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Homemade bagels

basket of bagels

Bagels - homemade bagels

A freshly made bagel is a very good thing – but if you don’t have an authentic Montreal-style bagel shop nearby, they can be tough to find. A real bagel is more than just a bun with a hole – their dense, chewy texture comes from boiling the shaped dough before baking it. Another problem with store-bought bagels is their size – the ones that are close to the size of your head can weigh in at 500 calories apiece, even though they are low in fat. Flavour these any way you like by stirring in some grated cheese, caramelized onions, fresh garlic or cinnamon and raisins.

Boiledbagel - homemade bagels

Even if you don’t have a wood-fired oven to bake them in, the dough is surprisingly simple to make, and fun to shape into rounds (or letters! pretzels!) and boil, then scatter with sesame seeds and bake. It’s a fun way to spend some technology-free time with your kids, too.


1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
4-5 cups all-purpose flour, or half all-purpose and half whole wheat
2 tsp. salt
Sesame, poppy or caraway seed to sprinkle on top (optional)

In a large bowl, stir yeast and brown sugar into 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water until it dissolves; let it stand for 5 minutes until it gets foamy. If it doesn’t, the yeast is probably expired – toss it and get some fresh yeast!

Stir the oil and a cup of flour into the yeast mixture, then add the salt and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough – I usually use about 2 1/2 cups. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, gently incorporating more flour, until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should take about 10 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and then shape it into a circle, pinching the ends together to form bagels. Let them rise for about 20 minutes while you boil a big pot (about 6L) of salted water and preheat the oven to 425 F.

When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and gently place a few bagels at a time into the water. Simmer for 1 minute, then flip them over and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack to drain. Once they have all been boiled, place them on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray, and sprinkle with sesame seeds or whatever toppings you like.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden.

Makes 10 bagels.

Per bagel: 222 calories, 1.9 g total fat (0.2 g saturated fat, 0.9 g monounsaturated fat, 0.6 g polyunsaturated fat), 5.8 g protein, 44.3 g carbohydrate, 0 mg cholesterol, 1.7 g fiber. 8% calories from fat.

Cinnamon Raisin Bagels: add 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2-1 cup raisins along with the second batch of flour. Mix and bake as directed.

Onion & Garlic Bagels: sauté 1 minced onion and a few cloves of crushed garlic in 1 tsp. oil until tender and golden. Cool and stir into the dough along with the second batch of flour. Mix and bake as directed.

Cheese Bagels: add 1 tsp. garlic powder and 1 cup grated old cheddar or 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese along with the second batch of flour. Sprinkle the tops with a little extra grated cheese if you like.

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