Bagels recipe

Fresh from the oven


A companion recipe for today’s Guardian piece. The method is from Daniel Stevens’s River Cottage Bread Handbook – a volume I can’t recommend highly enough for anyone looking to improve their breadmaking. It’s a thorough, unpatronising work that assumes its readers want to cook rather than look at food porn.

I’ve copied Stevens’s recipe wholesale below – my only change when cooking the ones above was to use sunflower instead of vegetable oil.


Makes 12

500g strong white bread flour
5g powdered dried yeast
10g fine salt
250ml warm water
20g caster sugar
50ml vegetable oil, plus extra for coating
1 medium free-range egg, beaten
Poppy or sesame seeds (optional)

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients to make a dough. Knead on a clean surface until smooth and elastic. Shape into a round, coat with a little extra oil and place in a clean bowl. Leave to rise, covered with a plastic bag.

When the dough has doubled in size, deflate it and divide it into 12 pieces. One at a time, roll into a sausage shape, about 15cm long. Wet the ends and press them together to make a ring. Leave to prove, covered, on a lightly oiled plastic board or metal baking sheet (not floured cloths or boards).

Preheat the oven to 200C. Lightly oil a couple of baking sheets and in a wide pan bring around a 10cm depth of water to the boil.

When the bagels have roughly doubled in size, they are ready for poaching. You will need to do this in batches. Turn the pan of water down to a simmer, then slip as many bagels as will fit comfortably into the water (allow room for them to puff up). Cook for a minute on each side, then remove and drain on a clean tea towel (not kitchen paper as it will stick).

When they are all poached, lay the bagels on the baking sheets, gently sticking any that uncurled in the water back together again. Brush all over with beaten egg, then sprinkle with seeds if you like. Bake for 15 minutes, until the bagels are a uniform, glossy golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

11 thoughts on “Bagels recipe

  1. Pingback: Lord of the rings | Lifestyle News

  2. I know it’s traditional to make the bagel shape by rolling and pinching, but there’s an easier, faster way: make a ball of dough, punch a hole in its middle with a finger, then roll it delicately from the inside. No uncurling and no mess :)

  3. Can’t agree with you enough about the River Cottage Bread Handbook – I’m always pimping it on my blog because it’s so unthreatening yet thorough. I also have the habit of shoving a copy into the hands of anyone who betrays the slightest interest in homemade bread, and it’s made at least a few converts so far.

    Oh and I’ve made the bagels several times – topnotch and they freeze really well too, for Saturday lunch emergencies.

  4. “In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients to make a dough”
    Apart from the egg and poppy seeds I gather?

  5. hey,

    i liked your article on bagels. i wish there was a good bagel shop in glasgow but alas there isn’t, or i just haven’t found it yet. i will try this recipe asap and see how it goes, im starting to get a bit tired of the new york bakery co. bagels.


  6. The ingredients state “50ml vegetable oil, plus extra for coating” The last bit ‘for coating’. Is this referring to the board or for the bagel top itself? It is not clear as you do not refer to this in the instructions… other than to ‘lightly oil a couple of baking sheets’.

  7. I make bagels regularly – plain and granary style – gluten-free.
    These chewy breads mean my husband is happy for us to be gluten-free – I used to make sourdough bread and had three different starters, so finding something he is happy with was important.
    And yes, boiling is what makes a bagel – saw a bread competition on TV where the Baker accepted a ring shaped roll as a bagel!

  8. Pingback: Lord of the rings

  9. Just a question; when you say ‘mix all the ingredients together’, i’m assuming you don’t mean the poppy seeds, but do you mean the oiland the egg?

  10. @Davide Thanks – good to know a shortcut.

    @Zoe Yup, it’s a brilliant book.

    @Jim Exactly.

    @Peter Best of luck! Let me know how you get on.

    @HotPepperman For (lightly) coating the dough when you leave it to rise.

    @Lois I’m glad the no-gluteners can still enjoy a bagel.

    @Soren Everything but the egg and the seeds.

  11. Pingback: Biscuits, bagels and snow | UC Food? I See.

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