"Bag me up some bagels, please"

Who doesn't love a bagel? Warm, chewy with a hint of sweetness..what could be a better transporter of smoked salmon and cream cheese, or cold meats with peppery rocket, or slatherings of jam to your tastebuds?

I stumbled across this recipe several years ago and it has been my staple bagel recipe ever since! You'll need a couple of different ingredients. Number one is some malt syrup, which can be found in health food shops. I use a barley malt syrup and usually warm it a little first to assist in scooping it out of the jar.

The other ingredient is potato water...the leftover water that has been used to boil potatoes. Sometimes I freeze this in small containers so it's always on hand if I get the sudden urge to make bagels. Like today!

To make 16 bagels, I double the original ingredients and end up using the following:

2 cups lukewarm potato water
4 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tbs beaten egg (save the remainder for eggwashing the bagels before baking)
6 tbs canola/vegetable oil
2 tbs malt syrup
1kg (6 cups) bread flour
2-3tbs sugar (depending on how sweet you like your bagel)
3 tsp salt

1/3 cup brown sugar to add to the poaching liquid

poppy and sesame seeds for toppings

I start off by placing the warm potato water into a large bowl. The egg, oil and malt syrup are added. To this, I then add 2 cups flour, 4 tsp yeast, 3tbs sugar and the salt. The ingredients are then whisked for a couple of minutes with a wire whisk until everything is incorportated and smooth.

Then the rest of the flour is added, and I switch to using a wooden spoon to mix...and then hands...

The dough should be stiff and hard to work, but if it is a little on the dry side, add a touch more potato water...just enough to hold the dough together.

Knead well for 10-15 minutes until dough is silky and bounces back when touched.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl, rolling to coat dough with oil, cover and place in a warm and draft free place for 1-1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Knock back the dough and knead a few times. Now comes the fun part..shaping! For this quantity of dough, I have found that 100-110g portions of dough yield 16 bagels. It may be pedantic of me, but I do weigh them..just to make sure they're all of an even size (very important when it comes to kids lunchboxes!).

The portioned dough is then rolled out into logs about 30cm long.

...then wrapped around my hand....

..and joined at the ends.

It is then rolled on the bench to seal the join and make a 'bangle'. Don't be afraid to stretch it as you go, it won't bite!

Place the shaped bagels onto a tray, cover and place somewhere warm to rise for 15-20 minutes. One day when I have a wider fridge, I'll make the bagels up until this point and then prove them slowly overnight in the fridge, ready to be poached the next morning. Not today though..*sigh*. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 210-220c and place a large pot of water on to boil, with a handful (1/3 cup) of brown sugar thrown in. Once boiling, reduce the pot to a steady simmer.

Once the bagels have risen, slide them gently (a slotted egg flip works well), into the pot of simmering water and poach them for 1 minute each side.

Remove the bagels (again with the egg flip or a slotted spoon), and place them onto baking paper lined oven trays.

Add a little water to the leftover beaten egg and whisk well. Use this to brush the bagels, and then add your toppings..sesame seeds or poppy seeds... or both!

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and hollow sounding. Cool on wire racks.

Best eaten while still a little bit warm!

For more bagel chat and a different way of shaping, click here.


  1. They look lovely! We love bagels - our recipe is quite similar, only we don't use potato water, and we add malt syrup to the kettling liquid. Once you've tried homemade, it's hard to buy those big heavy clunkers they sell at markets.. :)

  2. I've never tried to cook bagels...might need to give it a go!!!

  3. Great post Christine, you've made it look so easy, might just have to give them a try. Do they freeze well?

  4. They look AMAzing!! I just ate, but it's still killing me. =) Thanks for the detail re: forming the bagels. Nice.

  5. I have made bagels too and they are so easy and they taste far better than any bought one. Yours look very tasty:0)

  6. Interesting to hear about the potato water. I was talking to my grandmother recently and she was telling me about how her mother would save all the potato water and put it in to the bread. A pot of it would sit at the back of the wood stove.

  7. Hi Christine, I just found your site via Julie's blog at Towards Sustainability. Bagels, are so yummy, I haven't made them in years. Thanks for the inspiration

  8. It's amazing how many different recipes there are for bagels, isn't it, Celia!

    They are pretty straightforward LJ, once you get your head around the poaching step.

    They freeze great, Lisa! I usually split mine in half horizontally first though, so I can fill them easily at short notice for lunchboxes or put them through the toaster without waiting for them to thaw.

    I found pictures the best way when I was looking to learn how to go about shaping, bio, so I'm just sharing the information. :o)

    SO much better than shop bought, Debbie..unless of course we are in close proximaty to "Glick's" in St Kilda! ;o)

    The addition of the potato water appeals to me, Brydie. Besides adding moistness to the bread, it re-uses an otherwise waste liquid..perfect for the frugal minded cook!

    Hi Bee, nice to see you. Nothing beats a warm, chewy bagel on a chilly winters day! :o)

  9. Hi Christine,

    I really hope you don't mind but I've posted the link to this great tute on the DTE blog after Mommy5 wrote her exciting success story!

    Thank you,
    Sue/coffeee @DTE

  10. Hi Sue, that's absolutely fine. They really are quite fun to make! I'm pleased to hear that Mommy5 was inspired. :o)

  11. These look wonderful, and easy!
    I'll have to track down some of the Barley Malt syrup, and if so try this recipe.
    Thank you!

  12. Best of luck, alecat! I found the malt syrup in our local health food shop. And you're welcome :o)

  13. Hi Christine,

    I'm in the middle of following your bagel recipe - thank you for it - but I think perhaps you left out some steps??

    I've done the first step, and then I see that the next step is to add all the flour. But where do we add the egg, the oil and the barley malt that I purchased?

    Oh dear, I wish you were my Aunty and I could just pick up the phone! LOL

    Candice in the Kitchen

  14. So sorry, Candice! The ingredients you state are added to the potato water before the flour - will amend post now. It's not crucial, but it mixes better if added in this order. Apologies!

  15. Hi Christine,

    After my previous message I just added the barley malt and kept going and guess what? They were delicious!!!

    I can't wait to make them 'properly' next time LOL. It really is a lot of fun.

    Thank you so much for the great post, and all the photos. I really wouldn't have attempted it otherwise.

    Cheers, Candice

  16. Hi Christine,

    It's been two years since my last post and I'm proud to say that I've been making your bagels monthly (if not more often) for that whole time. We love them!

    I'm back to get the link to your post to pass onto a friend.

    Thanks again and happy baking.

    1. Hi Candice, it's great to hear from you again! Thanks so much for the feedback, I'm really pleased your enjoying this recipe!! All the best, Christine :)


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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