Friday, November 7, 2008


Having moved to Chennai, one of the foods I miss the most are bagels. Indians seem to be able to make many many kinds of different breads, but have yet to try their hands at bagels. The few I have been able to get my hands on have tasted more like bread and less like bagels.

I found this recipe on Cafe Fernando, who in turn had tried it from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. That book is definitely on my must-buy list after trying this recipe. The bagels turned out chewy on the inside and exactly how I remembered a bagel!

(recipe originally from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart)

Makes 12 large bagels


  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour (I used all purpose)
  • 2 1/2 cups water at room temperature


  • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour (I used all purpose)
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon malt syrup OR honey OR brown sugar (I used brown sugar)

To Finish:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting the pan
  • Toppings for the bagels such as sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, dried minced garlic or onions
Day 1

Combine all the ingredients for the sponge. Cover and let it rise for 2 hours. It will become frothy and light. When you shake it, it should collapse.

Add the ingredients for the dough to the sponge and stir to combine. The dough will be drier than bread dough but should not have any dry flour. Empty the dough onto a kneading surface and knead for about 10 minutes. The dough should pass the window pane test.

The window pane test can be done by cutting off a small portion of the dough. Keep stretching and pulling the dough so that just a small membrane is left in the center - and basically when held up to the light, the dough should be able to be thin enough that the light shows through. The dough should not tear - if it does, continue kneading for a few more minutes and perform the test again.

Divide the kneaded dough into 12 equal sized balls and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rest for 20 minutes. They would've risen slightly by then.

To shape the bagels, there are two methods. I followed the second. Make a hole in the center by poking your thumb through and then spin the dough around your thumb until you get a pretty uniform size.

Place the shaped dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for 20 minutes. Next the dough will "retard" in the refrigerator overnight. To know when the dough is ready to retard, drop one of them into a bowl of cool water - if it floats or swims up to the surface in 2 seconds, then it's ready. If it doesn't, allow it to rest for a further 10 minutes. Store them in the refrigerator for the night, covered in plastic wrap.

Day 2

This is an easier day! And you get to eat those bagels!

Take the bagels out and let them rest on the counter. Preheat the oven to 250 deg C. Put a large stock pot of water to boil. Add the baking soda to the water. I'm not really sure how the baking soda helps and I felt a tiny aftertaste which I think is the baking soda, so maybe I'll reduce the amount next time.

When the water is boiling, drop in 3-4 bagels at a time. Allow it to cook for 3 minutes (flipping them after 2 minutes). If you like them less chewy, boil for only 1-2 minutes.

Take them out in a slotted spoon and place on a baking tray dusted with semolina flour. Sprinkle the bagels with the toppings as soon as they come out of the water. Repeat for all the bagels. I used white poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic and herb mix and some were plain.

Put the trays into the oven and reduce the temperature to 230 deg C. Bake for 5 minutes. Rotate the pans in the oven and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes (mine took another 20 minutes) to get it to the desired color. Remove and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

The bagels were chewy and delicious. And tasted great the next day, toasted with cream cheese. They also freeze very well. Just store them in ziploc bags and when you need them, put them directly into a preheated toaster oven.

This is for Susan @ Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.

To know what my marathoners are doing, check out their lovely blogs:
DK, Siri, Srivalli, Ranji, PJ, Curry Leaf, Medha, Priya, Bhawna, Raaji, Ruchii, Kamala, Roopa, Divya Kudua, Rekha, Divya, Lakshmi, Raaga, Lakshmi, Sripriya, Viji, Kamalika and Pavani.


Bhawana said...

wow you made it. Bagels at home, amazing :). My hubby just looked at it and said wow kisne banaya :). delicious :).

Divya Vikram said...

I have never thought of making bagels at home. Thay look perfect..Didn t know they were made by dropping in boiling water..Love it with cream cheese.

Vij said...

Hi ya this is my first time here. U have a lovely space!

Bagels looks so good!!! nice step by step pics!! gr8 job

Curry Leaf said...

I know they are lovely.I too had made whole wheat ones.

Lakshmi Venkatesh said...

Bagels are looking gr8. My hubby luvs them.

Jayashree said...

This is one of the things I miss too. Bagels and cream cheese was almost a standard weekend breakfast for me. These look so good. Can I come over for some, please???

rekhas kitchen said...

wow what a recipe yaar super they looks perfect thanks for the recipe

viji said...

anu tedious work..... looking great

Priya said...

These have been on my must try list for quite sometime now. You are doing a awesome job at baking bread, kudos to you :)

Divya Kudua said...

I am becoming your fan Anu...first you made pasta on your own and now you wanted to have bagels and you made them too..!!Kudos to you!!

lakshmi said...

you know what this reminds me of - la boulangere - ROFL - apparently they have a new chef from france and the breads have gotten much better

bagels look superb

Sunshinemom said...

Authentic looking bagels! Good work as always:)

DEESHA said...

wow .. you made bagels at home .. thatz really cool

sowmya said...

awesome..they look great..

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Terrific bagels! One of my favorite things to make. I haven't seen white poppy seeds, I like the idea of that.

PJ said...

Wow!!!You are such a pro!!!!

ICook4Fun said...

Thanks for stopping by at my blog. I never try making bagel as I find its too much work. It's easier just to buy one :) :)

Priya said...

I love bagels...awesome work Anu as always...would try them soon..thanks for sharing..keep on rocking Anu..

Madhu said...

You made tham at home, looks so delicious.

Kalai said...

Wow! These bagels look delicious! :)

DK said...

When I made Bagels for the first time, I cudnt believe that I made them. I thought they were so complicated ..but when we start making them it plays along so well dont they?

Love the pics anu! :)

Raaga said...

I'm speechless... I can't believe that a few months ago, you were experimenting with yeast!

Aparna said...

These bagels look perfect.
Its a bit time consuming but worth making them at home.
My daughter used to call them vada bread! :)

Bharti said...

I'm just gonna say "wow".

Arundathi said...

Bhawana - :-) thank you

Divya Vikram - The boiling gives it the chewiness. Yup - cream cheese and bagels are perfect.

Vij - THanks for stopping by. Welcome.

Curry Leaf - Oh thats cool - will have to check it out.

Lakshmi Venkatesh - Thanks.

Jayashree - Anytime!

Rekhas Kitchen - Sure, you're welcome.

Viji - Its not so tedious when you get into it.

Priya - Thanks so much. Try it soon - its so wonderful.

Divya Kudua - Thanks! Thats a cool compliment!

Lakshmi - Arrgghh!! Still very bad.

Sunshinemom - Thanks always!

Deesha - thanks

Sowmya - thanks

Susan - We actually don't get black poppy seeds in India! thanks

PJ - Thanks

iCook4Fun - Well, when you can't find them in the city, I guess you're forced to make them.

Priya - Thank you so much

Madhu - Thank you

Kalai - Thank you

DK - Yes they really do - I enjoyed it!

Raaga - I can't believe it either. Wasted so much time not making bread! :-) LOL!

Aparna - Vada Bread is a great name. my daughter loves them too.

Bharti - :-)

Divya said...

The bagels look extremely appetizing. One of the simple joys I used to take for granted while living in the US. Well, I currently live in Bangalore. I have not been able to find cream cheese (I may not be looking in the right places). What is a good substitute for cream cheese - to make cheese cake etc? Or do you get the real one? - Divya

Arundathi said...

Divya - Hmm. I've been able to find cream cheese in Amma Naana and Maison. I think you have a Maison in Bangalore too. I don't use cream cheese much, so haven't looked. But sometimes Nilgiris and Nuts and Spices carry it too. Good Luck!

susies1955 said...

Your bagels look great.
I'm going to have to try them again sometime. Half of mine turned out flat.
Great job,