The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do you make onion bagels onion-y?

noelvn's picture

How do you make onion bagels onion-y?

I've only ever learned to make plain bagels, and I want to branch out into onion (& maybe garlic) ones. I'm wondering a few things:

a) Do you make the bagel dough onion-y or garlic-y, and if so, how? Somehow, I feel like fresh onion or garlic would be hostile to yeast... garlic, I'm pretty sure, is antiseptic... Could one use fried onions or garlic? But then one is adding oil to the mix... Dehydrated onions or garlic? I've heard that they're making better dehydrated versions of these -- but I find traditional garlic powder to be gag-inducingly nasty. But I'm leaning toward the dehydrated onions...

b) And how do you make the onion or garlic stick to the outside of the bagel? Does it just naturally stick to the boiled surface, or do you use something like an egg-white wash? It also seems to me that on the outside you'd want fresh onion or garlic, so it would dry out and brown in a good-tasting way.

So does anyone have experience making garlic or onion bagels, or somehow know how bagel bakeries do it? Or what does your baker's intuition suggest?


ehanner's picture

If you haven't checked out Floyd's Bagel recipe yet I would start with that. He has a good step by step that talks about adding seeds and such. I use Penzies dry onions and Shallots on the outside and they are great. I have tried adding some crushed up into the dough but go easy on that as a little goes a long way.

Hope that helps a little.


noelvn's picture

Floyd's page is awesome, but it unfortunately doesn't cover my issue. I've got the basic bagel concept down, used to have to make a bunch of plain ones every night for work. I've just never done onion or garlic ones, and I particularly want the dough to be flavored, not just the outsides.

Since posting the above, I've done one batch with reconstituted dried minced onions worked into the dough (1 1/2 Tbs. dry onions + 3 Tbs. water for a mini-batch of 6 bagels)... the water of course threw off the moisture content and so I had to add flour to get the dough to appropriate bagel consistency. Used "real" onions on the outside, held on with an egg-white wash; they carmelized nicely in the oven. But I could kind of taste that weird dried onion taste in the dough -- nowhere near the rancid foulness of garlic powder, but definitely a ghost of something along those lines.

And then tonight I just mixed a batch with "real" onions on the inside, about 1/2 cup chopped (again for 6 bagels, which in retrospect seems like a lotta onion, but it looked right at the time...). Again, the liquid in the onions threw off the moisture (keep forgetting to compensate for that when setting up the sponge). This dough gets to retard overnight, and then I'll see if "real" onions are as yeast-hostile as they somehow seemed to me to be (logic being something along the lines of "they makes my eyes cry, so they'll prob'ly make the poor nekkid little yeasties shrivel up and die...")

BTW, I'm using Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe, which calls for retarding the sponge overnight, mixing the dough, retarding the dough overnight, and then shaping, boiling and baking on the third day. Great flavor, nice chewiness, but alas, I can't compare them to genuine NY bagels since I'm just another midwestern transplant on the west coast.


Paddyscake's picture

I have made garlic bagels modeled after the way they are made back home in New England. I mince fresh garlic, mix in a bit of olive oil and then sprinkle it on the bagel lightly. You probably lose 1/3 of the garlic when you go to eat it, but a little goes a long way.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Have you tried taking your minced fresh onions and nuking (microwave) them?  Or fry them a little and turn them just glassy or for more flavor, browning them before adding to the dough?   Then they might not be so aggressive to the beasties.  Pour off any water.  

Mini O

noelvn's picture

So I've now made a couple of batches with real live raw onions in them, and the dough seems to rise just fine with the onions in it.... though there's a slight weirdness of texture -- its stickier and and... just a bit weird, doesn't behave quite like normal bagel dough. It's stretchier,...

1/2 cup of onions actually does seem like the right amount to put into a mini-batch of 6 bagels. I use probably another 2/3 - 3/4 cup or more to sprinkle on the outsides of the bagels -- it takes lots because the onions do want to fall off (or down the hole) in spite of the egg-white wash I'm using to hold them on (and what should I do with the egg yolks?)

I'm still working on how much water to leave out of the recipe to compensate for the moisture in the onions. Also still fiddling with oven temp and timing to get them to brown nicely but not get overly crusty. I'll post a photo when I get a photogenic batch...

I must say, the bagels are going over quite well in our household. This last batch is the first that's lasted over 24 hours, and that's because I made a loaf of rye the same evening. The onions give them a very nice combination of savory and a subtle sweetness.

Aelric's picture

Not certain how well this would relate, but I regularly bake onion/garlic bread.  I use a packet of onion soup mix and roast fresh garlic before adding it to the dry ingredients.  So far I've not had a problem with the dough rising and it goes great with spaghetti and lasagna. :)