Sunday, 8 March 2009


Right now I can't think of a better way to have spent this Sunday morning than baking bagels - the house smells good enough to eat and I had a still warm deliciously chewy bagel for lunch.

I had my first bagel from a bagel van/stall on London bridge whilst visiting friends there during the long university summer holidays. It was filled with cream cheese, pesto and sun dried tomatoes and tasted great. I have had bagels a few time since that summer but none have compared to the first (I have never seen a bagel stall outside of London and have bought some from the supermarket occasionally but they never impressed me much) but all that changed today!

I chose a bagel recipe from Rachel Allen's Bake! (a much loved Christmas gift). I made the dough in my bread maker (which allowed me to start some of the domestic chores while the machine did the kneading!) but Rachel uses an electric mixer with a dough hook or suggests you can knead by hand too.

Bagels - Makes 7 good size bagels

450g strong white flour
1 x 7g sachet fast acting yeast
2 tsp salt
250ml warm water
2tbsp runny honey
1tbsp vegetable oil
3tbsp treacle or molasses (I didn't bother measuring I just poured a good glug of treacle from the tin)
maize or cornmeal for sprinkling (I had neither so had to use flour!)
1 egg, beaten
sesame seeds, sea salt and poppy seeds

1. I filled my bread maker following the manufacturers advice. In my case this is water, honey and oil first followed by the flour with salt in one corner and yeast in a well in the centre. Set the machine to dough cycle and allow to knead for 10mins. Rachel suggests checking to see if extra flour or water is needed to achieve a stiffer than normal bread dough with elasticity.

2. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel or cling film.

3. Leave in a warm room for 1-3 hours until the dough has doubled in size.

4. When the dough is ready boil enough water in a kettle to fill a large sauce pan. Pour the water in to the pan and add the treacle or molasses. Cover and turn off the heat. Lightly oil two baking trays and sprinkle with maize or cornmeal (or if like me you have neither -flour!).

5. Knock the air out of the dough and knead briefly. Roll into a sausage shape and cut into 7 equal pieces. Cover the pieces you are not working with with a clean tea towel.

6.There are a couple of ways of forming bagels but I find the best way is to take each piece of dough, roll it into a ball.

7. Flatten it slightly.8. Make a hole in the centre.9. Use your two index fingers to expand the hole. (ensure the hole is considerably wider than you want it to finish up as the holes will shrink during cooking).10. Place each formed bagel on the baking trays and leave for 10-20 minutes. In the mean time pre-heat the oven to 220C (425F) Gas 7 and heat the sauce pan to a gently simmer.

11. Place 2-3 bagels in to the pan and poach for about 90 seconds on each side (turning carefully with a slotted spoon).12. Remove from pan and allow to drain briefly then return to the baking trays. Repeat with all bagels.

13. Brush with the egg was and the sprinkle with your chosen topping.Poppy seedsSesame seeds14 . Bake for 15 minutes then turn over to cook the base for a further 10 minutes.
15. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Rachel's tip - cut in half before freezing so they can be put in toaster straight from the freezer!

I have also submitted this to YeastSpotting (possibly the first of many as I make my own bread most of the time).


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Donna-FFW said...

these sound delicious. I really have to try and make them on my own.. awesome job.

Claire said...

Give them a go sometime - you won't be dissapointed. The only down side is 7 just isn't enough - we only have 3 left already!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Noting beats fresh bagels on Sunday morning, and yours are wonderful. Thanks for joining YeastSpotting!

Foodie said...

I'm giving these a go next - think the recipe is better than the one I used. Thanks!

Siri said...

These look really perfectly shaped- way nicer than the one batch of bagels I've ever made. Maybe it's time to give it another go???


Mary said...

You've inspired me! I've never made bagels but I think the time has come. Your photos made the process very clear. Thank you.

marjoke said...

Years ago, I baked bagels and seeing your beautiful bagels, I've planned baking them again.

tangled said...

I posted my blogged bagels to wildyeast the week before, too. I can't believe how easy they are to make, though mine were a different recipe to yours (and I preferred the sausage rolling method!). They sure beat the prepacked variants I was used to!

Claire said...

Thanks for all the feedback! I can't believe I have inspired so many of you.

I have been baking bread for about 12 months now but mainly basic loaves using a bread machine. The bagels were so easy and realy taste I've inspired myself to try more types of breads. I did try making sour dough before christmas which was a disaster! I have some english muffins proving as we speak and I'm making some flat breads for tea - no bread machine involved in either!

I love all your blogs as well. Will be adding more to my every growing bloglines subscription!

boulderhomecook said...

Hi Claire,
I just found your blog through yeastspotting as I'm looking to try making bagels myself. I'm also looking forward to giving your leek pasta a try as I have some leeks needing a cause. By the way, I like your blog - looks like you started yours around the same time I started mine! A friend gave me a tip of putting those little sticky colored bookmarks in cookbooks on recipes I want to try someday... it did work well, for about a week!

tangled said...

The bagel recipe I use (linked in name)is all sourdough, and is, honestly, very easy, as long as you have the starter ready, of course! You should try it and we may yet convert you to sourdough one day :-)

Claire said...

Boulderhomecook - Thanks for the compliments - your blog looks good too - I especially like the look of your butternut squash ravioli. I bought a pasta machine last october and have been meaning to try ravioli ever since!

Tangled - Don't let my boyfriend hear you say that! - he's pretty muched banned sour dough in this house! he didn't like the mess from all the failed loaves & I don't think he like the starter sitting in the corner either!

I love the look of your breads! You have a good blog going. I like the picture of your book shelf too - I have quiet a few of the same books, I am going to the library this afternoon to collect the copy of Bread matters by Andrew Whitley I reserved which I see you own.

tangled said...

Thanks for your coents. I love looking at other people's blogs. It's interesting to read different people's experiences and views.
The Bread Matters book has some very good recipes in the second half of the book. Quite a lot about sourdough (it got me hooked, I'm afraid!), and lots of recipes with slower dough, e.g. overnight sponges with less yeast. I'd recommend the baps if you like soft baps, and the scottish morning rolls are excellent too.

My husband is resigned to the various tupperwares hidden around the kitchen with different starters and ferments in :-) He likes the bread anyway!