Alison’s Bagels

Alison's Bagels


Makes 8 large plump bagels:

3 tsp Surebake yeast
1¼ cups warm water
2 Tbsp honey
1½ tsp salt
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 Tbsp gluten flour
2 cups high grade (bread) flour

Let the plane to New York leave without you! Make your own wonderfully chewy bagels for about an eighth of the price of bought ones, and in a surprisingly short time!

If you have tried only nondescript supermarket bagels, your own bagels should be a revelation!


Carefully measure all the ingredients into a 750g capacity bread machine, in the order specified by the manufacturer. Set to the DOUGH cycle and START. Stop the machine and remove the dough 40 minutes after mixing starts, even though the cycle is not complete. Shape and bake by hand, following the instructions below.


Measure the first five ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave for 15 minutes or longer in a warm place.

Using the quantities given, stir in the gluten and high grade flour, then add extra flour or water if necessary, until you have dough just firm enough to knead.

Knead the dough thoroughly, using the dough hook of an electric mixer or kneading by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, until you have a soft dough which is smooth and satiny, and which springs back when pressed gently. Turn the dough in 2-3 teaspoons of oil in the cleaned dry bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm draught-free place for 30 minutes.


On a lightly floured board, knead dough lightly for a minute, then cut into 8 equal pieces. Roll each into a “snake” 26cm-28cm long, then dampen the ends with water and press together firmly, forming rings. Place the rings on individual squares of baking paper and leave in a warm place for 10-15 minutes.

During this time bring a large pan containing water 5-8cm deep to the boil. Carefully lower 2 or 3 bagels at a time into the boiling water, then lift away the paper, and cook for 30-45 seconds per side, turning carefully once. Drain on paper towels, then put on a large baking tray lined with baking paper or a Teflon liner, leaving space for rising.

Brush as far down the sides as you can with egg glaze (mix 1 egg, 1Tbsp water and ½ tsp sugar) and sprinkle with poppy or toasted sesame seeds.

Bake at 220 degrees Celcius for 10 -12 minutes until browned top and bottom. Cool on a rack and serve warm or toasted, within 24 hours of making, or freeze in an airtight container when cold.

Variation: Add an extra tablespoon of gluten flour and 2 extra tablespoons of water to the original recipe for chewier bagels.


Before you start on the bagel dough, put 1 cup of dried fruit (sultanas, currants, raisins etc.,) in a heavy plastic bag with 2 Tbsp of orange juice or sherry. Microwave the bag for 1 minute, then put aside until the fruit cools completely.

Measure the bagel ingredients (from the plain bagel recipe) into a bread machine or mixing bowl. To this mixture, add ½ cup packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon each of cinnamon and mixed spice, and 1 teaspoon each of ground cloves and vanilla.

Mix as for plain bagels. When the machine ‘beeps’ or when the hand-mixed dough has formed a ball, add the drained, cooled, dried fruit, and knead until fruit is incorporated. Stop the machine 40 minutes after mixing starts (as above), or knead by hand until smooth and satiny (as above). Proceed as for plain bagels. Do not sprinkle tops of sweet bagels with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.


Eat bagels straight away, refrigerate in sealed plastic bags for several days, or freeze for up to a month. Split bagels crosswise and either warm in the microwave or toast them. Spread the cut surface of plain bagels with butter or cream cheese, topping with cold smoked salmon if desired. Serve sweet bagels with butter or cream cheese, or with Rum or Brandy Butter. Bagels are surprisingly substantial one or two will make a satisfying lunch.


Beat or process together 50g softened butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, ½ -1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, and 1-2 Tbsp rum or brandy until light and creamy. Store in refrigerator but serve at room temperature.

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