Friday, 26 June 2015

Recipe: Bagels

Anyone who has been following my blog knows that in the last few months I have taken up baking. I have progressed from plain white bread to caramelized onion and cheese swirled loaf, which I have subsequently turned into a tear and share style bread tray as well. Then I used the same basic white bread recipe, flipping the type of flour to a malted flour and adding raisins to make a malted loaf which was great toasted with jam, or just butter if you're my twin sister, who soaked a slice in more butter than I ever thought possible! ;P

I even managed English muffins last week  - no piccies though, I got too excited about the griddling and forgot :(.

Anyway, so today I decided to try something completely new to me (and I remembered to take some pictures). I made bagels!

They may not be the prettiest bagels ever, but they were fun to
make and they taste lovely :)

I started with a couple of different recipes, both from BBC Good Food, and then I tweaked, because I can never leave well enough alone. So I'm telling you what I did and if you want the original recipes, they are here, and here.

I made 12 bagels with this recipe because I upped the amount of ingredients from the original recipe.

500g     Strong White Bread Flour
3 tbsp   Sugar (I used caster)
2 tsp     Salt (note this is teaspoons, NOT tablespoons)
9g         Dried yeast (the original recipe said 7, but I used more flour)
1 tsp     Bicarbonate of Soda (for the water you boil the bagels in)
300ml  Tepid Water (approx - you may need a little more, or a little less)
1 egg for egg washing the bagels.
Sunflower oil for kneading and lining baking trays.

A kneading board, or sideboard
A large mixing bowl
2 baking trays
A large saucepan
A knife
A pastry brush
A vented fish slice or slotted spoon
2 cooling racks


  • I made the dough the same way I make any standard bread dough, I put the flour in a bowl, put the sugar and salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other (the salt will kill the yeast if you put them together when neat) and then mixed the dry ingredients through. Then I began to add the water bit by bit, mixing with my fingers, until all the ingredients came together into a dough that shouldn't be sticky, but should be well combined.
  • Knead the dough on an oiled surface for 10 mins, or until it is smooth and stretchy. Form it into a rough ball.
  • Oil the mixing bowl. Place the dough into it and cover with oiled clingfilm (and a tea towel if you want). Leave to prove for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. I turn on my oven to its lowest temperature, leave the door open and put the bowl in front of the open oven.
  • Once the dough has proved, knock it back (give it a little knead just to remove most of the air, four or five kneads should do it).
  • Divide the dough into 12 bits - for me, each was about 80g. Keep the divided dough covered by the clingfilm as you work on each bit to stop it drying out.
  • Roll each bit into a ball, make a hole through the centre and then, put through it the handle of a wooden spoon (or your finger if you're feeling brave). Swing the dough around your chosen pivot until the hole is about 3cm in size (yes I did lose one when I tried this, luckily it sailed across the table and landed on the oiled clingfilm, so I could rescue it). Then place the shaped bagel onto it's greased baking tray (I had six bagels per tray). Remember to leave enough room around each bagel for it to grow in size.
  • Cover the bagels with oiled clingfilm again and leave them to prove for a second time for 30-40 minutes.
  • While the bagels are proving, fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil.
  • Add the bicarbonate of soda - this apparently 'alkalises' the water *shrug*
  • Once the dough has proved for a second time, comes the part that made me blink when I read it in the recipe - boiling the bagels! This is what gives a bagel its unique texture.
  • If your pan is big enough, you can boil 2, or even 3 bagels at a time, I had to do one at a time, because my saucepan circumference to bagel ratio was not big enough and also, I had enough trouble keeping track of one boiling piece of dough ;P.
Yes, you really boil the dough!
  • Place the bagel into the water and boil for a minute, turning halfway through - you can boil for longer if you want a chewier bagel, but 1 minute was just dandy for my bagels. The bagel will swell a little bit and get a skin. Lift the bagel our with a slotted spoon, or a vented fish slice works too.
  • Drain on a rack and then place back onto the baking trays.
  • Brush with the beaten egg.
  • Place the bagels into an oven at 220C conventional oven, 200C fan oven for 20 to 25 minutes (until they are golden brown and give a hollow sound when you knock on the bottom).
  • Leave to cool on a rack (or if you're impatient like me, they taste really nice warm as well).
And that was it - pretty easy once I got over the whole dunking bread dough in water idea :)


  1. I've made bagels on occasion and they've turned out pretty tasty. Definitely a lot better then the bagels you can buy here in Sweden, which are pretty much just regular bread formed into rings. Your bagels look a lot like how mine have turned out. They say there's a trick to rolling out bagels so they become all smooth, but I certainly haven't figured it out. Curious about the bicarb in the water. I've always used sugar, I wonder if there's a difference.

    Anyway, well done! Freshly baked bread is a beautiful thing. :)

    1. I have no idea how people manage to get their bagels smooth! ;P You use sugar in the water - interesting - I'd only seen recipes with nothing or bicarb.

      Yes, fresh bread is wonderful :D


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