The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


SumisuYoshi's picture


I've never been a big fan of bagels, which is part of why I skipped this recipe at first, but I know a lot of people who like them so I finally decided the time was right. First step of the recipe is easy, making a sponge, just water, flour and yeast left to expand for a few hours.

Bagel Ingredients (for sponge)

Mixed Sponge

Bagel Sponge

Once the sponge is ready, time to (attempt) to mix in the rest of the flour, the yeast, and malt powder. I say try, because bagel dough is really low hydration so I ended up needing to add a fair portion of the flour during the kneading. There was just no point in adding more to the dough while it was still in the bowl. And boy did it require a lot of kneading...

Flour, Salt, Malt Powder

Once kneaded I let the dough rest for a bit and started dividing it into roughly equal balls. Followed by a bit more resting, and shaping into bagels (I used the thumb punch shaping method shown in the book, it worked really well). Then the shaped bagels took a trip to the fridge for retardation overnight.

Divided Bagel Dough

Preshaped Bagels

Shaped Bagels

I wasn't really sure of the taste in bagels of the people I was making these for, so I stuck with plain, poppy seed, sesame seed and cinnamon raisin (trying to make 1/4 of the dough cinnamon raisin after the dough is already mixed is VERY tricky, I do not recommend it, but it was the only way I could see to easily divide it so). The boiling process before topping the bagels was easy, a little bit of baking soda and malt powder added to the water (they really make it foam up!) and away they went. I didn't notice I had no cornmeal or semolina left before I started, and the semolina flour worked less than perfectly when placing the boiled bagels back on the sheet pan, which definitely reminded me to pick up cornmeal the next time I was at the store.

Boiled and Topped

I followed the suggestion in the book to top the cinnamon raisin bagels with brushed on butter and a cinnamon sugar topping, looked delicious! As did the rest of the bagels. Note, I say looked, I made this first batch to take in to people at school and since I only made the single batch of 12 I didn't actually get to try any(I did the next time I made them though)! One thing I was surprised by during the baking process was the blast of steam/water vapor when you open the oven to turn them around, I'm not sure if it is because of all the water in the crust from the boiling or the baking soda... But when I opened the oven to turn them around it felt like some sort of chemical weapon assault! Never experienced that when baking bread before.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Plain Bagels

Sesame Seed Bagel

Poppy Seed Bagel

Sliced Bagel

Another post submitted to YeastSpotting , having that available to submit posts to really keeps me inspired to bake, and I love seeing what other people have made each week, thanks so much Susan! Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge

richawatt's picture

My take on bagels

July 31, 2009 - 9:27pm -- richawatt

Hi all, I would loke to post my take on bagels.  I have been trying time and time again to get what I thiink is the perfect bagel.  I have kept a log of all my attempts, and have narrowed it down to a couple key elements that have to be done to get the perfect bagel. Oh and sorry for my spelling...I just can't.....

1. First is hydration.  Using King Aurther bread flour I have found that 55 to 57 percent works well.  I have tried all three 55, 56, and 57, and they all have the same outcome, 57% is just a little easier to work with. 

MommaT's picture

Bagels - tried BBA recipe and have questions

July 19, 2009 - 12:53pm -- MommaT


Having had a very successful experience with boiled pretzels, I was convinced bagels were a walk in the park.  The recipe in BBA seemed approachable enough -- doesn't take too long, doesn't require lye (I know...point of contention) and is ready to bake for breakfast.  I had a mediocre experience, however, and am looking for pointers from those of you who have had great success making "true" bagels.

mrosen814's picture

Perfecting the Bagel

July 4, 2009 - 10:36am -- mrosen814

The bagels I baked yesterday, were yet another attempt in my quest for bagel perfection. :)  For the most part, I was very pleased with the results.  The bagels had really good texture and mouth-feel.  In terms of improving the recipe (bba) for next time, here is what I will try:

1. I'll add a bit more salt.

2. The flavor was nice, but I want to try to get some more depth, so, I will let the dough chill in the fridge for at least 16-18 hours.

chi's picture


Pumpkin Bagel

Adding pumpkin makes the texture very tender and moist, still chewy though.  You don't taste pumpkin really, taste just sweetness of it.  

I like to use a Japanese pumpkin which is sold as "Kabocha Pumpkin" at a store.   Cut in half, toast lightly, put salted butter and bite!  Mmm...


Ryan Sandler's picture

Adding to water for bagels--a question

February 10, 2009 - 12:35pm -- Ryan Sandler

So, in the last few weeks I've started trying out the pretzel formula from Jeff Hamelman's Bread, with very pleasing results.  One modification I made was to boil the pretzels instead of cold-dipping them, and use 1tbsp baking soda per cup water instead of lye.  The result: a lovely mahogony colored, crispy thin yummy crust. 


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