The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A bagel challenge – if you wish to accept it

HokeyPokey's picture

A bagel challenge – if you wish to accept it

Calling all bakers to help me in a quest for a perfect pumpernickel bagel. I’ve made some plain while flour bagels, chocolate bagels, flavoured bagels, etc.

 But what I am after is that taste ofNew Yorkpumpernickel bagel – glossy on the outside, chewy on the inside, with a wonderful taste of pumpernickel, which is just calling out for a shmea of cream cheese and some smoked salmon.

 Lets start baking


HeidiH's picture

Sure, sounds good to me.  In fact, if I can make a bagel that doesn't shrivel as it cools, I'll be a very happy camper, pumpernickel or no.  I've been meaning to research what a true pumpernickel is.  Looks like we'll have pumpernickel bagels for breakfast tomorrow.

arlo's picture

Zingerman's Bakehouse makes a delicious Pumpernickel bagel on special occasions. I know they use a well developed rye sour to bring about some good flavor. Perhaps begin with a rye sour, use a bit of caraway, whole rye/rye meal and mess around and see what you can come up with.

Przytulanka's picture

Neiter me nor my husband is a fan of bagels. But I bake them once a year.

For the XIII Festival of Jewish Culture SIMCHA I baked my version of bagels. The Bagel was brought to New York City by Jewish  Immigrants from Eastern Europe in the 1880s. Until the 1920s it was hardly known  in other parts of the United States. Not before the last quarter of the 20th century they has become popular throughout US.


Submitting toYeastspotting.




Inspired by the recipe from:Wanton Flavours.


Sourdough Starter:

150 g whole wheat sourdough

200 g whole wheat flour

200 g water


 Final Dough:

550g sourdough starter

150g  water

450g whole wheat flour

100g buckwheat flour

38g vegetable oil

15g salt


Mix these all ingredients to form a stiffish dough. Let sit for 10 minutes and knead  the dough for about 10 minutes in  its bowl. Then leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 3  hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl and  knead it briefly.  Then divide into 12 pieces, forming each segment into a flattened ball (each one should weigh about 100g).


Form it into the traditional bagel shape


  •  by sticking your finger through the middle to form the hole

  •  or by rolling the ball into a cigar shape and joining the ends to make the ring shape.



 Place the bagels on this tray, cover them and let proof at room temperature for 3 hours. Then refrigerate overnight for retarding to allow the flavours to develop.


The next morning, turn on the oven 450F. Remove the bagels from refrigerator.  Brush them with some milk and  top with poppy seeds, white and black sesame seed or any seeds of your choice.


 I didn't boil them.


Then bake  the bagels at 400F for about 20 minutes with steam.


eherman's picture

I'm up for this challenge since I love pumpernickel. Can you tell me what recipe you are using? I have made many bagels but don't think I've run across many recipes for pumpernickel.

HokeyPokey's picture

I've used BBA recipe, but the bagels came out really hard, and tasted trully horrible.

I've googled recipes for a pumpernickel bagels, and there are a few, most of them use coffee and molasses for that dark colour. However, I haven't tried them just yet.



freerk's picture

I'm in as well!


Working on a batch of pumpernickel bagels right  now, based on BBA, but with some buckwheat and  rye flour. If they come out nicely, I'll post the formula!


As a European I'm always confused about the pumpernickel thing. As with so many baking terms :-). The German bread the word "pumpernickel" derives from, is indeed intensely dark brown. The baking (which can take up to 24 hours on various temps) brings out that nice tang. That "tangy-ness", correct me if I'm wrong, is what makes the NYC pumpernickel bagel so famous, right?


I guess over the years the original pumpernickel bagel (thank you for the wonderful recipe Przytulanka!) got a bigger audience by tweaking the formula into something more appealing to the masses (usually meaning less heavy and easier to digest). Could that be the time where molasses or brown sugar or even espresso powder came onto the bagel scene?  In order to sell it as a pumpernickel bagel it had to keep its dark visual characteristics. 


Old and new ways; I'm going to try and go through the middle. I'm using the BBA recipe, tweaked with both rye and buckwheat flour with added molasses, because I just know they'll never be as nice and dark brown otherwise as Przytulanka's beauties higher on in this thread :-)

I used the BBA recipe on normal bagels and they came out wonderful:



happy baking every one!