Wednesday, September 22, 2010


One of my favourite foods when I was in school was bagels -- my mum would grab a dozen or so from the bakery in the supermarkets, all different flavours, and I would eat them for breakfast, sometimes lunch, and afterschool snacks.  Something about the chewy, dense, breadiness is just irrestible to me.

Then I moved to Australia, and didn't see a bagel for months.  One day I spotted some in the bread section of the supermarket and excitedly grabbed a pack, only to be met with a disappointing bread roll with a hole in it.  It was not dense or chewy, it was just kind of ... stale.  I gave up on bagels.

Then I had a lightbulb moment and tried to make them.  The first time was a bit of a fail.  The second time was much better.  They weren't pretty, or perfect, but they were lightyears ahead of the storebought version available in Townsville. 

Then I sort of forgot about making bagels for a while.  It wasn't until I saw Cristy post about making bagels that I thought I should get back into that.  And I realised it's not that hard, and once you get the hang of it, not that time consuming either.  So in the last few weeks, bagels have been a regular staple item in our freezer, ready for breakfasts and snacks.

I've tried a few different flavours, and have a word of advice: dry ingredients work much better than sticky/wet add-ins.

I turned one batch of bagels into four different flavours -- two worked well, two decidedly did not.  Chocolate marzipan - super sweet fail.  Vegemite - salty yummy fail.  Sunflower seeds, poppy seeds & coconut - worked perfectly.  Dukkah - my favourite.  If you want to flavour your bagels with things like vegemite, it is probably worth adding them in at the start, because kneading it through is just messy.  Dried fruit, however, works beautifully.

Here's my recipe...

1 tsp. yeast
1 2/3 c. water
3 T. raw sugar
1 T. treacle
3 c. white flour
1 1/2 c. wholemeal flour
1/4 c. gluten flour

Put all ingredients into the breadmaker and turn on the dough cycle.  90 minutes later it will beep; I let the dough sit in the breadmaker for another 30 minutes, so it has two hours all up.  Then dump the dough out of the pan, cut in half and knead each piece for a minute.  If you are adding flavours, seeds, etc., knead them in now, until fully mixed through.  Let the dough rest for five minutes, then break each half into 6 pieces (so you have a dozen bagels total).  Roll into balls, cover with a damp tea towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.
Kneading dough - one plain, one with ground LSA kneaded through.

Then shape the bagels - take a ball, roll it into a log and then wrap that log around your hand, joining the two ends together very well.  It will look like the hole is too big compared to the bagel, but this is a good thing - the bagels puff up and if your hole isn't big enough, you'll lose it!  Place shaped bagels on a well-oiled baking tray, cover with a damp tea towel, and let rest another 20 minutes (or you can put them into the fridge overnight at this stage).

Boil water with 1 tsp. bicarb soda in a large saucepan or pot.  Add bagels, a few at a time - make sure they aren't crowded.  You can boil the bagels for between 1 and 4 minutes each, depending on how chewy you like them.  I've settled on 2 minutes for a nicely chewy bagel.  Flip them over halfway through, then drain well and return to the baking tray (make sure it's still well oiled).  I find a spatula works better for this than a slotted spoon, because it doesn't leave indents in the bagels.
Boiled bagels.  I tried coating the bottom in polenta, hoping that would make them not 
stick to the pan, but it just made them messy.  A good amount of oil is really all you need.

If you want seeds on the outside of your bagel, put the still-wet bagel into a bowl of your topping of choice, press it down and put it on the tray.  I prefer my seeds kneaded in so I don't do this step.

Once all the bagels are boiled, heat your oven to 240.  Bake bagels for 5 minutes.  Then rotate the trays (so the top one moves to the bottom, and vice versa).  Lower heat to 180 and bake for another 10 minutes.  Flip bagels over to brown the other side, bake another 5 minutes.  Then remove them from the tray immediately and put them on a cooling rack.

We wait until they are fully cooled, then slice them in half and put in the freezer, so they are perfectly fresh whenever we want them.

Excellent with vegemite and avocado.

Or with peanut butter.


Hannah said...

I love love love that you tried to make vegemite bagels. I would absolutely have been happy to help you wat those yummy fails!

There's actually a bagel shop here in Canberra (in fact, at my parents' local shops) that make the proper, chewy, good kind of bagel, and I remember half a toasted bagel with copious amounts of nuttelex was my go-to snack during high school :)

Love the dukkah idea, too. One day I might overcome my fear of yeast...

Millie said...

those bagels look wonderful...also thank you for stoping by my blog, your loving words are deeply appreciated.

Carissa said...

I am totally with you on the love for bagels! My mom used to make boiled egg bagels when I growing up in Guam :) Great job on making your own!

Dee said...

I miss a good bagel too (we had such fantastic bagels in Quebec!) but I haven't tried making them yet. Think I'll have a go, you have inspired me.

Susan said...

Yummy! I have been meaning to make bagels for so long. I love them.

Cindy said...

Nice work! I love a good kitchen experiment and I love a good bagel. I remember those TERRIBLE ones available in many Aussie supermarkets. :-P

K said...

Wow, I'm impressed.

It's too easy to get them in Melbourne though for $1 each. I do wonder though about gluten free bagels.

DJ said...

Two words - marmite glaze. It's the best way i know to get a delicious marmite flavour into scones and other savoury baked goods. Thanks for the tutorial, and I love your Fanny Craddock-style picture there!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Wow, they look great!

Vaala ◪ said...

I really love bagels but the whole process has always seemed a bit scary. I really like the bagels that our local bakery sells round the road from our place and if you go at the end of the day you get lots of bargins (and the guy who owns the place will come out and give you even more bargins and convince you to go home with bags and bags of them...true story of Tuesday night so now I have heaps of cinnamon and raisin bagels and spelt bagels in my freezer!).

aimee said...

Yum! I've never made bagels, Theresa. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Love your kitchen. Light and airy!

dreaminitvegan said...

Your bagels turned out so good! I remember the first time I made bagels was in cooking class in junior high school. This will be something I can make with my son. He loves bagels and he's now taking cooking in school and he's loving it.

Mihl said...

Yum, Vegemite and avocado! You bagels look great and you are right about the texture, I love it too. It's very similar to that of German pretzels.

Kelly said...

Ooh, these look awesome! Much better than my recent awful attempt at making bagels.

x said...

I used to love the blueberry bagels avail. in the supermarket here but home made ones would be 10x better!

Good tips on the mix-ins too. Now you have me craving gluteny bagels, eep!

Claire said...

Oooh they look yum!
I recently starting using vegemite and love it!

Alison said...

I am completely inspired to make these now, thanks for posting! I'm totally with you on the bread with a hole-style bagels you find in Australia, what gives?! I will give these a go this weekend, although definitely not the Vegemite ones as 1) our supplies are slim and Anthony will freak if we run out, and 2) I still heave when I smell it! Might have to go with some seeded and cinnamon ones instead. :) Hope you guys are well.

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