Homemade Sourdough Bagels Recipe

When Maxence and I were in San Francisco late last summer, we had bagels for breakfast every single day. There were a couple of bagel shops not far from where we were staying, so we alternated between the two, and on those mornings that we went for a run through the Golden Gate Park, bagels awaited at a busy coffee shop by the ocean.

I like mine dotted with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, and spread with cream cheese and a juicy slice of tomato. And thanks to a reader who recently suggested the pairing, I’ve also taken to topping my bagels with peanut butter and a juicy slice of tomato. (I know, I was skeptical too, but try it: I think you’ll be surprised.)

On our last day, sad that our vacation was coming to an end and sad to be leaving the city, I saw this one way of making myself feel better: I promised myself I’d bake bagels for us back in Paris. It would at least alleviate the withdrawal symptoms on that particular front.

If you’re unfamiliar with the way bagels are made, the most characteristic thing you should know is that they are cooked in two steps: first you poach them in a pot of water, then you bake them in the oven.

Oh, sure, I’ve found bagels in Paris in the past, and you can even buy them from the ubiquitous chain of frozen foods stores (they come with a bunch of emulsifiers and preservatives, if you’re into that sort of thing), but it’s never been quite the same.

So I turned to Peter Reinhart* and his Bread Baker’s Apprentice book for guidance, compulsively reviewed the posts of every single BBA challenger who had followed his bagel recipe, and, on an afternoon when it seemed I could not sit at the computer for a minute longer, I fled to the kitchen and started up a batch. (Evidently, procrastination is a rich soil for baking projects.)

If you’re unfamiliar with the way bagels are made, the most characteristic thing you should know is that they are cooked in two steps: first you poach them in a pot of water, then you bake them in the oven. And for some reason, the poaching step had always seemed daunting to me: what if I dropped them in and they fell apart, or dissolved, or sank to the bottom of the pot and never floated back up? Would I have to hire divers and send them on a recovery mission to salvage the sunken bagels? Reinhart didn’t seem to suggest that this might happen, so I forged ahead.

Before I got to that point, though, I’d had to overcome two procurement hurdles. First, bagels must be made with flour that has a high rate of gluten: in the US, you would make them with high-gluten flour or bread flour. Unfortunately, French flour is significantly lower in gluten than American flours — it has to do with the different types of wheat that we grow and mill — and as Jane had warned me from her past experience, it would not work. So, my mission was to find powdered wheat gluten that I could add to my flour to boost its gluten content.

The bagels were fantastic, and just what I was hoping for: great flavor and just the right density and chewiness, the perfect carriers for the all-natural, chunky peanut butter I brought back from California.

Second, part of what gives bagels their distinctive flavor is that the dough is lightly sweetened with barley malt, in powder or syrup form. In France, this goes by the names of sirop d’orge, malt d’orge or sirop d’orge malté. I had to try a few organic food stores, but I ended up finding both of these ingredients at the same one**; I almost hugged the cashier.

I mostly stuck to Peter Reinhart’s method, except for a few things: I modified the recipe to use some of my sourdough starter in the sponge (enough to produce a final 1-to-3 ratio between starter and flour) and reduced the amount of commercial yeast. I also halved the recipe (his produces 12 large bagels; I made 8 medium).

I took some liberty with the order of the steps, too: Peter Reinhart’s recipe has you make the dough, shape the bagels, lay them out on baking sheets, and then leave them overnight in the refrigerator (a step called retarding), before you poach and bake them the next day. The thing is, I have a Paris-sized fridge that is stuffed to the gills with, well, food, and the notion that I should just free up two (of the four) shelves to place baking sheets for the night is heroic fantasy.

So, instead of shaping the bagels pre-retarding, I simply placed the ball of dough in the fridge (it was a challenge just to make room for the bowl) and shaped it the next day. I was not struck by the wrath of the bagel gods during the night, so I assume it wasn’t too big of a commandment to break.

The whole process was a lot of fun, and much less involved than I thought: the dough is rather stiff, which makes it easy to handle once kneaded (though I hear it’s quite a workout to knead it by hand), and the poaching step went surprisingly smoothly.

As for the bagels themselves, they were fantastic, and just what I was hoping for: great flavor and just the right density and chewiness, the perfect carriers for the all-natural, chunky peanut butter I brought back from California. Now, if only I could persuade my neighborhood grocery store to carry cream cheese, I’d be all set.

* I just stumbled upon this video of a talk Peter Reinhart gave on bread, via Nicole’s blog. I can’t imagine anyone watching it and not wanting to bake bread right this minute.

** I found malt syrup and wheat gluten at the Biocoop store at 73 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière in the 9th (map it!), 01 44 79 06 44, open Mon-Sat 9:30am-8pm.


Have you tried this? Share your pics on Instagram!

Please tag your pictures with #cnzrecipes. I'll share my favorites!

Sourdough Bagels Recipe

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 16 hours

Makes 8 bagels.

Sourdough Bagels Recipe


    For the sponge:
  • 185 grams (6 1/2 ounces) high-gluten or bread flour (I used 180 grams French T65 flour plus 5 grams wheat gluten)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (I use the SAF brand)
  • 215 grams (7 1/2 ounces) water
  • 140 grams (5 ounces) 100% sourdough starter (read more about it here)
  • For the dough:
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 235 grams (8.3 ounces) high-gluten flour (I used 230 grams French T65 flour plus 5 grams wheat gluten)
  • 6 grams (0.2 ounces) salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons malt syrup
  • For boiling and topping:
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • an assortment of seeds: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.


  1. On the first day, prepare the sponge: combine all the ingredients for the sponge in a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir until you get a batter-like consistency, cover, and let rest for 2 hours, until bubbly.
  2. Sourdough bagels
  3. Make the dough: add the dough ingredients, from yeast to malt syrup, to the sponge, stir to combine, then knead by hand for 10 minutes (others have reported it took longer than that) or in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook for 8 minutes. All of the flour should be incorporated within the first 2 minutes or so: if the dough is too dry to incorporate all the flour, add a few drops of water. Knead until the dough becomes smooth and pliable; it will be fairly stiff, but it should feel pleasant to the touch, not dry.
  4. Sourdough bagels
  5. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until the next day (the dough can stay in the fridge for up to 2 days).
  6. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and let it come back to room temperature for 1 hour. Have ready 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, lightly misted with oil, or a silicon baking mat.
  7. Sourdough bagels
  8. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and divide it into 8 equal pieces, each of them weighing about 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces). Shape each piece into a roll as demonstrated in this video.
  9. Sourdough bagels
  10. Pierce each roll in the middle with your thumb, then use the fingers of both hands to stretch out the hole you've just created, and form the typical bagel shape. At this point, the hole needs to be somewhat wider than you think it should be, because the dough will spring back as it rests. As you shape the bagels, arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with kitchen towels and let rest for 15 minutes.
  11. Sourdough bagels
  12. Preheat the oven to 260°C (500°F) with two racks close to the center of the oven, and bring a wide pot of water (about 15 cm or 6 inches deep) to the boil. Have ready one or several wide, shallow bowls (or soup plates) holding the seeds you want to coat the bagels with.
  13. Check whether the dough is ready to be poached using the float test: drop one of the bagels in a bowl of room temperature water; it should float within 10 seconds (mine did a lot faster than that). If it doesn't, return to the baking sheet, and wait for 5 to 10 minutes before testing again.
  14. When the dough is ready, add the baking soda to the pot of boiling water and drop in as many bagels as will comfortably fit; my pot could accommodate 4 bagels. Cook for 1 minute, flip using a skimmer or slotted spoon, and cook for 1 more minute on the other side (extend to 2 minutes if you like them chewier). Notice that the bagels have a prettier, rounded side; try to keep track of which one it is.
  15. Sourdough bagels
  16. Fish out the bagels with the slotted spoon one by one, dip them on both sides in the prepared seed bowls, then place them, pretty side up, on the baking sheet. Repeat the poaching process with the remaining bagels.
  17. Sourdough bagels
  18. Once all the bagels are poached and coated with seeds, insert the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Switch the baking sheets (so the bottom sheet is at the top and the top sheet is at the bottom) and rotate them front to back as well. Lower the heat to 230°C (450°F) and bake for another 5 minutes, a few minutes more if you like them a bit darker.
  19. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes, or completely, before eating. (Once entirely cooled, they may be frozen.)




  • Linda

    You’ve inspired me! I’ve been wanting to make Peter Reinhart’s recipe for quite awhile, now. I like my bagels with cream cheese and oven-roasted tomatoes (from Lynn Rosetto Kasper).

  • These look incredible! I haven’t been able to bring myself to eat a bagel since returning to Australia from Montreal, after the dozens of amazing ones I ate there, so perhaps I should be brave and try these too. I share your fear of having to call divers in, hehe :)

  • Erin

    I just have to say that I have been a fan of peanut butter and tomato on a bagel for years! It truly is delicious–everyone should try it! (or, on toast, or some other yummy, sturdy thing to act as a vehicle for the PB & T!)

  • Beautiful bagels!

  • Thanks for the post! You give such great detailed instructions. I tried making bagels a few weeks ago but failed miserably at it. I wasn’t sure if it was me or the recipe (my guess is me;). I’ll give this one a try.

  • Zia

    You’ve inspired me. I’ll have to try making these myself. These look wonderful!

  • Kristin

    Ah the joys of bagels! If only we could get food chains like Noah’s Bagels here instead of Subway. I love Kiri on my bagel with a dash of “Fruits Alfresco” grinded spices. Thanks for the blog :)

  • Your taking the plunge into bagel making is encouraging. These photos may prove just the catalyst I need to venture along the path as well. Also, I’m reading “The Gastronomy of Marriage” too. It’s an engaging and appetizing read so far.

  • They look delicious!

    I didn’t know that about French flour. Does French bread have extra gluten added? I was in Paris over the weekend and swear I had the most delicious baguette I’ve ever tasted.

  • Ces bagels sont très beaux et la marche à suivre bien faite. Aux graines de pavot, c’est bien !
    Des Bretzels faits maison aussi sont un vrai délice.

  • Thanks Clotilde! I haven’t made bagels for ages and I absolutely love them! When I was little my friends and used to go to a little bagel shop (called the Bagel House) and order a toasted onion bagel with cream cheese and sprouts. It was mu favourite! I have always used Nigella’s recipe, but I’ll try the one you posted for a change. Bonne soiree!

  • Your bagels turned out beautifully! I loved making this recipe and need to try it with a sourdough starter. Peter is an inspiration and his book is nothing short of amazing.

  • I love bagel too! Here, in Montreal, I usually buy them from St-Viateur Bagel – a city landmark since 1957! They are cooked in a wood burning stove and taste amazing!

    The main difference with Bagels in Montreal seems to be the hole in the middle ; we wrap our dough around a hand so there is a big hole. They are quite compact and taste a little sweet.

    St-Viateur have a video online on how they do it, if you want to see the rolling technique : http://www.stviateurbagel.com/video/

  • That looks delicious! I am totally going to have to try this recipe!

  • Sara A.

    My mother always enjoyed her bagels with spreadable goat-cheese. The flavor is a bit stronger than cream cheese but still quite good. Also most of the cream cheese in the US is actually neufchatel. And if you’re looking for authentic belly lox you can substitute nova and just salt it more, which is what I’ve been doing since I moved from NYC.

    I heard you on NPR last night! The book sounds great!

  • Hi Clothilde,

    I absolutely love bagels but have never made them before. Actually, the thought of it scared me a little but your recipe looks doable so I guess I should take the plunge at last . Hopefully some organic shops here have malt syrup.

  • My daughter’s favorite lunch is a bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, lemon juice and black pepper on a toasted poppy bagel!
    Can’t blame her for that, it’s simply delicious!
    One day, I’ll make some with her… Thanks for the recipe!

  • good thing you didn’t read Jeffrey Hamelman (Bread; A Baker’s Book of Techniques and Recipes) or you might never have embarked on this glorious bagel-making adventure. He recommends constructing special bagel-baking boards covered with cloth which you soak in water before placing the bagels on them. After baking about 3-4 minutes you flip them off the boards onto your hearth or a baking tray and finish the bake. Unfortunately he doesn’t really explain the purpose of the boards. He also directs the bagel-maker to place the poached bagels into an ice-water bath for 3-4 minutes before baking.
    I have never used the boards or the ice bath, but have poached and baked bagels in a manner similar to yours. Salt bagels I made as a pastry student were deemed ‘inedible’ by the Chef/Instructor and made me feel like I’d spent a week in the desert.

    Thank you for the lovely recipes, pictures and ideas on food!

  • Very interesting recipe. I’ve baked quite a few bagels, a looong time ago, but always 100% yeast, never took the time to make a sourdough batch. When I’ll find enough time, I’ll try your recipe.

  • Mario

    How funny that you eat bagels in SF whereas when we Americans go to France we indulge in croissants!

  • Peanut butter and tomato? Really? Do you salt the tomato?

    My mom and I love an english muffin, toasted, topped with peanut butter and crunchy lettuce, with coarse salt on top…

    Don’t think I won’t be trying this :)

  • Hi Clotilde,

    I have been reading your blog for a while and have found it very interesting. It’s full of nice recipes that I have also tried every now and then and they did work every time.

    Any way, I was thinking to try a Julie&Julia kind of challenge this year and was wondering if you have any suggestions for that (including yours, of course). I am not familiar with your book unfortunately and could not find it anywhere and also, I was aiming for a more ‘classic’ one, without it being Julia Child’s. Thanks a lot for your help, I really do love your blog :)

  • Delicious bagel experimentation!

    I have to say, though, with a modest smirk, I’m glad to hear about the trouble you had obtaining bagels in Paris. So often I read about fabulous French delicacies on your site, and I mourn the fact that I can’t obtain sparklingly fresh macarons or authentic cherry clafoutis. (I live in Ottawa, Canada). But we do get good bagels here!

    Just kidding..I know your site is about making these delectable things at home, but I am not much of a cook.

    Keep on baking!

  • My favourite bagel – sesame seed bagel, lightly toasted, topped with cream cheese and sliced English cucumber. Lightly season the cucumber with salt and pepper! Delicious!

  • I so want to try this! I just started a sourdough starter (first time…) and I love bagles, so I guess this is a sign. Guess what I’m doing this weekend!

  • those bagels look magnificent – I love any toast with peanut butter and tomato and even love promite (a close cousin of vegemite) and tomato on toast. I also love cream cheese on bagels but found the cream cheese in US much nicer than the one I had in UK (where I was staying at the time)

  • The only time I made bagels was as an exchange student in Belgium. My host mom decided we should make ‘NY bagels’ and they were very easy (you could source cream cheese locally, or ‘Philadelphia’ as everyone called it). They were delicious!

    I really want a good mixer so I can attempt these more physically demanding breads without having to take rest breaks. Yum.

  • This looks really good! I love bagels and will have to try this soon. :)

  • blowback

    High gluten flour is readily available in the UK – most of it is derived from Canadian Red Wheat. A few years back I did a bread making course and the instructor commented on meeting Italian bakers who envied our use of Canadian Red Wheat or Manitoba wheat as they called it. The shame is that few British bakers produce better bread than the Italians and French (and Germans for that matter).

    BTW, if you fancy a beigel in London try Beigel Bake on Brick Lane. They do very good beigels with cream cheese and smoked salmon. They also do salt beef sandwiches made with rye bread with caraway seeds. Be careful with the mustard though – they offer a full-on English mustard which is strong, so strong you feel the top of your head lift about half a metre when you bite into it.

  • EB

    They look utterly delectable. Nicely done.

  • That picture you have of the bagel with cream cheese and slice of tomato made me actually smell the bagel and want one really badly. I love bagels.

  • S.

    I’ve always wanted to make bagels (and doughnuts) but I’ve been too afraid that I’ll lose patience halfway through! You make it sound so simple though, I might actually try it :)

  • Meg

    These look great! Bagels are a staple food here in Montreal, but they are so easy to find that I’ve never considered making them. I like them with sesame seeds best.

  • Yum! I cannot wait to try this recipe! It looks very doable and looks like it creates bakery-style bagels….at home!

  • What an informative post! I have wanted to try making bagels for a long time, but have never sat down to figure out the process.

  • These look exquisite!

  • Barbara

    Well, I’m glad you made them and your post was interesting and the photos divine. BUT….I think I will buy mine and leave the making to you! I am not nearly so ambitious OR talented!!

  • They look great! You make it look so easy. This will be a great post to use when my classes are studying making bread. Where did you find the beautiful yellow tomatoes? Thanks so much.

  • you could try making your own cream cheese. i make mine from strained yogurt (homemade), just strain until really dry, leave out for a day, covered, so that it develops a nicer tang, and that’s it. it’s not EXACTLY like cream cheese, but mine gets pretty close. healthier too.

  • I think I have seen some Philadelphia Cream Cheese in a cheese shop in Paris about two weeks ago while I was walking rue Damrémont, I should have entered the shop to check if it was really it !

  • Peanut butter and sliced tomatoes is one of my favourite lunches. I use Jean Hervé’s peanut butter which is just ground peanuts and sprinkle the tomatoes with some Maldon salt (like fleur de sel).

    Clotilde, your description has given me the courage not just to attempt some bagels, but also to have another go at gnocchi, which dissolved into a gooey mess the only time I tried to make them many years ago.

  • Lauren

    Well done! May I humbly suggest that the bagel+tomato picture be used for a desktop calendar at some point?

  • renee

    I have to try this bagel recipe. Looks delicious! However, I am moving to San Francisco in a week and will have a tiny kitchen and even tinier refrigerator like you. I don’t know how I’ll be able to cook. Clothide (or anyone else with a tiny fride) do you have any hints for the tiny fridge conundrum? Any help would be appreciated.

  • My husband likes bagels a lot, so I have to make him some quite often, but I bake regular ones. I think I will try something like the ones here and surprise him. Thank you.

  • I love my Bread Baker’s Apprentice book too. Thank you for taking the time to test the recipe – I’ve always wanted to try bagels and now this is at the top of my list.

    Peanut butter is one of my top 3 favorite foods. Peanut butter and bagel – yes. PB and tomato – I’ll try it and get back to you!

  • Yum, bagels! I’ve never tried to make homemade bagels, but I love the idea of it. I’ll have to try on one of the rainy, just want to stay-inside-and-bake days this winter.

    Thanks for the great inspiration!

  • tamater sammich

    Thank you. I knew I had that jar of barley malt syrup in the closet for a reason – I just couldn’t remember what it was!

  • Dawn in CA

    Brava! Your bagels are gorgeous! It’s been years since my first (and last) time making bagels. They turned out great, but it was a very long process. I’ll have to give your recipe a shot. But first, the sourdough starter…

  • There is nothing that complements a freshly baked, hot bagel than a dab of cream cheese (especially with scallions) and a few slices of smoked salmon or gravlax. Capers are optional but welcome.

  • I never realized you had to poach bagels and then bake them – the recipe looks very labour intensive but the end result looks worth it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Margaux

    Hi Clothilde,

    Love the blog! and Funnily enough I do most of my shopping (when I don’t go to the market or to “picking” farms) at the Biocoop du Faubourg!
    I think you should probably read this (http://www.amazon.fr/Bagels-comme-New-York-quelques/dp/2501062574), made by a beloved friend of mine. A book I contributed to (just a little) and I remember seeing Marc (Bob) try millions of recipes of bagels before he was finally satisfied with his own version. I’ll be sure to send him a link to this post!
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  • Stephanie

    I’ve made Peter’s bagels, too! People are so amazed when you present them with homemade bagels:) Thanks for simplifying this not-too-difficult recipe even more. But I’m not going to try the pb and tomato thing, sorry.

  • There’s something about the look of smooth balls of bread dough that I absolutely LOVE.

    I am spoiled by all the great bagel stores here in NYC. Whenever I travel/leave this city for an extended time period I go through serious bagel withdrawal :(

  • There is NOTHING better than a bagel with cream cheese and a tomato. Never tried a yellow one… yours looks amazing.

  • The search for bagels in Paris has taken me hither and yon, and I recently came across Marc Grossman’s little book (in French) called “Bagels, comme à New York”. I blogged about it. Unfortunately he isn’t planning to make them in production quantities to sell here.

    And by the way, we recently went in search of your recommended Vietnamese bahn mi in Belleville. The tale is here.

  • Hi there!! I’m new to your blog and love it already. 1) your photos rock! 2) bagels + pnut butter are THE best thing!! [not sure about the tomato though, hehe] Off to sift through your blog =)

  • Laura

    Clotilde: Are you sure about the baking time? I tried your recipe yesterday and only noticed after removing them from the oven that my other (successfully executed) bagel recipes call for more like 20-25 minutes in an oven of similar temperature. These turned out rather under-done. :( Thanks for going to the work of altering a recipe to use sourdough starter, though!


  • Lauren – Thanks for the suggestion, I’m making a note of it. :)

    Laura – I’m sorry to hear that yours were underdone, but I am positive about the baking time, both from Reinhart’s book and from my own experience. Perhaps you could check that your oven is not running colder than it says?

  • Hannah Lee

    Thanks for this post and the video link to Peter Reinhart’s lecture!
    After our local kosher bagel shop gave up its rabbinic supervision, our Orthodox community was bereft. Finally, the Men’s Club of my synagogue decided to take action and they’re ordering frozen dough from H&H Bagels in New York City for final prepping and bakery on site each Sunday morning. I don’t know if their minimum order size would preclude home bakers. But your post just might embolden me to try making my own.

  • Thanks so much for the Bagel recipe. Having just come back from a visit to San Francisco with some friends that live in Louvier I appreciate the bagels we have in the US. Our friends will love the recipe I can’t wait to send it on to her. She wanted to eat bagels everyday as well! Now she can, even in France! JC

  • The dough looks so supple and comforting I’d almost want to eat it unbaked :)


  • Admirable! But see, I get my amazing bagels from a little shop just up the street, where they are served with a generous dollop of leftist ideology… making them at home would seem like betrayal. :-)

  • Ever try Montreal bagels? We have arguably the best bagels here, although they aren’t what you’d expect. Much thinner, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

  • Hannah Lee

    There are recipes for Montreal bagels as well as for the New York (Jewish) kind and for the no-hole bialys in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The Montreal recipe calls for malt powder.

  • Interesting video, thanks for the link.

  • I have noy had the courage to try baking bagels myself so I stroll down Rue des Rosiers and get them there. I haven’t been disappointed yet.

  • Mony – No, I’ve never had Montreal bagels, but I will at the first opportunity!

    Linda – Would you share the name of the shop from which you buy bagels on rue des Rosiers? The ones I’ve tried were too brioche-y to me.

  • Kate

    I don’t have any sourdough starter, can you suggest a substitute? I have found that Whole Foods generally carries malt syrup, in the honey section. My favorite (but old) bread cookbook: “Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads” has a recipe for bagels from a shop in Paris called the Jo Goldenberg restaurant-deli at 7 rue de Rosiers.

  • Kate – Peter Reinhart’s original recipe doesn’t use sourdough, just instant yeast. If that’s the route you chose, then you should make the sponge with 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast, 255 grams (9 ounces) high-gluten flour and 283 grams (10 ounces) water. The recipe flow is otherwise the same. Happy bagel-ing!

  • Great post! Some friends and I are working our way through Reinhart’s book and I just made bagels this week too!

    You can follow our progress here:


  • I am extremely picky with my bagels! I’ve never made bagels but the only bagels I’d eat are from Mount Royal (based in Montreal).
    I’ve never tried putting a slice of tomato with creamcheese nor with peanut better. Peanut better sounds different and I’m tempted to try. I’m out of bagels right now..must get some =)
    Yummy. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ashley Fahr

    I’m not sure if anyone else has recommended this place – but have you looked into Bagels and Brownies in the 6th arrondissement? They have pretty decent bagels if you’re looking for a quick fix!!


  • sheiler

    Love your post on making bagels. I believe I will be making my own shortly thanks to you.

    Since you’ve already crossed the line by putting peanut butter and tomato slices on your bagels, might I suggest another topping? Cream cheese with homemade salsa. It’s like tomato slice cubed. Just chop up tomato, fresh cilantro (coriandre), bit of garlic, slice of onion, splash of cider vinegar, squeeze of citrus (lemon and or lime), some sort of heat like pepper, red pepper powder or red hot or tobasco.

    Your bagel experience will never be the same!

  • I’ve been looking for a bagel recipe for ages. Hope it is as easy as it sounds! :)

  • meswartz

    I always put about 2T of the malt syrup in the poaching water too (or, failing the syrup, a bit of brown sugar). It seems to add to the crust – gives it a golden shine and subtle malty flavor.
    Oh – bagels with cream cheese and pickled jalapenos. YUM.

  • Tara Bethune-Leamen

    these look great.

  • Kate

    Stupid question, but I have been looking for vital wheat gluten forever. Is it the same name in French or different?

    Thank you,

  • Danielle

    I am so grateful to you! Your starter-based recipes are detailed and thorough yet easy to follow and have always yielded great results. The bagels were so fun to make! I also used asiago and they came out great. I’m off to make them again. Oh and I live in San Francisco – I was curious where the bagels were so good you had them every day on your visit. Thank you for your amazing recipes!

    • Thanks for your kind words, Danielle, I’m delighted these recipes are working well for you too! As for the bagels, they came for either of two places in the lower Haight: Katz bagels or Roland’s. Or, when we went for a run through the Golden Gate Park, from that oceanside coffee shop on the other end — nothing extraordinarily special, but heavenly as a post-run breakfast!

  • Tom H

    Thanks for the great post, am preparing to make these myself (had my girlfriend pick up some extra strong Canadian flour in the UK!) and wanted to note that the bio shop mentioned is now part of the Bio Monde group, I couldn’t find a Biocoop branch at the adress through Google so went all over Paris looking for the elusive malt d’orge, ironically finally finding it at the address you mention, albeit now a BioMonde – I also almost hugged the cashier! We’re looking forward to bagels tomorrow!

  • This recipe worked beautifully. I devoured my bagel with tomato, mustard greens, lettuce, cream cheese, balsamic, ev olive oil, and crushed red pepper & sea salt. Exceptional. Will make again and again.
    Thanks so much

    • That is so good to hear, thanks for reporting back!

  • Bruce Paul Ezzell

    Another option for those who are challenged with refrigerator space for retarding the shaped bagels, or the dough, is to make a sponge with half the flour and all the water, and let it rise for 12 hours or so. Mix the dough, shape, let rise and proceed with the boil and bake. I’ve made many thousands of bagels this way in my shop, and it works beautifully.

    • Thanks for the tip Bruce! Do I understand correctly that you let the sponge rise at room temp?

      • Bruce Paul Ezzell

        I do. Overnight, or all day, whatever my baker’s sleep schedule will allow. I use a very small amount of yeast in the sponge, with no additional yeast in the final dough. (5 grams for a total flour weight of 946 grams of flour). My base formula is on Michael Ruhlman’s site at http://ruhlman.com/2011/01/bagel-recipe/.

  • Joanna Barouch

    Now that you have mastered bagels, you need the truly proper toppings (from my New Yorker’s point of view): spread a relatively thick layer of good cream cheese if you have it on one half of the bagel, and then top that with several thinly cut slices of the best smoked salmon you can find. Not gravlax…smoked salmon. We call it lox or nova here. On top of that, a thin circle or two or three of red onion. On top of that, the other bagel half. Eat and enjoy!

    BTW the cream cheese’s real name is the Yiddish word “shmear”, which kind of means “to spread”. So you have your bagel with a shmear and lox!

    • Thanks Joanna! Sadly, good smoked salmon is hard to come by here — most of it comes from the dreadful salmon farms of Norway, or the somewhat better but still-unsatisfactory organic farms. The good, wild stuff from Scotland costs an arm and a leg and the stocks are very low, so it’s definitely not your everyday bagel topping.

  • I added cheese and needed about 6 or 7 oz. more flour.
    I didn’t wait the day; I haven’t tasted them yet (still cooling), but they look damn close to the photos here.

Get the newsletter

Receive FREE email updates with all the latest recipes, plus exclusive inspiration and Paris tips. You can also choose to be notified when a new post is published.

View the latest edition of the newsletter.