The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Go at Obwarzanek Krakowski (Krakow bagels)

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

First Go at Obwarzanek Krakowski (Krakow bagels)


This is my first attempt at bagel-style bread - Obwarzanek Krakowski :-)

I used the bulk formula given in the wall street article. Thank you, GSnyde for the inspiration.

My version of thar formula reads:

Wheat flour (T55) 90%

Light Rye 10%

Water 48%

Sugar 3%

Salt 1.5%

Instant Yeast 0.5%

Butter 2.5%

Scaled at 100g per obwarzanek.

Bulk rise 45min at 26C, saped, rested for 10 minutes

boiled with 1 tsp honey in 4 l water

baked at maximum heat without steam fot 14 minutes

I am very pleased with the looks. They taste deliciuous, very slightly sweet. Quite authentic, as far as I can remember from my two visits to Krakow. They could be a bit chewier.

Have to work on joining the ends.




GSnyde's picture

Nice looking bagels, Juergen.

Isn't T55 a pretty low gluten flour for bagels?  Especially with the addition of rye flour, I would guess that the texture was pretty tender, as opposed to the chewiness one gets from high gluten flour.  How was the "chew"?


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Hi Glenn,

Thank you.

 Your post was the inspiration. I ended up reading the Wall Street Journal article and found they also gave the bulk formula which the Krakow bakers submitted to the European Parlament. There it says that you can use up to 30% rye.

I googled for flours available in Poland, and they seem to be of the standard European types (T550 etc).

There is some Shipton Mill T55 in my cupboard, and I thought if they allow for up to 30% rye the chewiness might come from something else.

At 48% hydration I used the upper limit given in the formula - the dough felt almost like pasta dough.

Right after the bake the bagels were crisp, not chewy, more like a good pretzel. After about 4 hours they became chewy. Pretty much as I remember from my Krakow visits. But my memory might be wrong.

I'll make another batch on Monday and take some to my Polish colleague at work. She had lived in Krakow for a while and might be a good judge.

Thanks again,



GSnyde's picture


I don't know much about European flours.  The only kind I've used is Tipo 00 Pizza flour.  If the bagels are as good as they look, you should be pretty happy.


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you, Glenn.

Another batch on Monday will show if I can do it consistently ...


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Juergen.

Your bagels look just like the photos I've seen of Krakow bagels - much more so than my two attempts at shaping them twisted.

I haven't had the benefit of tasting the real thing, so I don't know how chewy they are, and I certainly don't know what flours are used in Krakow. If you can find out, I would love to know.


chefscook's picture

They look really good the rustic look

Syd's picture

Very pretty looking bagels, indeed. 


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you, Syd, David, Chefscook for your kind comments.

I am searching the internet for an emaol address of a Krakow bagel manufacture, my colleague will then get in touch to get their flour spec.


Elagins's picture

I agree with David, they're much more like the genuine article than others I've seen.  Also in agreement, you should probably use a bread flour with around 12.5% - 13% protein, a Type 85 in European terms.  The addition of butter and sugar both soften the crumb, so you'd want to offset that softening effect with more gluten, while respecting the fact that, at least in the old days, most Polish wheat breads were baked with flours made from Sandomierz wheat, a soft spring wheat.

I think the biggest difference between yours and others I've seen is the thinness of the dough strands before you twisted them.  I've made obwarzanki that look like yours - about 5"/13cm in diameter - by stretching and rolling the dough into a strand the diameter of a pencil, then doubling (or sometimes tripling) and twisting.  Because of the thinness of the dough strands, the obwarzanki are much more pretzel-like than bagel-like and much more a snack food that stands alone than with cream cheese and all the other fixings.

Also, as an interesting footnote, I've seen early photos of Jewish bagel peddlers in New York who were selling clearly twisted bagels, so the argument can be made that even New York bagels began their lives as obwarzanki.

Keep up the good work!

Stan Ginsberg

Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you, Stan,

Your thoughts are highly appreciated.

I agree that obwarzanki are more like fingerfood, eaten standalone while walking down the Pietrowska street, or as a supplement to Borscht.

It is interesting what you say about the flours, I have to do more research to find a T85 equivalent in the UK.

The thin strands are really a bit like a German Brezel, with the characteristic flakiness inside, Another thing I need to get now is food-grade lye (There's an original German Brezel stall outside London Victoria station, by Ditsch, who have a lot of stalls in Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Frankfurt etc.. I find the price a bit prohibitive...)

Anyway, I looked at the EU spec (google EU Regulation obwarzanek), and surprisingly the baking process far less clear than e.g. in the Altamura spec.

There is a long section of what the obwarzanki should feel and taste like, and I think I can tick a few boxes.

- The general shape and the thickness of the strands

- Topping with sesame or poppy seeds etc

- When fresh crisp on the outside and soft inside (They are baked very hot, I feared to torch the seeds)

- Get stale quickly (in a matter of hours. Yes, that's a defining property as per the document),and then they become chewy. They share this property with German lye pretzels as well.

Of course, I live in south-east England ...

Thanks again,


EvaB's picture

I rarely eat bagels because they are too high in carbs for my strange body (diabetic and anything can and will raise my sugar levels beyond belief) besides I am not too fond of the taste of any bagel I can get here (way up in northern BC Canada) so am tempted to try some when I get the chance. These at least look tasty and not too heavy and thick.


Juergen Krauss's picture
Juergen Krauss

Thank you, EvaB.

Apparently these "bagels" are to be eaten fresh, they are  crisp and quite light. Nothing chewy. They get chewy after some hours, but as mentioned above, one of the defining features of these is the short shelf live.

I can't give you any information with regards to diabetes, and if these might be better for you, I'm afraid.

On the other hand I can imagine that these also work with spelt flour.

Best Wishes,