A bagel’s characteristic “holey” ring shape and dense chewy texture have made it one of the most iconic Jewish breads. Bagels may originate from Poland but their production and popularity have spread together with the Jewish Diaspora. They are often sweetened with malt, sugar or honey and are usually boiled prior to baking which gives them their unique texture.

Makes 12 bagels

450g white strong flour
275ml warm water
1 tsp sachet dried
yeast 4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Poppy or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top (optional)

  1. Start by mixing the yeast with half of the water and 2 tbsp of sugar in a large bowl and leave for 10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.
  2. Pour the remaining warm water in to the bowl, stir in the salt and the remaining flour.
  3. Mix until you have soft, but not too sticky dough and knead for 10 minutes until the dough feels smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and put in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1hr.
  4. On a lightly floured surface ,divide the dough into 12 pieces, each about 75g. Shape each piece into a ball and put aside covered for 15 minutes.
  5. Using an oiled finger or the handle of a wooden spoon, make a hole in the middle of each ball and stretch until the hole is about 3cm wide. Cover the bagel loosely with cling film while you shape the remaining dough. Allow these to rise for a further 30 minutes, not too long as they will loose their shape.
  6. Heat oven to 220 ℃ or gas mark 7/8.
  7. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the remaining sugar. This creates a light syrup which makes the bagels glossy.
  8. Gently slip the bagels into the boiling water – no more than four at a time and cook for 1-2 minutes, turning over in the water until the bagels have puffed slightly and a skin has formed.
  9. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain away any excess water.
  10. Sprinkle over your choice of topping and place on a baking tray lined with parchment or well oiled.
  11. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until browned and crisp and cool on a wire rack.

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