Sunday, 20 June 2010

Making Bagels - My First Attempt

I fist fell in love with bagels some 10 years ago, during a stay at Kentucky Horse Shoeing School when I took some time out to learn how to shoe horses. At that point, I was seriously considering a change of career to farriery - but decided moving away for 4 years really wasn't for me.

Whilst living in the dorms and very limited cooking facilities, I fell in love with local bagels. I'm sure I remember eating a bagel for at least twice a day for four weeks..... and pining for them when I got home.

Bagels back home were a sheer disappointment. Really tough and tasteless... and likely several days after baking before available in the stores.

A recent post on Pam's Mid West Kitchen Korner rekindled my desire for bagels - and finally I got round to havin a go at making them.

I found a fantastic web page here - John Lee's Bagel Recipe . Do read all the comments - it really is worth it... and it's even easier than it sounds. I followed the recipe and method as listed, but added some poppy seeds and onions into the dough.

My first attempt came out really well ! I had a couple that almost looked spot on.... a few that were passable and a couple that would eaily break windows if thrown.

My tips would be :

Watch the little video of John joining them. It's a big help.

When boiling them - check you are boiling long enough before turning over. My initial guess was way out - and that's why the first two I made were as dense as concrete (ok - not quite - they were edible but gave you sore jaws.)

They do want to really puff up in the water.

Dry them for a minute on some grease proof paper before putting on a tray.

Lower the temperature to about 200deg for a fan assisted oven - and reduce cooking time from 20 mins to about 15.

I put 4 bagels on each baking tray - one just non stick and oiled as per intructions, one with a oiled silicone baking sheet. The ones directly on the tray got hot spot marks on the flat spots as you can see in the second picture - one back from the front on the right. The ones on the silicone baking sheets remained uniform in colour like the bagel in the foreground of picture 2.

They really are yummy if you follow John's instructions. I'll definately make these again and am looking forward to it already.


  1. I love bagels too! But I think you love them just a bit more than me, (2 a day?) heheee

    Being from NY I grew up on bagels, but I don't think I could ever make them. Well done for giving it a go. Yours look great!

  2. well - I was practically living on bagels at that point ! Kitchen facilities were some what limited to say the least. I think there was one pot between 7 or 8 people. haha.

    Almost everyone had driven there, whereas I'd flown. It's back end of beyond - so I had to rely on an occasional lift for supplies. Then there is fridge sharing - and not much space their either. So bagels were easy !

  3. oh - you should give bagels a go - it's surprisingly easy !! ;-)


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