strong flour and parboiled in malted water before being baked so that they have that wonderful chewy texture that only real bagels can have.

Yesterday morning we ate warmed bagels with a little butter, goat cheese and apricot jam. With good strong coffee.

De . Li . Cious :!:

Even though bagel making might seem long and convoluted, it really isn’t. Bagels are dead easy to make. Here is the recipe I followed:

based on “Jo Goldenberg’s bagels” in New Complete Book of Breads by Bernard Clayton & Peter Reinhart’s “Classic Water Bagels”


  • 1 c lukewarm water
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ c of wholewheat flour
  • c bread flour

actual dough

  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ c lukewarm water
  • 2 c bread flour
  • 1 tsp malt powder
  • tsp salt

after shaping

  • 3 l. water
  • Tbsp malt powder
  • sesame and/or poppy seeds


  1. starter: In a bowl large enough for the final dough to double, whisk the yeast into the lukewarm water (do the baby bottle test on your wrist to ensure the water is not too hot). Add the starter flours and stir with a wooden spoon to mix well.
  2. Cover and leave on the counter for a couple of hours til it starts to bubble (in winter, I leave it on the counter overnight – kitchen is about 15C at night)
  1. actual dough: Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm water til it is smooth and creamy looking.
  2. Stir the yeasted water into the bubbling starter. Add the flour, malt powder and salt and stir with a wooden spoon to mix well.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board.
  4. Wash and dry the bowl.
  5. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes until it is smooth and springy. Note that this dough may seem quite stiff at first. As you knead, resist the temptation to add too much more flour.
  6. Put the kneaded dough into the clean bowl, cover, and let rise til double on the counter in a non-drafty area.
  1. shaping: Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide even into 12 pieces.
  2. Shape each piece into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a damp (clean) tea towel.
  3. Pick up each ball and poke a hole in the center with your thumb. Stretch the hole by turning the ring around first a couple of fingers than your hands. The hole should be quite large. Lay the ring on the parchment paper and cover with the damp tea towel.
  4. Leave to rise til the rings are almost doubled. (about an hour or so)
  5. Half an hour before baking, turn the oven to 450F.
  6. parboiling: Just before baking, pour 3 litres of water into a large pot and bring to a smiling boil. Stir in malt powder.
  7. Carefully lift a risen ring from the sheet and drop it gently into the boiling water. After 30 seconds or so, use a slotted spoon to turn the bagel over and allow it to boil for about another half minute. Remove from the water and place on the parchment paper. Sprinkle with sesame and/or poppy seeds. Repeat with the other rings. (Please see photo essay of shaping and parboiling bagels.)
  8. baking: Put the bagels into the 450F oven and immediately turn the oven down to 400F. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the pan once to allow for uneven oven heat.
  9. Allow to cool on a rack before eating.

If you like warm bagels, reheat them after they have cooled. Serve them with butter. Or cream cheese. Or goat cheese. And apricot jam. Or smoked salmon and capers.

I must confess that this time, I had forgotten that there was a starter for this recipe. I made the “starter” in the morning and then about ten minutes later decided to just mix the “actual dough” without waiting for the starter to bubble. The bagels turned out just as fantastically as ever…

Please note that strong bread flour is best for bagels. While all-purpose flour CAN be used, the resulting bagels are more like buns with holes in the center. (Also note that our cup measure holds 250ml rather than the 237ml US.)

Read about other bagel making times:


This entry was posted in baking, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes on by .

* Thank you for visiting. Even though I may not get a chance to reply to you directly, I love seeing your comments and/or questions and read each and every one of them. Please note that your e-mail address will never be displayed by me. Also note that you do NOT have to sign in to Disqus to comment. Click in the "name" box and look for "I'd rather post as a guest" that appears at the bottom of the "Sign up with Disqus". After checking the box, you will be able to proceed with your comment.

"Comment Moderation" is in use. It may take a little time before your comment appears. Comments containing unsolicited advertising will be deleted as spam (which means any subsequent comments will be automatically relegated to the spam section and unlikely to be retrieved). Disqus comment area  wp-image-2332