Bagels for Fresh From the Oven – February Challenge

27 Feb

It is Bagels this month for Fresh From the Oven – the incredible bread baking community. This month’s challenge was hosted by Claire of Purely Food. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. Bagels are my absolute favourite but I keep away from them because it invariably means I will have to slather it with plenty of cream cheese and then chomp-chomp it down with some hot coffee. It is my ideal breakfast, after eggs on toast. Okay, bagels fight for a second position with Granola, fruit and yogurt in my list of favourite breakfasts.

The first time I sampled bagels was in London and it was a close friend who bought my first bagel-cream cheese breakfast for me. From then on I was hooked. I ran an extra mile just so that I could have a bagel with cream cheese. It was like I had found manna. The only other time I felt like that was when I discovered Hummus. Love that thing!

I had a favourite coffee shop in Cambridge ( I was there in 2006 for a company project) and they had the most amazing bagels. I would have them just fresh out of the oven. The cafe owner told me that bagels taste better 5-6 hours after they have been brought out of the oven. I thought, fresh out of the oven they tasted nothing short of divine. The other tiny tidbids he shared with me were – Bagels taste the best when toasted and they have to be golden brown all over to taste the best. If the bagels are  blondish in colour it means they haven’t made the ‘great bagel mark’. I remember all that so well. It didn’t mean much to me as my only concern was how much cream cheese was I getting in my bagel. I guess he must have noticed that my liking for bagels was bordering on obsession and thought I might be interested in such trivia.

Bringing my batch of freshly baked bagels out of my gas -fired oven made me dizzy with nostalgia. They didn’t wear a golden brown that the cafe owner would have approved of but I knew that once toasted they would gain a beautiful colour. I am so happy that Fresh from the Oven made this possible and sent me down a wonderful memory lane.

Recipe for Bagels

Makes 7 


Strong white flour -450g
Fast acting yeast -7g
Salt -2 tsp
Warm water -250ml
Honey -2 tbsp
Vegetable oil -1 tbsp
Egg, beaten – 1
Your choice of topping – I used roasted pumpkin seeds, sesame – black and white, caraway seeds


1. In a large bowl add the salt to the flour and then the yeast (I usually put the yeast in a small well in the centre to keep it a way from the salt).

2. Measure the warm water and then stir in the oil and honey.

3. If kneading by hand, make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the liquid in gradually, bringing the dough together with your hands. Turn the dough on to a clean, dry and floured work surface. Start kneading the dough by stretching it away with the palm of one hand and folding it back again with the other. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. You may need to add more flour as you go if the dough is too sticky.

4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat in the oil. Cover with cling film or a plastic bag to create a draught-free environment and put in a warm place (not hot) for between 1-3 hours or until doubled in size.

5. Lightly oil two baking trays.

6. Remove the dough from the bowl, punch it down to knock the air out and knead briefly.

7. Roll in to a sausage shape and divide into 7 chunks. As you work one, keep the others covered with a clean tea towel.

8. There are two ways to shape the bagels. One is to firmly roll out each chunk in to a long sausage shape, then form a ring and seal the ends together with a tiny splash of water and squeezing. The other method (my prefered method) is to roll each chunk into a ball. Piercing a hole in the centre with your finger, pull the dough open wide by twirling it round your index fingers (wider than you think you need as the hole will shrink when the dough proves, is poached and then baked).Place on the prepared baking tray and repeat with remaining dough.

9. Cover and allow to rise for a further 10-20 minutes.

10. Preheat the oven to 220C  (200C fan), gas 7. Fill a large sauce pan with boiling water (from the kettle) and return to a simmer. Gently lift each bagel into the water to poach (do not try to put too many bagels in at once as they will expand slightly). Poach for about 90 seconds on each side, turning gently with a slotted spoon.

11. Remove the bagels from the water, allowing them to drain first and place on the prepared baking trays spacing them about 3-4cm apart.

12. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with your choice of topping. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn upside down for a further 10 minutes to cook the bases. Cool on a wire rack.

The recipe instructions were so easy to follow and I felt no need to refer to any other source for further explanation. The largest chunk of time went in poaching the bagels. I have to admit I was pretty bored by the time I was on my 3rd bagel. Rest of the steps take no time at all.

Toasted, these bagels were an instant hit with my daughter, my hubby and my friends. With cream cheese they were already addicted. I have only 3  left and I baked them last night.  I know I will be baking these again for sure.

55 Responses to “Bagels for Fresh From the Oven – February Challenge”

  1. people_4_mimi February 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

    no mimi pics!! how did mimi receive it?

    • Anita Menon February 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

      ha ha.. Mimi loved it. Had half a bagel with cream cheese and salted butter.

  2. Priyanka February 28, 2012 at 12:22 am #

    Lovely bagel..thanks for sharing, hope i can create one at home

    • Anita Menon February 28, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      Do let me know how they turned out. Thanks for your comment

  3. kankana February 28, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    I totally suck at baking breads. These bagels looks so nice .. and you shaped these with your hand! Absolutely fantastic job!

  4. Cass @foodmyfriend February 28, 2012 at 3:15 am #

    I used the same method to make my pretzels. Obviously a different recipe but still, the process is so similar. These look so beautiful Anita. I lived off bagels when I was in America last year. So delicious when fresh.

  5. yummychunklet February 28, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    How delicious! I’ve never made bagels before. These look great!

  6. Poornima February 28, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    Those bagels look fabulous, love making breads at home!

    • Anita Menon February 28, 2012 at 11:17 am #

      thanks for stopping by Poornima. Love your blog.

  7. Ameena February 28, 2012 at 6:41 am #

    Bagels + cream cheese are one of my most favorite meals ever. I can’t even imagine how fabulous a homemade one tastes?

    May I be so forward as to suggest you do a giveaway? 🙂 And I somehow win?

    • Anita Menon February 28, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      To send you some in the US. Would they stay good? I would love to send you some.

  8. monikamanchanda February 28, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    super awesome we all love bagels at home too, strangely have never made them… must do soon 🙂

    and what is this bread baking community seems like a thing I should be a part of 😉

    • Anita Menon February 28, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      please do Monika. I am sure you would love participating

  9. Devina Divecha (FooDee) February 28, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    Who lives in UK for nearly 1.5 years and doesn’t have a bagel? ME. Who goes to the US on a press trip and doesn’t have a bagel? ME!!!
    OMG I commented on Sally’s post as well and feel so stupid…these look awesome. Why have I never had them before?!?!

    MUST RECTIFY or I’ll go to bagel hell.

    • Anita Menon February 28, 2012 at 11:23 am #

      oh no.. please go ahead and have one already!!!

  10. rohini February 28, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    They look good enough to start a war over! Anita, your photographs are excellent, as good as any food photographer I’ve known. Love eating the bagels, made them once just to see if I could, and decided all this rising/proofing/poaching was too much work – a simple rise & proof op or something with a biga done a few days ahead do-able. But congratulations on what was obviously a resounding success.

    • Anita Menon February 28, 2012 at 10:14 am #

      aww thanks Rohini. I know that you are a terrific cook/baker. You just choose to not to be a show off like me 😀

  11. Payal February 28, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Looks so Yummy!! I hope to make this soon… Pictures r fantastic!!

  12. Tandy February 28, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    I am hungry at the thought of bagels with cream cheese but next I have to try them with hummus 🙂

    • Anita Menon February 28, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      yes with hummous you can trick yourself into thinking you are eating healthy 😀

  13. Buls February 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    Beautiful… I have to try them… try eating them, not making them… 🙂

  14. La @ FoodSlice February 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    I bought more flour last sunday hoping to bake a bread.. still daunting for me.. I am really in awe at how at ease you are with baking breads and bagels.. they look really delicious.. Let me try your easiest bread recipe now..

  15. purelyfood February 28, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Thanks for taking part in FFTO this month. Your bagel look great, glad you enjoyed the challenge.

  16. Sally February 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Love how you strung them on rope 🙂 Off to try the last remaining one toasted. Beautiful bagels.

    • Anita Menon February 29, 2012 at 7:22 am #

      Trying to experiment with my photography. Unfortunately it did not result in how I had hoped it would.

  17. Deeps @ Naughty Curry February 28, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    they look absolutely delish…i have tasted bagels once with hummus & loved it. had no idea they were poached first & then baked.. such an interesting technique!

    • Anita Menon February 29, 2012 at 7:20 am #

      Yes it is indeed and that is the only step that took a lot of time. These days most of the outlets take a short cut and steam them all at once. But then they aren’t the authentic sort of bagels anymore than the Polish used to make.

  18. Marie February 29, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    I could read about bagels all day, I can just picture them coming out of my oven. I’ve made them a few times and it is impossible to not chow down on at least 2 right away. And I pretty much toast all my bread, I just like it better that way.

    • Anita Menon February 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      You are completely right about chowing down bagels fresh out of the oven. They are so delicious

  19. Curious Cuisiniere February 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    Great looking bagels and awesome photographs! I too LOVE my bagels with cream cheese!

    • Anita Menon March 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

      Loved the bagels on your blog. Hoping to bake with you next month.

  20. thelittleloaf March 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    It’s hard to beat a homemade bagel! I loved taking part in this challenge too – looking forward to the next one!

    • Anita Menon March 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

      Yes, I am looking forward to the next one too. I loved the bagels you made, the colour was gorgeous

  21. Daisy@Nevertoosweet March 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    These bagels look so pretty 😉 I’ve only just started eating them hehe ~ thanks for the great recipe!

  22. Audrey March 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

    I love bagels. I’ve never made them but I love when we visit large cities like New York or Chicago and I can get a “real” bagel. Store bought just are not “real” LOL. Oh and real cream cheese on a real bagel, so worth the calories 🙂

    • Anita Menon March 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

      Yo! cream cheese and bagels are really worth all the calories..

  23. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb March 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Bagels sounds wonderful. I cant stop looking at them either. I remember trying a bagel once and the impression never left! Its an “exotic”thing for one from middle europe. ^.^
    Love the tidbits, yours looks brown enough I feel on top, no? surely great toasted too.
    thanks for sharing Anita!

    • Anita Menon March 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Thank you Helene for your wonderful comment.

  24. Deboshree March 3, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    They look very tempting! Late though I am today, I am suddenly very hungry for breakfast. 😀

  25. JavelinWarrior March 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    These bagels do look delicious =) And I’ve never researched bagel-making techniques, but that’s interesting that the color is so critical to achieve a perfect bagel…

  26. Euan March 4, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    These look so good!

  27. Simply Fahad-istic! (@PharaohKhan) March 4, 2012 at 2:17 am #

    “The cafe owner told me that bagels taste better 5-6 hours after they have been brought out of the oven.” Wow!I never knew that!I have had bread,right out of oven,when it is warm,and it tastes soul-satisfying.Even simply with butter,it’s a deep pleasure!
    Bagels with cream cheese – even better!
    Thank you for sharing your memory lane with us!:-)

  28. sm March 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    lovely pics
    looks tasty

  29. Thanh @ eat, little bird March 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I’ve always wanted to make my own bagels at home. These look and sound like they were totally worth the effort!

  30. Masala Chica March 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    I can’t believe how brave you are. Making your own bagels! I live in Virginia – though I am originally from New Jersey and one of the things I miss most about home (sorry dear friends and family – hope you are not reading) is bagels. Oooh. and thin crust pizza. need to put your recipe and tips to good use.


  31. Baker Street March 8, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    This sounds like a fun challenge every month. Is this your first attempt at bagels? Because they look really great!

  32. ssnab March 9, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    they look yumm! Will definitely give it a try..

  33. Jen March 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    Yumm,these bagels sound interesting and yumm! Should show this recipe to mom! I’m your new follower here!!! 🙂


  1. Fresh from the oven February round up | Purely food - February 29, 2012

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